As the Russian invasion on Ukraine continues, last week we decided to compile for you the examples of inspiring social innovations and small and big gestures of people around the world that bring hope and light despite this unimaginable darkness.

This week, we continue to bring you more good news about how companies and individuals around the world are showing their support for Ukraine.

International companies are massively pulling out of Russia

‘The sheer volume of companies clamoring to join the list of corporations withdrawing business from Russia after President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine came as a shock to Yale management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld. Founder of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute, Sonnenfeld has spent four decades pushing CEOs to act to benefit society, not just shareholders (…). But nothing has drawn as much attention or support from business leaders, media or the public as his inventory of companies that have cut ties with Russia.’[i]

The list, updated hourly by his research team, has grown to several hundreds at the time of writing.

‘Based on the outpouring of support and feedback we’ve received, we are currently building a detailed version of the list breaking down different levels of corporate disengagement from Russia’ Sonnenfeld said.[ii]

European startups are helping Ukraine and Ukrainians

Countless of European startups are showing their support for Ukraine. The below examples are just a small peak into a bigger startup movement taking place in Europe right now.

Canva is working with a number of nonprofits including UNHCR, Save the Children Ukraine, Tabletochki, UNICEF, and World Vision. The company is shipping 3,000 USB power banks to displaced people who have had to flee their homes for safety and has already donated $1 million with an additional pledge to match team donations up to $5k per team member.’ [iii]

Euratechnologies is sponsoring visa applications for tech founders and their families, and offering free access to its acceleration programmes.’ [iv]

Fintechs For Ukraine has been launched to encourage tech firms to raise as much money as possible to help support victims of the crisis. All donations raised will go directly to Save the Children’s Ukraine Appeal which aims to see the fintech community, across Europe and beyond, join forces and come together by pledging money in support of the campaign. Monneo is launching the campaign, covering the payment costs to ensure 100% of donations go to the charity. Monneo is also urging businesses who may not currently be able to afford cash donations to consider promoting and sharing the message of its new initiative instead, via their social media channels. Lili Metodieva, Managing Director of Monneo commented: “As we watch the horror unfolding in Ukraine, we really wanted to find a way to help. We hope to encourage our colleagues and peers to stand together and raise as much money as we possibly can to directly help the people in Ukraine in desperate need of vital supplies.”’[v]

Jobs4Ukraine has set up a platform for Ukrainians to find jobs, also providing information for companies and those who want to volunteer.’ [vi]

Remote has partnered with Portugal to bring Ukrainians to live and work there’[vii]

Polish initiative Tech to the Rescue is using tech to provide solutions. Founded at the start of the pandemic, the movement has now pivoted to support Ukraine. They have launched TechforUkraine to help design digital solutions to maximise impact. One of the first is razemzwami.pl (meaning “togetherwithyou”), which aims to provide authoritative information collated from reputable sources. They have also launched SOS UA, an AirBnB-style platform that will connect those seeking help with those that can provide it.

‘The German startup Wunderflats is offering 3500 flats for Ukrainian refugees.’[viii]

Corporations are helping

Numerous brands are taking a stand with Ukraine, and the list only keeps growing. Only several of countless examples (and growing!) are listed below.

Airbnb announced it was making free housing available to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and letting members offer housing for Ukrainian refugees for free or at a deep discount.

“The greatest need we have is for more people who can offer their homes in nearby countries – including Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement.

The room-rental company’s nonprofit wing, Airbnb.org, is partnering with nonprofits to vet hosts and refugees, and is also pitching in $1 million in liability insurance, $1 million in damage protection, and other services. 
People interested in opening their homes for a few days or a few weeks can get more details on the Airbnb.org website.’[ix]

Apple ceased sales of its products in Russia following an appeal from Kyiv, which asked the consumer electronics giant to block Russians from accessing its app store because “modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers (…) and missiles.”’[x]

‘Etsy has announced it has cancelled all balances owed to the company by sellers in Ukraine — including listing fees, transaction fees, advertising fees and more.’[xi]

Google said it will use office space in Poland to offer legal and psychological services to Ukrainian refugees.’[xii]

‘To help those fleeing violence, Tesla is letting owners of any model electric vehicle use its Supercharger stations near the Ukraine borders in Hungary and Poland. Tesla founder Elon Musk has also activated Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet service, to ensure Ukrainians have reliable internet access.

