When the war in Ukraine began in 2022, thousands of refugees fled to the safety of Poland and needed housing. We partnered with the Lena Gorchowska Foundation and funded $700,000 to renovate 6 buildings as housing, and provided 580,000 free nights of accommodation.

At the end of 2023,  Lena Grochowska Foundation’s efforts to aid refugees from Ukraine were recognized by the international community and received the highly prestigious United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Nansen Refugee Award. Below is an excerpt from the letter about the award.

Each year, the UNHCR recognizes individuals, groups and organizations for their extraordinary service to refugees, displaced and stateless people. The Award is occasionally given to well-known individuals but it is usually presented to regular people who stand up to defend the rights of the most vulnerable in times of crisis. The winners of this year’s awards were announced on November 28th .

For the first time since the Award’s establishment in 1954, the year’s European regional laureate hails from Poland. The Lena Grochowska Foundation was recognized for its efforts on behalf of refugees from Ukraine which commenced following the start of the full-scale war on 24 February 2022.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees commended our commitment to fully utilize all of the Foundation’s resources and Arche Group’s hotels to provide refugees with shelter and employment, while inspiring others to join the effort. The Award laudation states: Your philanthropic work has made an indelible impact on thousands of refugees by providing them with essential support, including shelter, access to livelihoods and social inclusion. Beyond your contributions, you have also used your voices to rally the business community and civil society, creating a powerful force for positive change.

We accept this award on behalf of all Poles who actively participated in providing aid to refugees from Ukraine following the start of the full-scale war on 24 February 2022. We are proud that in such a difficult moment in history, Polish society conducted itself with dignity and welcomed millions of Ukrainian women and children, the elderly and people with disabilities into our homes.

This prize also belongs to every person and organization that contributed to providing assistance to those in need. Without the involvement of the Grand Circle Foundation, none of the things we have done and continue to do would have been possible.

Thanks to Grand Circle Foundation’s immediate response and systematic financial support of USD 700,000 in the first months of the war, the Lena Grochowska Foundation opened 6 Refugee Homes.

Today, 5 Refugee Homes are still operating in Siedlce, Konstancin-Jeziorna, Ożarów Mazowiecki, Lublin and Łódź. Among the nearly 900 people who find safe shelter in our Homes are:
• 89 people with disabilities;
• 108 seniors (women over 60, men over 65);
• 360 children (18 and younger).

Since the start of the war, we have helped 14,463 individuals and provided more than 580,000 free overnight accommodations.

ds of the Refugee Homes’ residents.