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The charity 1K is sending tech money directly to Ukraine families in need

As word of 1K’s campaign spreads on Twitter and through the tech community, more big name VCs and entrepreneurs are opening thier checkbooks.

The charity 1K is sending tech money directly to Ukraine families in need
Ukrainian refugees who fled their home in Odesa, at the Egros refugee transit centre in Iasi, Romania. [Photo: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images via Getty Images]

A New York-based tech industry charity called 1K has gathered millions in donations to send directly to needy families in Ukraine.

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The charity says it’s raised more than $5 million from individuals, startups, and venture capitalists, all of which has provided financial assistance to some 5,000 Ukrainian families.

1K was founded by entrepreneur and VC Alex Iskold, who was born in the Ukraine, and Chrysi Philalithes, who runs digital outreach at the AIDS organization (RED). 1K works through a number of refugee organizations in Ukraine and Europe to find and vet the families that are most in need. Families can also apply for help directly with 1K. The charity is especially keen to help single mothers of multiple children. Iskold says that in many cases mothers end up fleeing the country with their children while the men are forced to stay in Ukraine.

Philathes says that a donation of $1,000 (“1K”) can help a family of three to four people buy a month’s worth of necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter.

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Last month, 1K started a new campaign called Startups For Ukraine, which it says is “a call to show the collective power of the entrepreneurial community.” It called on a thousand startups and VCs, asking each to donate $10,000 to fund 10 families. So far the campaign has generated more than $1 million of the $5 million 1K has raised in total, the charity says.

Numerous startups from early- to late-stage have donated to the cause. And 1K’s donors also include some big names in tech investment circles. These include investors such as Fred Wilson and Om Malik, and VCs such as NEA, First Mark, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer, and others. The VC GSV and the University of Arizona also worked together to raise $130,000 for the 1K cause.

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Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Away cofounder Jennifer Rubio said Thursday that they will match all personal donations up to $2.5 million for the next 48 hours until 11:30am ET on Saturday, May 14.

The war rages on in Ukraine, and more humanitarian aid is needed. For its part, however, 1K’s movement to help the tech industry give seems to be picking up steam.

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“I know this community very well,” Iskold says. “Twitter has been overflowing with support. Everybody knows about this.”

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About the author

Fast Company Senior Writer Mark Sullivan covers emerging technology, politics, artificial intelligence, large tech companies, and misinformation. An award-winning San Francisco-based journalist, Sullivan's work has appeared in Wired, Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC News, CNET, and many others.

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