Why Global Citizens Should Care
To achieve the Global Goals and end extreme poverty, we need everybody to play their part, from everyday citizens to world leaders to philanthropists. You can join the movement by taking action here to call on the world’s billionaires to help create a world that’s free from extreme poverty. 

Actor, producer, and activist Priyanka Chopra Jonas joined Global Citizen and CEO advisory firm Teneo at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday to launch a campaign urging the world’s billionaires to support the fight to end extreme poverty. 

The Give While You Live campaign, part of our 2020 campaign Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream, aims to mobilize the massive new commitments needed from billionaires to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the Global Goals) by 2030. 

The campaign calls on the world’s 2,150 billionaires — who are collectively worth $10 trillion, 30 times the funding needed annually to end extreme poverty — to give at least 5% of their wealth away every year. 

Global Citizen Ambassador Chopra Jonas highlighted ahead of the launch event in Davos on Tuesday that $350 billion is needed annually in order to achieve the Global Goals and end extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries by 2030.

“We are in such a unique position as human beings,” Chopra Jonas said. “We alone have the power to change the world we live in.” 

She told the audience in Davos: "Let’s work towards achieving a world where, when I speak to a refugee child and I ask their dreams and that child says 'I want to be a doctor, an engineer, an astronaut' — let’s bring the world to a place where that child’s dream is achievable, where that child can get an education... and where that child can actually have a future."

The $350 billion number annually breaks down to just an additional $230 per person — money that will give the 1.5 billion people living in the 59 poorest nations access to basic health care, quality education, competent infrastructure, and sanitation, social protection, and adaptation to climate change.

As part of the launch of the Give While You Live campaign on Tuesday, Forbes, in partnership with Global Citizen, also unveiled a list of the Top 25 Givers — the United States' most effective and generous givers in the effort to achieve the Global Goals. 

The list includes people like Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Chuck Feeney. Feeney, for example, has given away all of his billions. Warren Buffet, meanwhile, gave tens of billions to the Gates Foundation — with the stipulation that all of the gift be spent within 10 years of his death. 

As Chopra Jonas said on Tuesday: "People like Bill Gates, people like Warren Buffett, have shown us with philanthropy, people can make phenomenal impact. People like that can make phenomenal impact when they just take a little bit out of their immense wealth and help us make that difference."

But she highlighted that targeting billionaire philanthropists doesn't mean governments that promised in 2015 to have achieved the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 are "off the hook." 

"They absolutely are not," she said. "They’re just too slow." 

If all 2,150 billionaires in the world gave a proportion of their wealth at the same rate as Bill Gates, that alone would come to $575 billion — more than enough to meet the entire annual budgetary needs of the 59 poorest countries. 

Unlike the many billionaire philanthropists who make large donations to their own foundations, this new list highlights those who have put the most money back to work as measured by charitable grants to beneficiaires — not to donor-advised funds or private charitable foundations. 

Giving to these private charitable foundations, for example, can be a problem because it means the money often doesn’t get spent for years.

Actor, producer, and activist Priyanka Chopra-Jonas joined Global Citizen and CEO advisory firm Teneo at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
Actor, producer, and activist Priyanka Chopra-Jonas joined Global Citizen and CEO advisory firm Teneo at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
Image: John Werner Photography

But it’s not just about securing more funds — the funding also needs to be spent in the most impactful places, which is why Global Citizen has committed to identifying those most impactful places for the world’s billionaires.

There’s no shortage of funds and organizations working in the most hard-to-reach places that this money could be going to now. Groups like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC); the World Health Organization; Education Cannot Wait (ECW); the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI); and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Supplies, to name a few. 

The last Forbes Philanthropy Score found that only 29 of America’s 400 richest had given away at least $1 billion and/or 20% of their net worth in their lifetimes. 

Chopra Jonas added at the event on Tuesday that she is “humbled” to be an ambassador for Global Citizen and our recently launched campaign in partnership with Teneo, Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream — in which the Give While You Live campaign will play a significant part.

"At the dawn of this new decade, we must work together to urge the world’s most fortunate to give while they live in order to see an end to extreme poverty by 2030,” Chopra Jonas said. 

In 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to do the remarkable — unite the world on a mission to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change, and reduce inequality by 2030 by working to achieve the 17 Global Goals. 

The Global Goal Live campaign works to unite everyday citizens, corporations, governments, and billionaire philanthropists to reprioritize efforts to end extreme poverty — and make sure that we really can deliver the Global Goals by 2030. 

Global Citizen CEO and co-founder Hugh Evans joined Chopra Jonas at the event in Davos, along with Declan Kelly, chairman and CEO of Teneo.

“We’re here to remind leaders that they all signed up to deliver on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to end extreme poverty,” Evans said. “The next 12 months are critical to successfully achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals by 2030, and our collective action will determine the fate of the world for the next generation.” 

He added: “We urge all leaders in the public and private sector, along with the world’s wealthiest individuals, to join us in the final 10-year push to end extreme poverty.” 

Kelly joined the call, adding that: “Corporations, governments, artists, philanthropists, and Global Citizens all play a critical role in helping secure the $350 billion needed annually.” 

“As global leaders gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum, we ask all of them to become involved in the campaign as so many others have done already,” Kelly continued. “Together with Global Citizen we are building a coalition — the likes of which the world has never seen — for this effort, which will culminate in the largest live broadcast cause event in human history on Sept. 26, 2020.”

Disclosure: Bill Gates is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a funding partner of Global Citizen.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story indicated that the Forbes list included the world's top 25 givers, as opposed to the top givers in the United States. This piece has also been updated to include a disclosure that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen. We regret the oversight.


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