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Alums mobilize in support of Ukraine

Alumni around the world are taking action in response to the unfolding humanitarian and economic crisis in Europe.
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A volunteer for the Abraham Stern Foundation shops for supplies

The devastating invasion of Ukraine has rocked Europe and reverberated around the world. While the extent of the repercussions remains to be seen, the solidarity of individuals worldwide has been inspiring. We highlight here a few alumni who are using their platforms and their organizations to make a positive difference.

Fundraising

Frank Furman (LON, ATL 14-17)
Chief Growth Officer of PadSplit

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Crowdfunding for PadSplit's Ukrainian employees

Frank Furman is helping secure the well-being of PadSplit’s fifteen Ukrainian employees. The company has relocated eleven Ukrainians to its Istanbul location, rented accommodations for displaced employees, raised funding for living expenses, and secured access to finances for all affected employees by paying their wages in advance. "The affected individuals are valued members of our team, and it's been an incredibly jarring experience to see [the invasion] directly impact their lives," says Frank.

PadSplit has also committed to supporting four employees who have chosen to stay in Ukraine. "We have a young woman on our team who has chosen to stay because her father is fighting and her mother requires care," says Frank. "All this time, in a warzone and while enduring unimaginable stress, she's carrying on in her work."

Reach out to Frank to learn more about how to help.


Matt Liebers (NKC 17-18)
Abraham Stern Foundation

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Matt Liebers leading U.S. fundraising efforts

Matt Liebers leads U.S. fundraising for the Abraham Stern Foundation's support of medium- to long-term housing arrangements for refugee families in Warsaw and Rzeszów.

"We are moving in a new family every two days, but with new families contacting us for housing nearly every ten minutes, there is an enormous need to do more," says Matt.

The foundation has raised over $100K in funding for housing and helping refugees acclimate to their new environments with language training, school resources, national insurance, healthcare, and job search assistance. The foundation also works with other local nonprofits to provide humanitarian resources for refugees at reception centers along the Polish-Ukrainian border.

To learn more about the foundation, reach out to Matt here.


Stefanie Rinza (LON 91-93)
Director, Carlton Hobbs

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Hallway inside the Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt Mansion

Stefanie Rinza opened the doors to New York's Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt Mansion for a RAZOM Inc. fundraiser supporting Ukraine relief efforts.

RAZOM's directors met with Carlton Hobbs clients to share information about the foundation's efforts to set up supply routes through Poland and deliver daily shipments of tactical medical equipment to distribution centers in Ukraine.

With an abundance of organizations currently fundraising, Carlton Hobbs organized the event to make it easier for friends, neighbors, and clients to participate in the charitable giving process. "Many of us are desperate to help, but some have mentioned that they find it difficult to select the best charity organization to support," says Stefanie.

Clients have taken RAZOM's message to their networks and sparked partnership conversations outside Carlton Hobbs.

To learn more about RAZOM's Ukraine response, click here.

Humanitarian relief

Vlad Bobrovnyk (SEA 19-21)

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Volunteers of the Firm's Ukraine response team join together for a photo
Alum Vlad Bobrovnyk is engaged with humanitarian, non-lethal, and medical initiatives as an alum, an individual, and as a member of UAWS (Ukrainian Association of Washington State). 

He is collaborating with an internal global McKinsey team to support the Firm’s commitment to Ukraine and the humanitarian response to the conflict and to refugees. The work is an accelerated effort across regions to quickly adapt and act as the situation rapidly evolves and the team identifies opportunities for support.

Vlad explains, "I got involved in these initiatives because there was no way I could look at myself in the mirror if I did not. I have spent most of my life in Canada and the U.S., but the entirety of my family remains in Ukraine, and all of my male relatives have already joined the military. Even my 70-year-old uncle, who is ex-military, opted to re-enlist in the armed forces because of their shortage of officers. I wish that I could support Ukraine more directly, but this is the most effective use of my time while also supporting family in Ukraine who can now no longer earn an income."

Firm colleague Rachel Korsunsky says, “[Vlad] has integrated with the internal team seamlessly, supporting it through his personal network across NGOs and the public sector.” The team is also working on longer-term initiatives, partnering across internal and external teams to identify opportunities to improve logistics and supply chains, refugee needs, and more. To learn more about the Firm’s global response, click here. Contact Vlad here if you are interested in learning more or becoming involved in his individual efforts.  


Gregory Slayton (NYO, BAO 90-94)
Founder and Chairman of Fellowship of Fathers Foundation

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The Honorable Gregory Slayton

Gregory Slayton is leveraging his faith and 20 years of experience in humanitarian projects to bring essential resources to families in Ukraine.

Gregory's Fellowship of Fathers Foundation (FOFF) and its international arm, Family First Global (FFG), have partnered with over 400 religious institutions in Ukraine, Poland, and Romania to bring foodstuffs, medical supplies, and personal hygiene items into Western Ukraine. "Thousands of refugees daily are getting badly needed relief through trusted churches and synagogues," says Gregory.

As the war expands into Western Ukraine, FOFF/FFG aims to scale its support to 15,000 refugees per week, with an ambition of helping over 150,000 refugees per week. To learn more about FOFF/FFG, click here.

Information

Shouvik Banerjee (CHI 07-09)
Founder of AverPoint

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Clubhouse talk titled "Understanding Ukraine-Russia: A Thousand Year History"

Shouvik Banerjee's media literacy company, AverPoint, has partnered with Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI) and Clubhouse's Thought Leaders program to co-host a weekly series of factual deep-dives on the war.

Averpoint is educating individuals and communities to navigate today's information crisis through a series of expert-curated articles and related weekly Clubhouse talks. The sessions, which have drawn up to 6,000 listeners, have covered topics on NATO membership, the thousand years of history between the two nations, the two militaries, Russian grand strategy, European energy strategy, and Russian disinformation.

You can join the talks on Saturdays at 1:00 pm EDT on Clubhouse and sign up for AverPoint to receive weekly Wednesday readings.

Transportation

Katalin Walter (FRA, BUD 97-12)
CEO, BKK Centre for Budapest Transport

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Refugees boarding a Budapest city bus

The Centre for Budapest Transport's CEO, Katalin Walter, is leading efforts to provide transportation for refugees entering Budapest. Since the beginning of the war, the city-owned transportation company has been one of many local municipalities and civil organizations organizing help for refugees. "Hungary is one of the biggest receivers of refugees from Ukraine with over 300,000 refugees received," says Katalin.

The company has been a critical resource for refugees entering Hungary's largest city by providing busing between airports, train stations, and shelter homes.

"It’s moving and reassuring to see the incredible civil engagement in Hungary. It’s only natural that as a Budapest-owned company, we do whatever we can to help systematically ease refugees in or through Hungary," Katalin says.