Ilona Pongracz has been raising funds for more than twenty-five years and works on behalf of social, humanitarian, environmental and cultural non-profit organizations, as well as ones dedicated to medical research.  

She gained experience while working the sponsorship department of a global company, and working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). During her nine years at ICRC, she set up the direct marketing department, launched fundraising campaigns, developed partnerships and helped create one of the very first fundraising websites.    

In 2002, she founded Ethika and has since been offering her services to non-profits based in Switzerland, helping them raise the funds they need for their projects. She regularly teaches classes on fundraising, including at the University of Geneva.   

Ilona Pongracz is a member of the Swissfundraising organization and, for 10 years, organized their annual fundraising seminar opened to non-profits in French-speaking Switzerland.   

In July 2020, she was excited to be appointed to the position of Vice-Chair of the Switzerland for UNHCR Foundation. 


Why I want to be involved 
I was so honoured to be asked to serve as Vice President of UNHCR’s new Swiss partner. As a daughter of a refugee, I am wholeheartedly committed to protecting forcibly displaced people. In 1956, my father fled the Russian invasion of Hungary; he was then a young 24-year old student and was welcomed into this country. Switzerland gave him all the opportunities he needed to start over. I truly hope that the expertise I’ve gained in fundraising throughout the years will actively support the Foundation’s implementing team. The needs of the people protected by UNHCR have never been this high.