Cardano Foundation and Switzerland for UNHCR Recognized for Philanthropy Innovation

06 February 2024 • Activities & Updates
Alex Maaza
Outreach Development Officer

Pioneering sustainable innovation in philanthropy with impact staking on blockchain

INATBA, the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications, has presented the Cardano Foundation, in partnership with Switzerland for UNHCR, with the award for Most Exciting Project in Sustainable Innovation. The award, granted on 30 January 2024 in Brussels, recognizes the impact of this novel, community-supported approach to advancing humanitarian aid through a charity stake pool known as “With Refugees” (WRFGS). This approach stands as a prime example of how new solutions can bridge the gap between traditional funding models and blockchain solutions.

The forcible displacement of people is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. Using emerging technologies to apply innovative approaches to situations like this can help to ensure those affected by war, famine, extreme weather events, or other tragedies receive prompt and appropriate assistance. Models like the one created by the Cardano Foundation and Switzerland for UNHCR not only generate the usual philanthropic support but actually allow donors a more efficient way of guaranteeing their efforts have meaningful and longstanding effects.

Impact staking changes lives

Crisis intervention through humanitarian aid has an essential role in minimizing the costs to human lives and preserving dignity when a large-scale tragedy occurs. Humanitarian organizations, such as UNHCR, do incredible work to support forcibly displaced people. However, classic donation models present a challenge.

To provide consistent support, an organization needs to have a dependable pool of funding. Traditionally, donor funding comes in higher volumes during humanitarian emergencies with high media coverage. However, donors often earmark their donations to a specific crisis, leading to an unbalanced distribution of resources that makes continuing support challenging. When attention to those crises diminishes, so does donor engagement, resulting in donor retention that is cyclical and inconsistent. UNHCR currently identifies 14 protracted, less mediatised crises with chronic underfunding.

Impact staking provides a direct response to that challenge. Rather than the typical approach of donating directly to a charity, it establishes a mechanism for providing ongoing support, offering reliable and consistent support to philanthropic organizations like Switzerland for UNHCR, even when media coverage or public attention dims. 

Optimizing donation models

The Switzerland for UNHCR and Cardano Foundation project both maximizes the potential of donations and creates the conditions to address chronically underfunded crises. By relying on non-earmarked donations, it allows UNHCR to exercise its expertise in deciding where best to allocate funds. 

Ada holders can delegate their stake to the WRFGS pool, with the pool directing any generated rewards towards Switzerland for UNHCR. Of these, 80% go to address the most pressing needs of refugees from the underfunded crises, with several UNHCR Innovation Funds then receiving the remaining 20%.

Other models of donation could further enhance the current one. A corporate pledge program, for instance, might see donations in both the company’s and the employees’ names, not only amplifying the impact of a company’s social efforts but also increasing employee engagement. A parallel program could also establish a system for employees to make direct contributions via their payrolls, whereas a more long-term option might allocate a predetermined amount of funds to a stake pool, with the added flexibility to withdraw at specific stages and consider prudent reinvestment strategies.

These tailored approaches exemplify but a few of many possible models of impact staking. In fact, the Foundation and Switzerland for UNHCR currently study several new options. Organizations interested in custom mechanisms can also reach out requesting an appointment to further discuss their specific case.

A year of impact staking

This recent recognition by INATBA becomes ever more meaningful as it helps to showcase how blockchain technology can be utilized to solve world problems. It can even help to reach new audiences and mobilize worldwide communities. Indeed, none of this recognition or achievement would be possible without the generous support of the Cardano community. In addition to the Foundation’s initial delegation of 3.5 million ada, the community has since inception delegated over 1.7million ada.

The Cardano Foundation wishes to thank everyone who made a contribution, created charity NFT collections and developed other awareness initiatives around the WRFGS stake pool, or otherwise aided in bringing it to a wider audience’s attention. One year later, this collaboration keeps growing stronger and helping lives around the world. Anyone interested can easily delegate in four straightforward steps.

Four steps to stake ada

To keep up on the latest updates of the first-ever UN blockchain validator, follow Switzerland for UNHCR and WRFGS on X (formerly known as Twitter). The Foundation also encourages all projects and individuals in the Cardano ecosystem, as well as any enterprise or entity interested in the possibilities of this philanthropy innovation project to enquire about collaboration avenues or submit their ideas on additional ways of support.

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