MISSION & VISION.
Brighter Ukraine Foundation operates on our foundational pillars of Aid, Protect, Support, and Rebuild. The foundation supports all efforts that will protect and support the Ukrainian people and defenders of Ukraine to end this war.
We provide humanitarian aid, medical supplies, clothing and toys to refugees, women, and children who are directly affected by the war in Ukraine. Additionally, we supply the Ukrainian frontline defenders and civilian volunteers with necessary medical supplies, protective and tactical gear, and cold-weather clothing to save their lives while protecting their families and country.
We are looking toward the future of a Brighter Ukraine through the physical rebuilding of cities and communities while sharing the beautiful Ukrainian culture. We feel it is important to create cultural experiences within our monthly events to keep the Ukrainian culture alive among Ukrainians in the United States and to enrich the lives of Americans by connecting them with the Ukrainian community and sharing art, music, and tradition.
Our path to Nonprofit.
My name is Arina Gerasimova, I was born and raised in in the beautiful city of Zaporizhzhia, located in the southeast of Ukraine. I arrived to the US 18 years ago on athletic scholarship in pursuit of a brighter future and bigger growth for myself and family, however, my family and friends still live all throughout Ukraine. I’m an athlete and business development professional living in the South Bay of Los Angeles, CA.
My home town is mostly known for the historic Khortytsia Island that is surrounded by Dripro river and the heroic Ukrainian Cossaks, but it is also home to the largest nuclear power station in Europe, Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (that was recently under Russian attack), Zaporizhzhia Thermal Power Station and Dnieper Hyproelectric Station (which may need to be blown up soon, if the territory gets occupied by the Russian army, in order to prevent further advance into Ukrainian land).
The day of February 24, 2022 brought a lot of shock and disbelief when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. I watched our land being bombed and our people killed on Ukrainian social media channels and I couldn't stand by. I had to help in any way I could. I reached out to the organizations that I knew were shipping donations to Ukraine and made a post on social media asking for food and money donations with hopes of reaching about $1000 and getting some non-perishable food for soldiers and civilians who didn't have access to food sources. The first two weeks I raised slightly more than $6500 and bought, packed, delivered and shipped over 1,400 pounds of food and hygiene products. I volunteered at a couple of organizations and got to know the management but with that also came the knowledge of not very honest practices of those organizations which pushed me and my friends to start our own humanitarian drive.
I reached out to family members, Ukrainian friends in the US and Ukraine, learned the current needs on the frontlines, researched many things about tactical military gear, connected with local and foreign volunteer doctors in Ukraine and started collecting not only money donations but also new and used tactical gear, first aid and other medical supplies. Me and a few of my friends fly all of the supplies to Ukraine through Poland ourselves, checking it as luggage. We have friends or relatives waiting for us in Warsaw with mini vans who then drive them to a location in Lviv from where the aid gets distributed to other parts of Ukraine by the people we know personally. We have established this "supply chain" to make sure that aid gets to those who need it most and none of the goods are stolen and sold on the black market.
To date, we have equipped 1000+ soldiers with medical, tactical, and protective aid. We have delivered over 500 bags of gear and medical supplies, that's more than 25,000 lbs of humanitarian aid delivered by hand directly to the frontlines. We get new requests from the soldiers almost daily, work with the doctors who are part of the Foreign Legion of Ukraine, Ministry of Health of Ukraine and French-Israel Group who are treating the wounded in various parts of Ukraine and get even longer lists of medications needed from them weekly.
I always knew that Ukrainian people are built differently, we come together, work together and help each other out. I also want to stress on the fact that every dollar goes to providing aid, we don't keep any percentage, we don't pay ourselves for any work that we do, our only goal is to help save lives.
Many thanks in advance for any and all aid provided!
Founder, Brighter Ukraine Foundation