XPATRIA is a Swiss non-profit association focused on efficiently channeling diaspora funding to home-based social initiatives, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This is done through a crowdfunding platform that connects donors and verified receivers easily, transparently and securely.
- Strengthen diaspora philanthropy by improving donor trust through transparency and technology.
- Support projects that generate social impact in accordance with the UN sustainable development goals.
The idea was born in October of 2019, when nationwide protests broke out in Lebanon in the context of a crippling economic crisis, resulting in soaring unemployment and dramatic increases in poverty rates.
Lebanese across the world rallied to help their fellow countrymen, directing money towards local NGO’s and private initiatives mostly through word of mouth or social media. However, we saw that donors, ourselves included, quickly faced issues, namely: fragmented access to information, difficulty of choice, and lack of trust in either the method of payment or the recipients. On the other end of the spectrum, local NGO’s also face issues, namely lack of access to a fragmented donor masse, despite social media presence. We quickly concluded that Diaspora funding, despite being needed, is inherently inefficient.
This is where the idea of Xpatria was born, out of a group of concerned Lebanese in Geneva, who decided to incorporate an association whose aim is to provide a secure, trusted medium for Diaspora groups to create a positive impact in Lebanon and, with time, in other countries. The basic idea is to provide security, transparency and reliability to donors, and provide donor access and visibility to receivers.
Xpatria aims at stimulating and supporting the Diaspora populations’ willingness and ability to contribute to the social and economic well-being of their home countries. It is committed to advancing a culture of diaspora philanthropy by scaling up the impact of diaspora giving from the household to the country level and enabling the diaspora communities to have a broader and more sustainable Social impact.
The donor community: Diasporas. We define Diaspora as individuals residing outside their countries of origin who maintain strong ties to their home countries. IOM defines diasporas as “migrants or descendants of migrants, whose identity and sense of belonging have been shaped by their migration experience and background.” Being members of a diaspora ourselves, we can totally relate to those definitions.
Specifically, we aim at Millennials and generation Y individuals who are digitally connected and cause-oriented, as opposed to charity-oriented. They demand transparency and traceability and impact in their quest for positive change.
The receiving community: well established, permanently active NGO’s and charitable organizations with positive track record and traceable work, and who abide by the SDG’s.
Beyond pure charities, we aim for projects that provide sustainable and measurable impact in the fields of education, health, environment, life improvement and social insertion. Those may be private or public-private partnerships that fit the same criteria.
Participating in, and spreading the word about charitable projects and NGO’s efforts, is a significant way in which diaspora members can help those back home.
It is common for immigrants and their descendants to maintain close ties to their native countries by sending money to family members, but also to local NGO’s and social or developmental initiatives. While personal payments (transfers to families) are driven by the need to support relatives, we believe immigrants are also driven by an innate philanthropical need, to contribute to their homelands’ welfare.
Such transfers are either executed in cash, bank transfers, or through online payment platforms. The new brand of diaspora philanthropy is currently evolving to broaden both the scope and volume of cross-border support, to include and make available more information on local social-impact initiatives in the home countries.
With recent technological advancements, it has become easier for the diaspora population to support such causes and initiatives in their home countries, but they still face the following common issues:
The Problems we aim to solve
For the diaspora:
- Lack of a user-friendly and centralized database of projects meeting immediate charitable needs.
- fragmented and not user-friendly methods of payment, leading to a decrease in willingness to donate.
- Many established NGO’s can only receive via bank transfers, they lack online or alternative payment possibilities for credit cards or PayPal.
- Little knowledge of the NGO space, uncertainty of choice.
- Tax treatment, lack of visibility on tax benefits or provision of valid tax receipts.
For the receivers:
- Lack of or limited visibility of the donor community outside immediate personal or social media circles.
- Inefficient online visibility (low budgets for online marketing).
- No knowledge of foreign tax treatment of donations.
- In many cases, lack of access to international means of payment (PayPal, etc) due to country restrictions.
- Limited access to facilitated banking.
- Governance deficiencies, preventing access to institutional donors.
What we Offer
- A Crowdfunding Platform connecting the Diaspora of respective countries to initiatives in home countries using a simple, user-friendly interface.
- Independent vetting and sourcing of projects and initiatives on the ground in home countries.
- An enhanced decision-making process for the donors: we will enable the “undecided” to get more information leading to an increased likelihood of donating, and we offer the “willing” a better choice.
- Providing donors transparency and information on the selected projects or NGOs and offering projects or NGOs enhanced online visibility.
- Information source for Diaspora Philanthropy to allow for more informed decision making not only about the target project or NGO, but also ultimately about the general NGO landscape of the target country.
- Ensure neutrality in project and partner selection.
- Tax-receipts (first in Switzerland and EU, will be expanded to UK and US).
- Tracking and Reporting on Project team’s use of Donor funds and operational progress.
- TRANSPARENCY: We choose to be open in all our dealings from project vetting to fundraising.
- TRUST: We believe in trust building. We perform Due Diligence for every project before making it visible online.
- FAIRNESS: We ensure a fair due diligence process and accept applications with no discrimination.
Nathalie is an engineer and entrepreneur, she has an international career spanning various industries from corporate Energy to Deep Tech. She holds an MBA from Chicago Booth. She’s Lebanese born, Australian raised and now living in Switzerland. She brings drive and vision to the team as well as the insight into the Australian diaspora.
Nadine has over 15 years of banking operational experience and holds an MBA from Boston University. She is an advocate for humanitarian causes, and is active in the Geneva fundraising scene for various NGO’s. She was born in Lebanon and grew up in the US and Middle East, and now lives in Geneva. She brings her fundraising know-how and humanitarian network to the team.
Besma is an IT engineer and data scientist, graduated from EPFL Switzerland. She has experience designing AI algorithms. She was born in Algeria and now living in Geneva. She brings the youth element to our team and keeps us in line with all things tech.
Sara is an experienced Project Manager with business analytical expertise gained through extensive exposure in finance, trading and united nation organisations. She led various projects in digital marketing, IT solution integration and web development. She holds an MBA from the University of Geneva, a Digital marketing diploma and a Master in Computer Science. She brings digital transformation know-how and Swiss order to the team.
Rabih is a seasoned finance executive with extensive international corporate banking experience. He brings his knowledge of financial advisory and networking skills to the team. He grew up in Lebanon and lived in several countries before settling in Geneva where he now works and lives with his family. Rabih holds a Masters Degree in Business from HEC School of Management in Paris.