June 24, 2024


The Joy of Technology

Seattle tech workers with Ukrainian roots help build website to ease donation process for aid groups


A rally in guidance of Ukraine at Seattle Heart. (Photo courtesy of Natasha Fedo)

The prospect of sending income to in some way assist Ukraine offer with the mounting implications of the Russian invasion can seem to be mind-boggling. The place to donate? How to donate? Who to belief?

A new web-site termed Pledge Ukraine, designed with the assistance of tech personnel in Seattle and outside of, and introduced Friday morning, aims to consider some of the guesswork out of contributing to the around the world reduction work directed at the war-torn country.

Sophy Lee, an Austin, Texas-centered tech executive, has assembled a volunteer team of 11 researchers, programmers and designers, together with 8 advisors, to immediately create the web site and help funds flow to additional than 100 companies within and outside Ukraine.

(Symbol through Pledge Ukraine)

Some of individuals assisting have mates and loved ones in Ukraine, and some are Ukrainian. Lee was inspired by her excellent close friend Andrey Liscovich, a previous Uber govt who was residing in San Francisco in advance of leaving to return to his property region to operate a volunteer logistics procedure.

Liscovich relayed to Lee how challenging it’s been to hook up individuals executing superior work in Ukraine with men and women inclined to assist from somewhere else in the planet.

“The matching is actually inefficient,” Lee claimed. “So I just virtually scribbled a thing on a sheet of paper, texted it to Andrew and he reported, ‘Hey, let’s create this.’ And which is pretty a great deal how it bought started out.”

Andrew is Andrew Lytvynov, a Seattle-primarily based software package engineer at the details warehousing corporation Snowflake. At first from Lviv, Ukraine, Lytvynov moved to the Bay Spot about 8 yrs in the past, and Seattle 4 decades ago.

Up until eventually a 7 days in the past when he started off on the Pledge Ukraine web site, Lytvynov was keeping in touch with close friends and family in Ukraine by means of cell phone or social media, and he was sending revenue. But he was frustrated that he was not carrying out ample.

“You do sense very helpless, you want to do a thing,” Lytvynov stated. “When this concept came collectively, for me it was, ‘OK, I can place so substantially of this stress and anxiety and anger and emotion into a helpful medium and it is a thing which is in fact going to assist Ukraine additional broadly than just my direct donations.”

The homepage of the Pledge Ukraine site. (Pledge Ukraine Graphic)

Lytvynov and few other engineers experienced to make a internet site from scratch, like: the site’s backend a way to retail store all the information about help businesses in a structured way to enable query and filter processes domain set-up hosting an email inbox for suggestions and additional.

“The bulk of the time was used constructing the frontend of the site, finding all of the UI pieces of it regular, usable on cellular, translating every little thing into a few languages, because it’s going to hopefully get to a international viewers,” Lytvynov said.

Lytvynov arrived at out to his mate Natasha Fedo to help with studying and vetting hundreds of organizations. Also a indigenous of Lviv, Fedo has been in Seattle for 20 a long time and is currently a senior portfolio officer at the Monthly bill and Melinda Gates Basis. On her have time, she place to use some of the skills and information she’s designed.

‘I can place so much of this nervousness and anger and emotion into a valuable medium and it is anything that is really heading to assistance Ukraine’

“Having been in the world of nonprofits, in the planet of donors, I undoubtedly have a way to assess distinctive nonprofits and try to understand what they are doing, exactly where they are coming from,” Fedo said.

The analysis turned into a huge aspect of the undertaking, with about 100 hrs invested in hunting into every organization, speaking with them, and inputing information and facts for the internet site.

Fedo’s mother, aunts, uncles and cousins all continue to stay in Lviv. The city in the western portion of the place has been aspect of a secure corridor to neighboring Poland and hadn’t been seeing hefty battling — right up until Friday.

“They’re declaring ‘This is our place,’” Fedo stated of why her family has not fled. “Like my mother, I have been begging her to depart and she’s like, ‘No. This is my home. I’m likely to keep here as very long as I can.’”

That conviction has determined Fedo to assistance and feel successful.

“It is unbelievably tricky to experience powerless and helpless, and viewing all the struggling which is occurring and just continually observing the news and worrying,” Fedo claimed. “I essential an outlet for executing extra than transferring pounds … which I’m undertaking as well.”

A few of Pledge Ukraine’s volunteers, from remaining, Natasha Fedo, Andrew Lytvynov, and Sophy Lee. (Photographs courtesy of Pledge Ukraine)

Lee, observing Fedo for the 1st time during a video clip chat with Lytvynov and GeekWire, claimed she’s motivated that a group of persons who have typically under no circumstances achieved each other arrived alongside one another to get things accomplished.

“We’re basically strangers,” Lee said. “The point that does unite us is that we treatment a good deal.”

Lee’s hope is that Pledge Ukraine will give a much more dependable and uniform way for men and women to assist beyond lists of corporations in news stories or tweeted pleas from celebs. The web-site does not obtain any funds, and visitors can choose which style of group they may well like to donate to, in classes these as foods, medication, refugees, small children, animals, protection and extra.

Lytvynov claimed tweaks and capabilities may possibly be included to enable visitors superior realize how lender transfers get the job done. They’ll operate details analytics on the web page to find out how quite a few people today are checking out and clicking off to help sites, but they will not know how substantially funds is pledged. They have a short time period goal of attracting 100,000 men and women to the site, donating in an productive way.

“I believe what we’ve constructed in a quite short sum of time is an example of how you can use technological innovation to sort of foster some coordination during chaos,” Lee mentioned. “As the condition modifications, and evolves, we want to make absolutely sure that we are as nicely and we’re supporting folks do what is most impactful.”


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