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Vlada Galan, a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen, couldn’t stand to sit back and watch Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from the United States while her father joined the country’s war effort.
Galan, an international political consultant who was born in Odesa, Ukraine, has used her connections from all over the world — including Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko — to create a nonprofit called the International Ukrainian Crisis Fund. In just one month, her fund has raised more than $500,000 in cash and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in humanitarian supplies for Ukrainians in need.
“I linked up with the Klitschko brothers, my client, and I said, ‘Look, maybe I should start a fund. Maybe I should start a nonprofit.’ And there is a fund, Fund Future Kyiv, that they’ve had since the last war with Russia. I said, ‘Maybe we can partner the funds,’” Galan explained. “I could create a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that’s fully tax-exempt in the U.S. And I put together a team of lawyers, and in 24 hours I had a registered fund, and I had tax-exempt status in two weeks.”
Galan immigrated to the United States with her mother when she was eight years old. Her father still lives in Ukraine and recently volunteered with the country’s armed forces to help defend the sovereignty of his homeland.
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“I think it just gives me purpose every day because I feel like I should just be there. It’s really hard. It’s just horrible. It’s been hard to talk about it,” she said. “We are now working on a huge shipment of air cargo medical supplies from the U.S. Some facilities donated to us about 25-30 pallets worth, still quite a bit.”
The fund delivers at least two truckloads of supplies worth about $50,000 each week.
Galan has connected various funds, relief efforts and volunteers across the United States, Europe and Ukraine to create a large network of “at least a couple hundred people” working to get supplies into Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities such as Lviv, Kharkiv and Odesa.
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Donations range from food and medical products to hygiene and baby products. Galan has purchased vehicles to deliver the supplies and bulletproof vests for her volunteers.
She has also shipped goods into Ukraine from Warsaw, Poland, and helped thousands of families — mainly mothers and children — evacuate war zones via train and bus.
“We just launched a program in Kyiv two weeks ago. It’s been a huge success. We launched a hotline where people … who can’t make it to one of our distribution centers can call in if they’re elderly or have young children or they’re in a bomb shelter, and we deliver the food to them through a courier service. I’m just in shock. Our hotline is ringing off the hook,” she said.
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Galan added that the fund has kept its promise of converting aid into supplies that go directly to people in need within 24 to 48 hours.
Russian officials announced earlier this week that they were scaling back forces in Kyiv, but Galan said that means the city will “see more and more and more aerial bombings, missiles flying.”
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“It’s going to ramp up because they are, right now, scaling troops back. They’re regrouping right now. But that only means they’re going to come back regrouped. And that only means that in the period that they’re gone or not at full force, they will be bombing nonstop,” Galan explained.
More than 4 million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country since Russia invaded in February, according to the U.N.