The organizer: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky
The pitch: Creating United24
The reason: To raise money for humanitarian relief and military support
When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last February, dozens of international relief organizations rushed in to help. But much of their early effort became bogged down in red tape and compliance rules which meant that little money got to those in need.
A report in May from Humanitarian Outcomes, a U.K.-based organization that studies the effectiveness of charities, found that 85 per cent of the money raised by global organizations had not been distributed inside Ukraine.
To address the problem, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky established a fundraising platform last spring called United24, named after the country’s 24 regions. “A huge amount of funds raised worldwide by people, whether they donated one dollar or a million dollars, are not having the intended impact,” said Yaroslava Gres, who co-ordinates the charity. She added that the purpose of United24 was “to unite the world with Ukraine. To bring us closer together, in order to protect, save and rebuild. It allows one-click donations to Ukraine from any country.”
The platform has raised more than US$200-million from donors in 110 countries since its launch on May 5. It has also attracted the support from a host of celebrities including singer and actress Barbra Streisand, Star Wars actor Mark Hamill and singer Stevie Nicks.
Donations have been used to fund everything from buying helmets, body armour and uniforms for soldiers to purchasing medical equipment and financing reconstruction projects. A recent campaign has raised nearly US$3-million to buy anti-drone systems.
Ms. Gres said the platform provides donors with a direct way of helping Ukraine. “Because Ukraine knows best what it needs. Because Ukraine can deliver aid directly to the front line. Because the government is the only one that can rebuild cities or roads in Ukraine to help people come back home,” she said.