United Ukraine Provides Direct Economic Lifeline to Families in Ukraine War Zones

IRVINE, Calif., April 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new nonprofit sustained over 500 families in Ukraine, donating over $40,000 in just the first few weeks of the Ukraine war by using an innovative wire transfer method and insider Ukraine knowledge unique to the founders of United Ukraine, Adam Romney and Nathan Smith. [PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=EEPEU6BSXZR3J]

United Ukraine developed a system of direct support not utilized by any other nonprofit, using wire transfers through domestic Ukrainian banks, making swift, nimble and precise support arrive within five minutes after authorization. The ability to leverage the economic strength of the dollar in Ukraine is profound, with families living outside of city centers often making $300-400 a month, meaning that a modest amount of help is amplified when converted to the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia.

Founded officially as a nonprofit on March 23, 2022, the founders sprang into immediate action due to their personal connections to Ukraine.

Using simple tools such as text messages and messaging apps, the founders reached out to their networks in Ukraine and then extended to their networks’ networks, asking basic questions about welfare and need.

Says United Ukraine co-founder Nathan Smith, “I’m proud of the work we have done to locate and provide aid. A few hundred dollars is enough to allow families the freedom to make good choices for their family instead of being forced to take whatever option they can afford right now.”

Support comes through both direct and indirect aid, through community leaders and highly effective donation centers in order to amplify efforts. Some of the stories of the people, efforts, and community leaders United Ukraine have helped to date illustrate the depth of direct services Romney and Smith provide:

  • Purchase of four Polish ambulances as cover to transport medical supplies and food safely into Ukraine
  • Supply orphanages in Odesa and Mikolaiv with diapers and food daily
  • Obtain and provide medication to people with medical needs sheltering in the subway system in Kyiv thanks to a good-hearted veterinarian.
  • Maintaining consistency of cancer treatment for patients in a war zone thanks to a nurse in Cherkasy
  • Rescue, food, and support for animals who have lost their homes in Kyiv and Odesa
  • Provide rides to 70 people who are elderly or disabled to the border of Poland
  • Provide shelter for individuals with disabilities in Kharkiv
  • Feeding an entire community in a café in Kyiv, and a Kyiv-area farm providing produce to the Ukrainian Territorial Defense
  • Importing burn bandages in short supply from Germany

Said Romney, “The reason we can do this is because we can communicate with Ukrainians. This is a grassroots effort.”

United Ukraine harnesses the cultural strengths of both Americans and Ukrainians. In Ukraine, grassroots organizing is common. In the US, fundraising and giving to causes is robust. Says Smith, “We’re able to be a cultural bridge between two tendencies.”

United Ukraine updates donors three times per week, with personal emails, photos, stories, and reflections of where the help goes and what it means to families and communities. The humanity of the responses of families and the direct connection with those supported makes this effort unique. Accompanied by photos [gallery: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gusyvn5el7kriig/AADYEWrl6Iyczvgr2UkGjY4Ya?dl=0], United Ukraine tells individual stories of people that humanize the victims of war by sharing their first foray into the peacetime in other countries and their increased peace of mind in their home country despite all obstacles:

  • A first sighting of a deer in a Prague forest after fleeing Ukraine
  • Learning Romanian by getting lost on the streets of Tulcea
  • Breathing a sigh of relief that a family doesn’t have to choose between feeding their children or their aging mother
  • Sustaining a local florist who lost everything when the major floral holiday in Ukraine on March 8 was disrupted by unprompted war

Says Romney, “We are sending people hope. I’ve seen people who aren't shattered - but instead feel that maybe the future is something that still offers them something to embrace. That's what giving someone a lifeline does. None of these people chose this war. It happened to them. And we're helping extend a lifeline when they need it.”

In their day jobs, Romney is an insurance litigator and Smith is a software engineer. Both are fluent in Russian, a common language spoken in Ukraine. Romney lives in Irvine, California, and Smith lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Said Smith about their opposition to the war and the way it is hurting people in Ukraine, “Both of us [cofounders] connected with Ukraine coming from an interest in Russian culture. Now we’re doing all we can to get ourselves banned from Russia.”

Said Romney, “A few weeks ago, we did not know we would be doing this work, and, honestly, we did not know if it could be done. Nobody else, to our knowledge, is doing the level of direct support for families and residents of Ukraine that we are currently providing. While it is a lot of logistics, we are honored to help families and communities in this time of need. Ukraine is a place that changed my life for the better. Studying the local culture and language fundamentally altered how I see the world. Without Ukraine, I wouldn't be me.”

ABOUT UNITED UKRAINE: A newly-formed nonprofit with a simple mission: to locate and directly provide direct aid to Ukrainians on the ground. The United Ukraine logo features Ukraine’s national bird, the nightingale, a small bird with a powerful, unignorable voice. United Ukraine works to elevate the hope and voices of ordinary Ukrainians in need because they will not be ignored. The world has recently rediscovered Ukraine, and it's hard to imagine it can ever be ignored again. Donations at Venmo: @UnitedUkraine and PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=EEPEU6BSXZR3J

Media Contact: Elysse Acosta, elysse@feltenmedia.com, 760-490-5810