How Global Citizen Is Using Music and Fashion to Make the World a Better Place

Courtesy of TOMS
TOMS & Global Citizen

For so many, the Global Citizen Festival is simply a free music concert that never fails to deliver an incredibly impressive line-up. That is, of course, the festival defined at the most basic, shallowest level. Global Citizen is much, much more than that—a non-profit movement that’s armed itself with the very ambitious (though not impossible) goal to end poverty by 2030 by joining forces with world leaders, brands, and celebrities.

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Since its launch in 2012, Global Citizen has inspired 12+ million actions, reaped in $30 billion commitments, and as a result, will have affected 1 billion lives thus far. And for this year’s festival, which is scheduled to take place at the Great Lawn in Central Park on Sept. 23 with performances by Stevie Wonder, Green Day, The Killers, The Lumineers, The Chainsmokers, and more, its reach is going to be even greater—thanks to TOMS.

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“Achieving these global goals is something that can’t happen behind four walls, this is something that all people play a role in,” says Kate Faith, spokesperson for TOMS. “What makes me the most excited is that you have TOMS and Global Citizen, who are aligned in their shared values, coming together to rally communities and giving people a part in achieving these goals.”

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TOMS and Global Citizen have been partners for years, but it was only last year when the one-for-one retailer stepped up to play a more active role with a weeklong series of “community action houses” staged at its SoHo location, in which panels, discussions, and events were held to raise awareness.  

“TOMS was one of the first partners to join and support our efforts, and these series of conversations that focused on sustainable, development goals were incredible,” says Lizzie Edelman, vice president of business development and partnerships at Global Citizen. “These panels involved some of my colleagues, but they also had some wonderful leaders speaking on issues we’ve been campaigning on—we’re very grateful to the TOMS team and everything they’ve done since the beginning of our partnership.”

TOMS and Global Citizen will be bringing back the in-store series for Global Citizen Week (Sept. 17 to 23) in the days leading up the festival, complete with live events to raise awareness to three organizations in service of Global Citizen’s overall goal: The Bowery Mission, to help the homeless in New York; WaterAid, a charity dedicated to improving access to safe water; and Travel+SocialGood, a community passionate about transforming the travel industry into a force for good. And on top of that, TOMS is also launching a limited edition eyewear collection that follows its one-for-one model, where for every pair sold, an eye exam, glasses, or medical treatment is provided to a person in need—and in addition to that, “it supports the larger Global Citizen partnership and narrative,” Faith says.

“Eyewear is a rising business for TOMS right now and it’s something we don’t have on our site,” Edelman says. “We work very much in the global health space and I think what TOMS stands for, in terms of their product line of eyewear and bringing doctors and supporting those who don’t have access to health care and the ability to see, is inspiring, so we’re excited to work with them on this product.”

Of course TOMS isn’t Global Citizen’s only brand partnership (the organization counts Johnson & Johnson, Citi, Gucci, Lululemon, and countless others as sponsors), but what sets TOMS apart, Faith says, is that “it’s less about a monetary donation and more about creating new experiences together.”

“Global Citizen does such an incredible job at mobilizing their community and empowering people to take action, and it does it through musicians, artists, innovators, entrepreneurs, thinkers—those who have the power to transform the world through a creative lens that’s universal in bringing people together,” Faith continues. “They’re harnessing the power of music in an innovative way, and the world, more than ever, needs brands to step up and play a role. That’s the biggest thing we’re focusing on: This collaboration with new ways of thinking how to achieve a better tomorrow.”

Join the movement, register for an event during Global Citizen Week, and earn a ticket for the festival at globalcitizen.org.