[UPDATE]: Climate Program & Shell: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

Hi, all! :wave:

First and foremost, we’re grateful for the impassioned debate and scrutiny prompted by our partnership with Shell. It’s a testament to your investment in our collective future. To get an idea of the sentiments expressed, check out some of the discourse here, here, and here.

I’m sharing this update as a ‘credibly neutral party’ on where things stand. I say this as a member of the Foundation that was not involved in the signing of the deal, but have deep care for how the DAO functions as a whole and don’t have emotional investment in how things were rolled by the internal team. I trust the people I work with implicitly, and the only way to fix mistakes is to learn from them.


Acknowledging the concerns around the recent Shell engagement and outlining steps for greater transparency, ethical alignment, and community-centric communication. We’ve listened to your concerns and are working on improvements that align with community values without penalizing those who would receive these funds through the Climate Program to do good in the world.

What we heard

  • There is a need for a better integrated ethical framework within our decision-making process, something we are currently developing. Check out Ben’s post on Guardrails here.
  • There needs to be a more transparent decision-making process that will include keeping the community better informed on significant partnership decisions. Mathilda has outlined that here.
  • Partnership Benefits: Several community members have pointed out the advantages of corporate partnerships. Shell’s funds are instrumental for the Climate Program’s upcoming rounds. These funds will not only be optional for grantees but will also be explicitly disclosed, allowing community members to engage on their own terms.

The team’s internal learnings highlighted that we fucked this up by not communicating with you earlier, and are genuinely sorry for any distress or disconnect following our original partnership decision + announcement. There was an internal debate as to whether we accept these funds but came to a collective consensus for the need to secure vital financial support for climate innovation.

Although we we saw a way that these funds from Shell could be used without compromising our core values, we failed to communicate the nuances of this agreement and our plans with our community. Our oversight was in assuming that the intentions behind the partnership would be self-evident, when in fact, such a significant announcement warranted open dialogue and community engagement

Towards Modularization and Improved Governance

As we move forward, it’s clear that we need to evolve not just in our actions but also in our structure. To this end, there’s a proposal to further modularize our programs, including the Climate Program.

This isn’t a reactive measure but a proactive one to ensure that each program can operate with increased autonomy and responsibility. As we continue our evolution from impact DAO to protocol DAO, our Grants program has matured such that these more modular funding initiatives/programs can now stand on their own, using the credibly neutral technology we have developed.

The idea is to create sub-brands for each program and establish always-on matching pools specific to each. This allows for more targeted campaigns, clear lines of responsibility, and the ability to align closely with community values without one program’s decisions affecting the reputation of another.

This modular approach aims to build long-term, sustainable funding avenues and allows for more nuanced governance. It’s about creating a more resilient ecosystem, one where a misstep in one area doesn’t have to undermine the good work being done elsewhere.

What you can expect

In Gitcoin Grants 19 (GG19) we will be moving the Climate round to a modular program design (out of the “core rounds”) to run and operate the round, you can read more about the work and all the other goodies coming up here. We will support growing the marketing and voice of this round with people who are most familiar with the project but this means you won’t see the main @Gitcoin handle talking about the partnership - which is standard practice for this and our other rounds.

We will continue to be a protocol and app that supports a plurality of rounds during GG19 and beyond, some hosted, run and marketed by Gitcoin. Many are hosted by a diverse community interested in funding what matters to them.

We are committed to the success of each modular program, but ask for patience as we work through this next step in our evolution as a self-sustaining ecosystem and find the appropriate balance together.

Our hope is that each program gains the freedom to make its own decisions, like forming partnerships aligned with its values. This modularity allows for more precise community engagement, so your voice directly impacts programs you care about most and we can limit the spread of controversy from one program to the broader Gitcoin brand.

Other opportunities for the community:

  • Credible Neutrality: Each program can make unbiased decisions.
  • Bespoke Messaging: Programs will communicate in ways that resonate with their specific communities.

In sum…

Challenges often provide growth opportunities. The discourse has led to better operational standards and elicited varied opinions from our community. The funds offer a chance to finance public goods and build something meaningful. It also showcased we are ready to advance our modular approach and double down on the importance of credible neutrality through our protocol development and deployment.

We’re committed to learning, realigning with core values, and exceeding community expectations. Your engagement is essential for turning challenges into opportunities for collective success.

I’d like to thank all the contributors who weighed in on and drove this conversation - allowing me further insights into the passion and commitment that goes into Gitcoin everyday. Thank you @jon-spark-eco
@M0nkeyFl0wer @MathildaDV @Sov @azeem @Viriya @quaylawn @kyle @owocki for your input. :pray:


Thanks for this thoughtful and well articulated summary @deltajuliet. Feels like we are taking some big steps in the right direction. Stay tuned for more from the Climate Solutions Program team shortly from @jon-spark-eco on behalf of others on the team.



Excited for the next chapter of the Climate round and all the incoming changes, especially the upcoming steps towards transparency, community participation, and modularity as these will avoid future coordination failures.

Grateful for all the contributors who have working on this changes, turning challenges into opportunities.

Thank you.


Thank you @deltajuliet and everyone else that have taken such big steps to move this conversation and process forward. I’m personally happy to see how we have “turned challenges into opportunities.” Because yes, this has been a very challenging situation for all involved.

One thing that I’ve learned at my time in Gitcoin is that with missteps, we do step up and learn from them and move forward collectively. I’m happy to see a better community engagement strategy surface, as well as deeper conversations around partnerships as a whole.

I’m on board with the emerging structure changes and I’m happy to help however I can to roll these out in a seamless and meaningful way.


Grateful to have the support of the community and for all the good work happening!

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@deltajuliet how do we get the results for Gitgrant 19 under Climate Solutions?

I checked the result posted in the current Gitgrant 19 but the climate solution tab was not included.

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