Established in 1985, United Support of Artists for Africa is best known for its 1985 recording of “We Are The World” and the “Hands Across America” event in 1986. In these 35 years, USA for Africa has raised more than $100,000,000 to help ease the pain of poverty in Africa and the United States. While the challenges seemed insurmountable, our commitment stayed strong. We have accomplished our goal of creating opportunities and impacting real change.
We Are the World generated $75 million dollars for famine relief and recovery and development programs in Africa. More than 500 African organizations in 21 African countries have received funding from the We Are the World project.
Our vision today matches our vision in 1988. Hunger still exists, our climate is challenged, conflicts rage around the world. The need for people to care and act still exists, perhaps more urgently than ever before. While progress has been made, there is still abundant need. And we remain committed. We honor our past and those who led our early efforts, those who made our initial efforts so impactful, and salute those dedicated visionaries and volunteers who are spearheading our efforts today.
To take action that will help demonstrate the importance and power of individual participation and collective action in helping to solve the problems, address issues and challenges that presently confront our global society.
“We Are The World” is an anthem inspiring the world to focus on the needs of Africa and Africans.“Hands Across America” galvanized seven million people, both superstars and ordinary folks, to come together and highlight the problems of hunger and homelessness in America. These extraordinary events helped pave the way for pop culture to impact on issues of social significance; a trend that has helped millions of people and continues to prosper today.
United Support of Artists for Africa made a difference in many lives.
- Raised more than $75 million to fight poverty in Africa
- More than 6 million people joined hands to fight poverty in America
- More than $25 million was raised across the US to fight hunger and homelessness in America.
These efforts touched the lives of more than hundreds of millions of people globally.
A Note from Marcia Thomas, Executive Director
Thirty years ago, following the lead of Harry Belafonte, artists from the music industry came together and used their voices to try to make a difference. With the musical talents of Producer Quincy Jones taking the lead, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, along with more than 40 other artists, embarked on the challenge to inspire people worldwide to use their collective power to make the world a better place.
Their expectations were bold. Yet, exhilarated by the need for action, their combined vision and passion quickly overcame any hesitation. The vision and tenacity transformed into a call to action for millions. The energy quickly spread from Los Angeles to every part of the world. People speaking different languages and living in different cultures became energized and inspired, and a wave of action moved around the globe. They could not have known that, 35 years later, their actions would have helped inspire change in the world, one caring person at a time.
“We Are the World” motivated millions to become activists in their own way. Their bold, individual and collective power brought change to their communities and beyond. Lives were transformed. Access to food, education, health care and peace became a reality for many who had been left out. “We Are the World” became a movement…your movement. And, 35 years later, it still resonates.
On the 35rd anniversary, we invite you to join us as we reflect on an amazing three decades of action, promise and impact, made possible thanks to you. The world changed because of you. While there is still much to do, more people have better lives.