The VELA DAO, a Web3 Grantmaking Experiment, Announces Its First Round of Funded Projects

 Community-Led Philanthropic Model Will Utilize Web3 Technology and USD Coin to Distribute a Total of $111,000 to 12 Unconventional Education Entrepreneurs 

Media Contact:
Lindsay Kelly

December 14, 2023 – VELA today announced the first 12 projects that will be funded by the VELA DAO, a Web3 grantmaking experiment designed by and for unconventional education entrepreneurs with the support of Civics Unplugged and DreamDAO. The 12 founders, whose projects were selected from a pool of 55 applicants, will become members of the VELA DAO and help to select the next round of funded projects, as the DAO continues to expand in service of the VELA Founder Network. These founders are also charged with sharing the learnings from their projects with the VELA community. 

“We are so inspired by what the founding members of the VELA DAO have accomplished as they announce this first round of funding,” shared Serena Deutch, Associate of External Affairs for VELA. “This pilot has shown how the VELA DAO can distribute ownership of VELA’s resources, give our founders decision-making and operational power, and incentivize grant recipients to support each other – ultimately, better serving the alternative education ecosystem.”

As Karema Akila founder of The Genius School and The Genii DAO and a founding member of the VELA DAO shared, “As a founder and entrepreneur, I’m usually sitting on the receiving side of grant funding. It was such an incredible honor and a lot of fun to be a VELA DAO founding member responsible for collectively choosing projects to support.”

The VELA DAO is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that is leveraging Web3 technology to disrupt traditional philanthropy, giving VELA grant recipients the power to fund and support the projects that they believe will add the most value to the VELA Founder Network. All funded projects fall into one of four categories: curricular support, marketing/PR, legal support, or Web3 projects and all funding must be used exclusively for a charitable purpose. The first 12 projects selected for funding by the VELA DAO are:

The 12 selected projects all have a focus on learning about Web3 and a commitment to sharing and collaboration. They were selected by the 6 founding members of the VELA DAO, all VELA founders and past grant recipients. As Kyle Gamba, the founder of La Luz microschool and a founding DAO Member shared, “I consider myself incredibly lucky to not only explore the intricacies of Web3 and DAOs, but also to actively contribute to the inaugural round of authentic participatory grantmaking. Passing on the power of allocating funds to those we selected feels like experiencing democracy at its finest—a transformative and genuinely unique journey.”

The VELA DAO will continue to engage in grantmaking and hopes to create new opportunities to further incentivize the VELA community to share resources and collaborate. The DAO plans to release a token, available only to VELA DAO members, that can be redeemed for grant capital or other rewards. The VELA DAO will also teach members how to leverage emerging technologies in innovative ways to improve their work and their communities. 


About VELA

VELA is a national nonprofit fund that was established in 2019 to catalyze the community-driven innovation happening outside of the traditional K-12 education system. Today, the VELA Founder Network is the nation’s largest community of entrepreneurs providing alternatives to conventional schooling. By providing early capital, access to a thriving community of entrepreneurs, and connections to resources and support, VELA is accelerating the exploration of new frontiers in education. To learn more, visit