When the war in Ukraine began in February 2022, Poland-based Tech to the Rescue pivoted to help provide vital tech solutions to maximise impact. Now, the initiative has helped over 100 Ukrainian charities and NGOs with digital transformation.
Founded by Jacek Siadkowski and Daniel Di Giusto in March 2020, Tech to the Rescue (TTTR) was initially established as a global platform connecting NGOs and technology companies. The idea was that by uniting tech minds and companies with the causes that most matter, more impact can be created in addressing societal challenges.
As the war in Ukraine has unfolded, Europe’s tech community has stepped up to offer support to the nation, leveraging know-how, expertise and resources to support people, communities and livelihoods. We have an overview of different initiatives that were set up here. In addition, the EIC launched a €20 million support fund. We got an inside look into the project with Taavi Madiberk and Nataly Veremeeva. It’s also when TTTR put its resources and network into supporting organizations, people and communities confronting war in Europe.
Jacek Siadkowski, Founder, Tech To The Rescue: “The tech industry’s response to the war in Ukraine requires wisdom, long-term thinking, and coordination. Prudence to implement solutions where they are needed most. Coordination to avoid duplication of effort and to achieve synergy in the activities of the various stakeholders.”
Bridging the gap between impact and tech
In 2020, as the world was confronted with the COVID pandemic, Tech to the Rescue got together to help tech companies use their skills for social good, connecting them with impactful non-profits seeking technological assistance to boost their projects. It essentially bridges the gap between the tech and social world, bringing about tangible effects.
After just a few weeks, 140 technology companies from around the world volunteered their resources, and 60 nonprofits signed up to receive help. The challenges shared by NGOs highlighted the gap between the traditional operating models of nonprofits and those of impact-oriented organizations. It pushed the founders to expand the initiative further, establishing a foundation in July 2020. Since then, key partnerships and collaborations have been developed, such as with Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, which got involved in the form of $500k in grant funding and a Google.org Fellowship. This has enabled Tech to the Rescue to scale its platform and efforts globally.
Currently, over 1400 companies and 700 NGOs from 5 continents are part of the community and over 215 impactful projects have been launched.
Through the collaboration with Google, TTTR has been able to implement a semi-automated, scalable process to effectively match nonprofits and tech companies, and grow its team from three full-time employees to 22, including Google Fellows who joined for a 6-month fellowship.
Tech for Ukraine
When the invasion of Ukraine began, Tech to the Rescue reacted, developing its #TechForUkraine campaign.
In just a few days, over 540 companies from 40 countries pledged to support nonprofits helping Ukraine, and over 110 NGOs from Poland, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States submitted their projects.
Projects included aiding Ukrainian refugees with everything from finding housing and employment to acclimating to new cultures.
Jen Carter, Global Head of Technology, Google.org: “Tech to the Rescue’s operational model allows the organization to respond to crises such as the war in Ukraine with a multi-faceted approach. This allows the Google.org Fellows to also support crisis relief efforts through a variety of nonprofits and initiatives: For any given improvement they support for this platform, their work is multiplied across all nonprofits Tech to the Rescue will be working with in the future.”
Digitizing social impact support
Prior to the war, Ukraine had established a thriving and healthy startup ecosystem. It was an inventive and talented nation known for creativity and an ability to come up with innovative solutions to everyday challenges.
However, after the invasion, only 4% of organizations in Ukraine felt that they were fully equipped with tech solutions. 77% of Ukrainian nonprofits lacked the resources to implement technology and 80% of Ukrainian nonprofits believe that they are not fully secured in terms of digital threats.
Without digital capabilities and solutions, nonprofits aiming to help people came up against additional challenges and obstacles. This is what the #TechForUkraine initiative has been working hard to solve, connecting these social impact organizations with the tech they need.
“Digitization of the third sector in Ukraine was urgently needed, as nonprofits lacked resources to develop strategic digital solutions in a professional manner.”
The #TechForUkraine campaign has now digitized over 100 nonprofits providing relief to Ukraine.
Some of the efforts included saving Ukrainian cultural heritage online, finding accommodation for 4,600 displaced Ukrainians with UASOS, or helping US-based NGO Nova Ukraine raise $31 million for humanitarian aid.
A look at the projects
Here, we take a look at 5 of the 100 projects that are helping to support Ukraine and provide lasting and genuine impact to the people caught up in this ongoing war.
Nova Ukraine’s fundraising platform is dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Tech To The Rescue matched Nova Ukraine with Automattic to help develop a new website and fundraising platform. Since the start of the war, Nova Ukraine has raised and spent over €30 million and helped over 3 million people with thousands of volunteers, serving meals, delivering aid packages and evacuating people and animals.
Mapujpomoc.pl has created a database of organizations actively helping Ukrainian refugees. Tech To The Rescue matched Mapujpomoc.pl with Mohi.to to help them develop a secure platform that connects refugees to organizations by providing refugees with access to real-time information, resources, and support. More than 1000 organizations in Poland were mapped providing more than 30 types of assistance.
SUCHO is an initiative driven by over 1,500 international volunteers who are collaborating online to digitize and preserve the cultural heritage of Ukraine. Tech To The Rescue matched SUCO with Amazon, through which the initiative received credits for data cloud storage in Amazon Cloud and technical support from Amazon Web Services. As a result of this collaboration, more than 5,000 websites and 50 TB of Ukrainian cultural institutions’ data are safely preserved online.
Tabletochki is the largest Ukrainian nonprofit helping children with cancer. Since 2011 Tabletochki has been changing the field of pediatric oncology in Ukraine, improving the quality of treatment for children. Tech to the Rescue matched Tabletochki with volunteers from Google who provided support on creating an advertising strategy, launching online marketing campaigns, and setting up Google Analytics. Monthly, Tabletochki assists more than 500 children, including more than 100 children who are still in Ukraine. Since the R
UASOS is a platform that aims to help refugees find free accommodation in Poland, Czechia, Hungary and Slovakia. Tech to the Rescue matched a cluster of nonprofit organizations (Polish Humanitarian Action, Ukraiński Dom Foundation, Nasz Wybór Foundation, Szlachetna Paczka Foundation, and Polish Migration Forum) with ID Advisory, Clevsoft and BCG to create UASOS,. It’s helped over 4,600 displaced Ukrainians find accommodation.