An image from the Supermegastudios Facebook page shows the NFT used to fund a $15,000 donation to Kids Unlimited. [Courtesy image]
An image from the Super Mega Studios Facebook page shows the NFT used to fund a $15,000 donation to Kids Unlimited. [Courtesy image]
Kids Unlimited in Medford received an unexpected $15,000 boost Thursday to help with the more than 2,000 meals it provides to local youth on a daily basis.
The donation was unexpected in a handful of ways. A funding infusion for the meal program wasn’t on Executive Director Tom Cole’s radar, to say the least.
Even more surprising, however, is that the donation came via the sale of a form of cryptocurrency known as NFTs — the first donation of its kind for the local nonprofit.
Nonfungible tokens — aka NFTs — are artificially scarce digital objects created by using blockchain technology to mint “unique” versions of digital artwork, sports memorabilia, famous photographs and anything else that can be digitized, according to the Associated Press.
Turning them into NFTs involves placing a declaration of ownership on a blockchain, typically the ethereum blockchain, which creates a permanent record of “ownership.”
The $15,000 delivered via check to Kids Unlimited Thursday came from the sale of a NFT by Super Mega Studios, which recently auctioned off a collectible GalaKnights as part of an exclusive launch.
“Kids Unlimited is the first beneficiary of our NFT launch, and we believe it represents the future of social philanthropy,” said Josh Pierce, founder of Super Mega Studios, who helped deliver the check to Kids Unlimited Thursday. “It’s the perfect match of progressive programming and progressive purpose.”
Cole said the origin of the donation, coming from an NFT designed to support charitable endeavors, was a great fit for the organization, which is committed to educating and enriching the lives of local youth.
“We’ve never received a gift from the cryptocurrency world before, and it’s inspiring to imagine the future of funding in this realm,” he added.
“We are constantly trying to evolve to program for the current and the future, and this gift certainly welcomes opportunity for both.”
Cole said the gift would help cover costs of meals provided to local students at Kids Unlimited sites and after-school programs.
“Having looked at what we offer here, they were really impressed, and they especially liked the level at which our food program serves the kids. We serve 2,000 meals a day that are fresh-cooked meals. We have 600 students we serve in our charter schools now. We do breakfast, lunch and dinner for all those kids, and we serve our after-school sites — well over 200 kids there,” Cole said.
“The actual number is larger than 2,000, but 2,000 is a good low estimate.”
Cole said poverty levels at the Kids Unlimited campuses were significant, and a quality meals program has far-reaching benefits for youth and their families.
“Both Kids Unlimited schools are high poverty. Our Medford campus is 100% poverty. There is some affluence in this valley, but we see some very significant disparities in economics and a lot of challenges faced by our kids,” he noted.
“We’re appreciative to be part of what we sought to do so many years ago. As we transition into the summer, one of the things we’ve had as an unfunded piece of the food program was supplemental food on the weekends for families who may not have access to the same kind of healthy meals during the week.”
Cole marveled at receiving crypto funds for an organization that began when “dial-up” internet was “still a thing.”
“We’ve been around 25 years, and we’ve seen a lot of different trends around funding and whatnot, including the sort of evolution of the internet,” he said.
“This gift represents a whole different reality — or virtual reality, if you will — of what’s to come. A different reality for commerce and certainly philanthropy.”
To donate to Kids Unlimited programs or the meal program, email Cole at email@example.com or call 541-774-3900. For more info, see kuaoregon.org
Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.