Sorry for the very long post today. It's been 11 days since our last update. Every single day I try to write an update but the only time to do it is during calls. We have hundreds of calls each day as an organization and unfortunately I have to be on many, had 51 calls yesterday, I counted. And I want to apologize if I can't make time for a call with you, I really need more people that can take calls for us as an organization. Please let me know if you can, the "job posting" for the org2org (b2b) communicator is HERE.
And the recent press increased amount of these calls, which is amazing, but hurts, mentally and physically. My wife found me sleeping on the stairs of our building the other day since I was not responding to her calls. So it's pretty bad, that's why I'm publicly committing to take a day off this weekend. I will make this happen, I promise. And I highly encourage you to do this too, because it's going to be long term, we need you long term and we can't have everyone burn out.
Now onto org wide updates
We are running daily operations call that all team leaders should and are joining as they can. Remember we all still have personal lives, some people have to evacuate and support their families in Ukraine, other people work for corporations like Google where it's not possible to just not work... even though I dropped all my commercial work I'm still responsible for people that I need to pay and people that companies that hired me to do that. I still haven't replaced myself as CTO from any of my tech startups. Same for everyone, that's why please be mindful about the situations other people are dealing with. If you are a team leader or point of contacts for the team and not able to join the operations call, then please provide a written daily update on what your team is doing and what are the needs we can help with.
Now you are probably questioning, who are those team leads and what are those teams? We now have a work in progress org chart. If you have @ukrainenow.org email - you will have access to it. If not - please wait until we issue you one.
ORGANIZATION CHART with the current teams and their team leads.
- ACCESS: Use you ukrainenow email to log in and access it. It is open to all with ukrainenow emails.
- EMAIL: If you still don't have it, please fill out this form HERE and ping me.
- CHANGES: Contact @Stepan Grb, @iuliia k, or @Evgeniy R. (for IT) if you need to make changes.
If you don't have access to slack - please be patient. We disabled slack invites for a reason, we got overwhelmed and had to work through the proper inviting system based on needs, availability and skills.
We have onboarded an actual cyber security firm that services governments. It's a company that offered us 3 months free service and will take care of all our cybersecurity needs. Actively working on that and planning to offer this to our partners as a service and infrastructure too.
And guess what, we now have a mission statement that explains what we are doing, why and what we are not doing and why. 🎉
Which also explains what the heck Artur means when he keeps saying "we are building infrastructure for all organizations to use". Please read here, it's dynamic and we are improving it.
We've been fortunate to have the experience of CoronaWhy.org where we solved some of the tasks marching needs based on actual skills of people. We've onboarded a key person that helped us do that in 2020 and we now have a database of 30,000 skills that we are mapping onto our volunteer profiles so we can quickly match the task (limited scope) to the volunteer (availability, timezone, languages spoken, skills).
If someone is passionate about this topic and want to help us, please check this presentation and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject "#team-hr-skills", we will get back to you when we can.
Now onto the initiative updates.
I can't emphasize how important this initiative was and is still. Many people claim that everyone that wanted to evacuate already evacuated, that's not fully true. The reality is that there are still many people that need help, especially people with special needs, elderly that couldn't leave in the first wave. I'm not even talking about Chernihiv and Mariupol and other cities with ZERO infrastructure left. That's why we are improving our logistics to deal with the risks better. We can't risk endangering people but we also can't just sit and do nothing, we are working with local heroes that are evacuating people and we helping them with what we can.
An example of that is Salam, that we featured number of times and he deserves another feature here. Watch this video, PLEASE.
I cried and keep crying each day I speak with them, because I count it as a last day I speak with them, because they keep doing it, every single day, busses full of kids and women evacuated every single day.
And now he needs more help, the shelling is increasing and he asked for bulletproof vests to protect kids in the busses. You can see that busses are just regular vans with big windows that if shoot at - will break.
It's really hard to find vests, mostly because they are primarily used for military aid operations. Out of 60 needed, we found only 10 via volunteers across the world, where Ivan that is in Bali found someone in Poland, we had to send money via paypal to him personally, then we had to convert to crypto, then we had to withdraw as cash and bought them on the ground.
Conversation with Salam:
You may wonder why so complex, but that's the reality. So then we had to bring them to our Krakow warehouse, that I didn't even speak about anywhere yet. So here it is and all the amazing humanitarian aid that we've been receiving and then sending out on our REGULAR scheduled busses that drive Ivano-Frankivsk-Lviv-Kyiv-Lviv-Krakow evacuating people to Poland and shipping supplies back into Ukraine.
Pretty crazy logistics but it works. If someone needs something supply/logistics wise, please use these forms:
We can't guarantee anything but we will send this to our partners if we can't help.
So back to the vests.
And we made it happen, vests are there. Now we need to ship them to Romania to pass to Moldova border where we can pick them up. Not easy.
If you have someone able to do Krakow (Polan) - Iasi (Romania) or directly to Moldova. Please email email@example.com with subject "#i1_evacuations", if you don't use that in subject - it won't reach us, thanks.
I want to make sure you guys see how complex this all coordination is, not to brag about it but to showcase the case at had, many messengers, many people, all volunteers, no Red Cross or other big "orgs" that everyone in USA is sending money to. We DO NOT HAVE that money, we are spending more money than we are recieving each day. It's all public, you can see our donation reports each day HERE:
and we see donations anywhere from $10 to $3,000 sometimes, which is amazing. And much needed every single day.
if you have professional fundraiser, or people that can help us get on calls with organizations and foundations and ask for money in a formal way - please introduce them to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject "#team-financials-funding", if you don't use this subject it won't reach us. I have a video recorded that I can share for this purpose that helped us get $10,000 donation, waiting for funds to arrive.
We are expanding our PR department to build more awareness. We will have a physical fundraiser end of April in Los Angeles, we need Ukrainian artists if you know any here in Los Angeles to sign/play music. All proceeds will go to UkraineNow infrastructure and funding needs of refugees.
Speaking of which...
We are now officially working with a Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, helping them with aggregation of needs on the ground and building supply chain distribution hubs to connect with western partners.
We are also working on government outreach initiative to notify government officials about the pressing needs countries and refugees need.
Unfortunately, the needs are not met and even though countries are trying it's still soooo slow and impossible to get families to safe places where people can reconnect with families like mine, that can't reach USA for 4 weeks now... it's sad and very very exhausting and we are trying, we are not losing hope and I hope you won't lose hope either. We have a resource/educational initiative in progress to help communicate the truth about situations on the ground, on the borders and immigration policies, because there is so much misinformation. There are no small problems and we can't solve all, but we can at least try. Email email@example.com with subject line "#i10_resources_hub" if you want to help, we really need people from ALL countries to serve as country "managers" that know the real situation on the ground.
As a last point, I want to make sure you feel a part of our community even if we didn't yet invite you to join efforts, I want to make sure you understand that the time will come, we will need you. We will need you in a week, in a month, in a year, in 5 years, when we need your specific professional skills. So please be patient and feel free to join our Community calls to meet all of the amazing humans helping us. These calls are run by Brenda, who is an amazing human being willing to run these for us.
Next one is at 8:30am PST on Saturday, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: "#team-community" and explain why you would like to join, please make sure to watch video beforehand, it's not about operations or how to evacuate people, it's about just meeting face to face with humans and sharing acts of kindness as there are SO MANY happening now and we need to hear more about that to share emotions and feelings.
Thank you, everyone.
I will try to do these more often.