“Humanity and Mutual Assistance”: results of the humanitarian initiative against the pandemic

“Humanity and Mutual Assistance” has become the slogan of 2020 for our Foundation and the European Union.

We were one of the first major donors to launch a humanitarian initiative against the pandemic in Ukraine, realizing that in this situation, time is not on our side so we need to act quickly.

Today we are summing up, because our long-term Initiative is over, but the direction of anti-pandemic work continues anyway.


In nine months of the Initiative, we supported 191 projects worth 21.5 million hryvnias and provided 3 million hryvnias for purchases to medical institutions. Those nine months are 13 waves of the competition and 2,300 applications, which had been coming to us every day since March, what is more than the Foundation usually receives from applicants throughout the year. We can claim that Our Commission has not ignored any applications.

Directions of the Initiative

The Initiative worked in several directions, identifying almost immediately where our assistance will be most effective: help for medical institutions, vulnerable groups, informing, human rights and psychological care. In the summer, we added another category – overcoming the socio-economic consequences.

First of all, the biggest area of ​​work was helping doctors and medical institutions, because they suffered from the lack of the most necessary materials and tools. We tried to support doctors from small towns and villages because often there was no help far away from the district’s centres.

The second important area of ​​work was to help the most vulnerable groups. We knew that the elderly were not prepared for the challenges of a pandemic and there are groups of citizens who are in high-risk areas. This applies primarily to homeless people and members of the Roma minority.

Information work was the third area of the Initiative. We have seen how many “fakes” and misinformation are circulating around the topic of the pandemic. That is why we tried to help the media, bloggers and opinion-makers to fight these fakes actively by spreading verified and balanced information about what is happening in Ukraine and the world.

The next important area was human rights protection. We helped those who suffered from illegal actions of law enforcement or employers.

Since the summer, we have launched the second phase of the Initiative, to which we have added another component – assistance in overcoming the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, which were already visible to society. We endeavoured to highlight those initiatives that helped people survive economically and mitigate the social impact of the pandemic. And this work still goes on.

We divided all supported projects into categories as follows:

  • Direct assistance to medical institutions – 72 projects;
  • Support and self-help of vulnerable groups – 53 projects;
  • Informing and enlightenment – 22 projects;
  • Legal aid and human rights – 14 projects;
  • Psychological support – 8 projects;
  • Overcoming the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic – 17 projects;
  • Others – 5 projects.


From the beginning, we have tried to cooperate with other donors and philanthropists in our anti-pandemic work. The most valuable impact was made by cooperation with the European Union, one of the largest donor and international partner of Ukraine.

Since April, the EU has supported our Initiative and joined it financially. As a result, about two-thirds of the funds we spent on the Initiative were funds of European taxpayers allocated by the EU Delegation in Ukraine.


Оleksandr Sushko, Executive Director of the Renaissance Foundation, shared the main insights about the Initiative:

  • It is important to start on time. The fact that we started this work in March allowed us to help where others simply would not have time to help, and this is a great success.
  • Ease of access to funds. We have introduced a special simplified application procedure, which has allowed many, even informal groups of citizens, to receive financial support, particularly in the first phase of the Initiative. It has expanded the circle of those beneficiaries, who were able to take advantage of our help.
  • Help those who can help themselves. We did not try to create any initiatives or artificially nourish the activity where it does not exist. On the contrary, we looked at the processes that have already started and proved their viability. This is how our help had the greatest effect.
  • A balance between priorities and a clear focus on achievable goals. From the very beginning, we singled out those areas where we see an opportunity to achieve tangible results and focused our help there, realizing that all needs will still not be covered.

We are grateful to everyone who decided to choose the strategy of “humanity and mutual assistance”, despite the difficult times, and thus mitigated the consequences of the pandemic.

“What to do next? Probably, it will be important to see which of the initiatives we have supported have proved to be viable, which have continued to exist and work even after the support of the Foundation has ended. And we can already see that there are many initiatives like that. This is an indicator of success!” – said Oleksandr Sushko, Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation.

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