Will Smith, Global Citizen and Education Cannot Wait Celebrate One-year Anniversary of ‘the Jump’

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Global advocacy, partnerships and donor engagement have mobilized US$560 million to date for the global fund for education in emergencies


Will and Jada Smith’s Family Foundation (WJSFF), Global Citizen (GC) and Education Cannot Wait (ECW) are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Will Smith’s historic bungee jump over the Grand Canyon. ‘The Jump’ backed a worldwide movement to mobilize resources for Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies.

With the support of high-profile advocates like Will Smith and partnerships with leading advocacy organizations such as Global Citizen, Education Cannot Wait has surpassed over half-a-billion US dollars in resources mobilized (US$560 million) from donors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations since its inception.

Will Smith is an outspoken advocate for youth and lifelong education. His continued efforts to amplify Education Cannot Wait through the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation in collaboration with Global Citizen encouraged governments and other funders to pledge an additional US$216 Million to ECW during this year’s United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.

“We were overjoyed by the outpouring of support we received from global leaders and organizations, following Will’s initial call to action with The Jump,” says Jana Babatunde-Bey, President of the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation. “Through Will’s commitment to use his artistic platform to transform and improve lives around the globe, WJSFF’s partnerships will continue to focus on providing access and opportunity to quality education for communities and children around the world.  Educating the next generation is essential to our future, and we are proud to be at the forefront of mobilizing the resources and providing the global visibility necessary to empower our youth, and to bring hope and safety to every child.”



On September 25, ECW hosted an event that brought together global leaders who recognize the urgent need to address the education crisis faced by millions of children and youth left furthest behind. Smith (vía video) issued a call to action to world leaders to continue to act to support ECW’s mission of serving every child. Leaders from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the private sector – The LEGO Foundation and ProFuturo – announced significant contributions to Education Cannot Wait at the event, which was produced in partnership with Global Citizen.

Smith’s call to action also aired at the annual Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park on September 28. The live airing of the festival, simulcast on MSNBC, MSNBC.com and NBC News NOW, was the highest rated Global Citizen Festival broadcast ever on MSNBC among total viewers. Total viewers in 2019 increased by +29% compared to 2018 and it was the third straight year in which the festival increased ratings on MSNBC. Viewing hit a record in the prime time portion (7p-1010p), +22% over the prior year. More than 6 million viewed a portion of the Festival on MSNBC, and those who did watched for an average of 42 minutes, also a record.

Speaking on stage at the Global Citizen Festival, Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif thanked Smith and Global Citizen for calling on world leaders to fund education in emergencies. “I’m so inspired and proud of all the Global Citizens who joined the fight for increased funding towards quality education for every child, everywhere. Your actions have helped raise US$216 million in the last month alone… keep the vision!” Sherif said.

The additional funding will help support ECW and its partners in reaching millions of children and youth worldwide caught in armed conflicts, forced displacements, natural disasters and protracted crises who have been deprived of the safety, hope and opportunity that a quality education can provide. Through its global advocacy and partnerships with world-renowned actors and activists like Will Smith, ECW seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach 9 million children and youth.

Remembering ‘The Jump’

Last year, Smith chose to celebrate his 50th birthday by bungee jumping over the Grand Canyon to raise funds for education. Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation partnered with Omaze, a platform that democratizes traditional auction-giving by offering people the chance to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience for as little as $10. The proceeds benefited ECW’s critical work. The event was captured for Will Smith: The Jumpa YouTube Original special, produced by Smith’s Westbrook Studios. The video has attracted over 19 million views to date.

Initial funds raised under Smith’s campaign came in from individuals in 166 countries. The unique partnership brought together Global Citizen, Omaze and WJSFF to help empower vulnerable children across the globe through Education Cannot Wait’s collaborative partnerships and multi-year programs.

ECW was launched in 2016. Now just entering its third year of operation, the fund has already reached 1.5 million children and youth, 50 percent of whom are girls. By 2021, Education Cannot Wait will launch multi-year resilience education programs in 25 crisis-affected countries in collaborative partnerships with donors, national governments, NGOs, civil society and other key stakeholders.

The campaign amplified Global Citizen’s existing advocacy efforts and provided global visibility to a crisis that affects millions of children and youth worldwide. Global Citizen and its celebrity ambassadors, partners and frontlines activists will continue to campaign for Education Cannot Wait over the coming year through the Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream campaign and other unique initiatives. The 2020 ‘Global Goal Live’ campaign seeks to secure an additional US$350 billion in global commitments annually to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Will Smith ‘The Jump’ Playlist


Notes to Editors

You can learn more about Smith and the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation online at wjsff.org or by following us on Instagram @officialwjsff, using our hashtag #WJSFF and on Facebook at @theofficialwjsff.

About Global Citizen

Since the first Global Citizen Festival in New York in 2012, Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest, most visible platforms for people around the world calling on world leaders to honor their responsibilities in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ending extreme poverty by 2030. Global Citizens have mobilized $48.5 billion in commitments and policy announcements from leaders that have impacted the lives of 880 million people living in extreme poverty.

For more information about how to join the movement, please visit www.globalcitizen.org and follow @GlblCtzn TwitterFacebook and Instagram using #GlobalCitizen.

For press enquiries and to schedule an interview, contact: Sunshine Sachs – gc@sunshinesachs.com, +1 212 691 2800

About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):

ECW is the first global, multi-lateral fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure. 

Additional information is available at www.educationcannotwait.org and www.act4educationincrisis.org

Please follow us on Twitter: @EduCannotWait and #Act4Ed

For press enquiries, contact:

Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org , +1-917-640-6820

Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org, +1-917-302-1735

For any other enquiries, contact:

About the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation:

The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation (WJSFF) is a non-profit organization that sits at the convergence of philanthropy, media and social impact. WJSFF is an incubator and accelerator that ignites the next generation of big ideas, cutting-edge artists, thought leaders, change-makers and social innovators. Together with grantees and partners, WJSFF invests in organizations and initiatives that empower traditionally overlooked communities and affect real change. For more information, please visit www.wjsff.org

For press enquiries, contact:

Renee Felton, felton@sunshinesachs.com, 323-822-9300

For Press Inquiries:

Anouk Desgroseilliers:

Kent Page: