The organizer: Mariya Solodar
The pitch: Launching the Peace of Mine Foundation in support of Ukraine
Ukrainian businesswoman Mariya Solodar spent years building a successful online marketing venture but when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, her thoughts turned to her family and fellow Ukrainians.
“All my family is in Ukraine,” said Ms. Solodar, 30, who was born and raised in Ukraine and now lives in Los Angeles. “I have three brothers and sisters and one sister was born during the war.”
Ms. Solodar thought about joining the military or the country’s volunteer defence force to fight the Russians, but she soon found a better way to serve. She launched Peace of Mine, a Ukrainian charity run largely out of Kyiv that offers a range of services for people who have been displaced by the war. The organization helps with housing, medicine, food, education and transportation out of dangerous areas. Peace of Mine has helped more than 1,000 people including 180 families.
“We decided to create this charity in March, 2022, when we were helping refugees,” she said. “A lot of people called and offered to help.”
The charity officially launched in May and Ms. Solodar said donations have started to flow in from around the world.
She has been trying to convince her family to leave Ukraine, but they are staying put. “I feel super alone,” she said. “For me it’s very hard sometimes, it’s super depressing.”
She’s hoping to visit Ukraine some time soon, but for now she’s putting all of her efforts into expanding the foundation and finding niche areas that other charities don’t serve. “It’s what we need to do,” she added. “That is the purpose of living in a society, at least to try to make an effort, to try to solve something. Don’t be silent.”