On Feb. 24, 2022, Russian military forces crossed into Ukrainian territory. As the invasion unfolded, Americans watched from the other side of the world. It was only natural that a deep desire to help those in need would emerge from communities and workplaces.
The Bright Funds platform is designed to empower employee giving within companies. When urgent needs arise locally or globally, companies can use Bright Funds to quickly connect employees with vetted nonprofits that are providing relief.
And that’s exactly what happened earlier this year: Organizations across the country used Bright Funds to quickly channel gifts to those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
Bright Funds Empowers Corporate Giving for Ukraine
In the first 120 days of the conflict escalation in Ukraine, the Bright Funds platform processed nearly $5 million in contributions from our clients’ employees who wanted to help those impacted. Additionally, employees at companies using Bright Funds have independently created 45 fundraisers to support a collection of nonprofits that included the American Red Cross or Ukrainian Red Cross.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bright Funds also did several things to maximize the impact companies can make in providing humanitarian support. Specifically, we:
- Waived the platform fee for 30 days for companies that were not clients so there would be no barrier to them facilitating employee giving to Ukrainian relief.
- Created our own Ukrainian relief fund to help our clients direct their employee donations to vetted nonprofits.
- Expedited the disbursement of funds to the American Red Cross and other nonprofits.
That last bullet is particularly important. During an armed conflict when needs are quickly emerging, turning donations into aid as quickly as possible is essential. Bright Funds recognized this urgency and prioritized the disbursement of the funds, reducing the disbursement period from one month to one week.
Corporate Gifts Help the Red Cross Maximize its Impact
Since its founding in 1891, the Red Cross has grown to include 192 societies around the world — with the American Red Cross being the society in the United States. These individual organizations are joined together as members in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. When a natural disaster occurs or armed conflict breaks out anywhere in the world, the societies work together to raise funds and provide aid.
The Red Cross’s size and global presence allows it to act quickly when there are humanitarian needs anywhere in the world. It can turn donations into meaningful relief for those affected as fast or faster than any organization in the world.
In the midst of the crisis in Ukraine, the Red Cross was uniquely positioned to provide the humanitarian assistance required. Because the Red Cross had been building a presence in Ukraine since 2014 when Russia first occupied Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, its existing presence there allowed it to immediately respond to real-time needs.
Since the initial invasion in February, the Red Cross has continued to raise money and provide relief to individuals and families affected by the war, as has the American Red Cross. In fact,as of May 24, 2022, the American Red Cross had raised $130.1 million for humanitarian relief in Ukraine and had already spent or committed $49.4 million of that.
How are Donations Turned Into Relief?
What do donations to the American Red Cross go toward? It has contributed millions to the global Red Cross Network. As of May 2022, donations to Ukrainian relief have allowed for:
- First aid training for 46,000 people.
- Delivery of 335,000 hygiene kits.
- $4.4 million in cash assistance to 40,000-plus people.
- Psycho-social support for 219,000 people.
All across Eastern Europe, Red Cross volunteers are setting up tents and making shelters as comfortable as possible for refugees. They are passing out food, water, clothing, bedding, blankets, baby products and the hygiene kits mentioned above, which include a 1-month supply of laundry detergent, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and similar products.
The Red Cross also provides SIM cards for mobile phones so that those affected by war can contact and communicate with their loved ones. The organization also works to reunify families that have been separated during the conflict.
Shape Your Philanthropy Programs Using Bright Funds
When humanitarian needs emerge around the world, businesses and their employees need fast and effective ways to respond. Bright Funds is designed to give our clients the ability to shape their philanthropy programs to meet real-time needs.
Schedule a demo to discover what your organization can do with Bright Funds.