A new independent fund has been formed to support assistance for people from Ukraine in Poland. This is an opportunity for Polish organizations to fund aid programs

POP Fund dr Wojtek Wilk
POP Fund dr Wojtek Wilk

International organizations have cut support for Polish institutions helping Ukrainians by up to 80 percent. Assistance is still needed by several hundred thousand people residing in our country, including women, children, and the elderly. To respond to these needs, a special fund (POP Fund) is being set up on the joint initiative of Polish organizations, the administration, and the private sector, which will provide nearly 5 million PLN in aid at the start.

Polish Organizations Pooled Fund (POP Fund) is a mechanism through which Polish organizations will have a chance to finance projects to help refugees from Ukraine and their host communities. The fund’s operator is the Polish Center for International Aid, an organization with many years of experience.

Assistance to those most in need

The POP Fund is aimed primarily at small and medium-sized Polish NGOs operating outside of large metropolitan areas. Which have included assistance to refugees from Ukraine in their activities since last year. The goal of the fund is to improve the living conditions of refugees. Especially those living outside big cities, as well as to provide assistance to those most in need: mothers with small children, the elderly, children – explains Dr. Wojtek Wilk, the fund’s author.

The POP Fund’s main goal is to help refugees from Ukraine. However, as part of the projects financed by the fund, Polish communities hosting refugees may also receive assistance in the future.

– An example of such activities could be, the renovation of communal housing, which will benefit both refugees and local residents from Poland. Another direction of this is to work on the integration of Ukrainian and Polish children – Dr. Wilk mentioned.

“The POP Fund will donate close to 5 million PLN this year.”

The fund is a joint initiative of the third sector, which was established after consultations with UN agencies, and donors such as Google, Meta, banks, and other international companies operating in Poland. Funds for assistance will be awarded through open grant call for submission. Their allocation will be decided by the Fund’s Steering Committee. Which includes representatives of non-governmental organizations, state and local governments, and the private sector.

This year, the POP Fund (Polish Organizations Pooled Fund) wants to allocate nearly 5 million PLN to help refugees from Ukraine. Foundations, associations, parishes, rural housewives’ circles, and volunteer fire department units will be able to apply for these funds.

– Applications submitted to the POP Fund will be evaluated by independent experts. They will be categorized financially into three groups. Small, primarily aimed at rural areas up to PLN fifty thousand. They can be applied for by, for example, rural housewives’ associations, volunteer fire departments, parishes, etc. Medium ones up to 200 thousand PLN, which are already intended only for foundations, NGOs, and associations. Large projects are already worth more than 200 thousand PLN. The POP fund will announce open calls for project applications as early as November. Meanwhile, in December we will be accepting calls for all types of projects – explains Wojtek Wilk president of the PCPM foundation.

– Polish NGOs face many problems. The main one is the lack of funding – including for refugee assistance programs (not only from Ukraine). Compared to 2022, the budgets of most NGOs helping refugees from Ukraine have fallen by 80%, even by 90% – emphasizes Wojtek Wilk.

In November and December, the POP Fund will launch a call for submission to fund projects targeting refugees and host communities in six thematic areas, including improving living conditions, education, assistance for the elderly, or moving out of collective housing centers. Funding will be provided for small (grants of up to PLN 50,000), medium (grants of PLN 50-200,000), and large (more than PLN 200,000) projects, implemented by Polish foundations, associations, and, in the case of small projects, volunteer fire departments, rural housewives’ circles or parishes. The length of the project can be more than 1 year. All details will be made available soon at www.popfund.pl.

The POP Fund was created by the PCPM based on the UN Country-Based Pooled Funds, with which the organization has been working since 2013. The POP Fund will be managed by a steering committee consisting of the 5 largest POP Fund donors (including Google and Meta), representatives of 3 NGOs, a representative of local governments, and the Ministry of Interior (coordination with governors).

I encourage the cooperation of both Donors, wishing to support the POP Fund with larger or smaller donations, and NGOs – recipients of POP Fund.