T-Mobile, Verizon and other phone carriers have lowered or waived charges for calls to Ukraine, with some including local calls made within the country.’[xiii]

Donations are flowing in from around the world

While there are multiple founding campaigns running around the world, it might be worth following closely what Ukrainians themselves are suggesting as ways to help. Ukrainians have put together a list of organizations where foreigners can donate or help in different ways. CNBC provided a list of top-rated charities to help Ukraine relief efforts, Charity Intelligence Canada recently published a list of credible charities and organizations offering humanitarian aid in Ukraine. 

Celebrities are supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine

Numerous celebrities are using their popularity to stand with Ukraine.

Among others, Mila Kunis (Ukrainian from origin) and Ashton Kutcher kickstarted a GoFundMe campaign for Ukraine , which has already raised almost US$ 20 million at the time of writing.

Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘actor and climate advocate donated $10 million to support Ukraine through the International Visegrad Fund. DiCaprio’s grandmother was born in Odesa, Ukraine, and migrated to Germany in 1917.’[xiv]

Korean actress Lee Young-ae ‘donated 100 million won to Ukraine. Ukrainian ambassador to Korea Dmitro Ponomarenko released the donation news and letter on his SNS on March 1st, saying, “I was moved by the letter, financial help, and request to end the war as soon as possible from the famous Korean actress Lee Young-ae, who supports Ukraine.”’[xv]

Kit Harington, ‘the Game of Thrones star joined a host of other actors, including Adrian Lester, Simon Pegg, Hugh Bonnevile, and David Tennant, in videos and radio ads to help raise $120 million for the Disasters Emergency Committee — a coalition of 15 leading humanitarian nonprofits in the UK — which is supporting the Ukrainian relief effort.’ [xvi]

Ukraine Corporate Index is tracking corporate behaviour towards the war in Ukraine

‘To help track businesses’ responses to the escalating crisis, the Ukraine Corporate Index was launched by The Good Lobby, a nonprofit civic participation organization, and Progressive Shopper, which tracks political contributions.

More than 70 companies are on the new Index. Organizers said additional ones will be added in new industries, with the goal of comparing their actions to those of their competitors. The Index will track all brands no matter where they are headquartered—but only if they are available in Russia. Updates will be publicized via social media.

(…) The Ukraine Corporate Index “intends to inform investors, customers and citizens about whether and how their companies and brands are positioning themselves in the ongoing conflict. Its aim is to lead these stakeholders to reassess their investment and shopping decisions by praising responsible corporations while shaming irresponsible ones,” the release said.”’[xvii]

Translators, interpreters and language teachers are offering linguistic help to Ukrainian refugees

An initiative of Polish associations of translators and interpreters aiming to provide linguistic assistance to people affected by the war in Ukraine has resulted in a multi-language website listing volunteer translators and interpreters who are ready to help refugees from Ukraine. The database – updated live – includes specialists not only with Polish, but also with English, German, Spanish and many others.

Also in Poland, where vast majority of Ukrainian refugees are escaping to, a new initiative aims to bring together visually impaired people and Ukrainian children (and their moms) for lessons of Polish language.

Charitable dinners and peace concerts are being held while prayers keep flowing

Charity events supporting Ukraine are bubbling up all over the globe. ‘#CookForUkraine started off as an idea between friends with a mutual love of food and a desire to help those in need. Little did they know that a simple hashtag would lead to the beginnings of a global movement… #CookForUkraine aims to increase awareness of the humanitarian crisis the world faces right now, as well as to raise the funds needed to aid children & families from Ukraine who have been displaced by the current situation. Since its inception, hundreds of people from different backgrounds and nationalities have reached out and shown their solidarity by joining this initiative – including top chefs, award-winning food writers, restaurant owners and home cooks – cooking, baking and sharing Ukrainian and Eastern European inspired dishes at their restaurants with their guests, at home with their friends and across social media with their family and followers. #CookForUkraine also provides a platform for Ukrainian families and their supporters to share recipes with each other, along with the stories behind those dishes. 

Charity dinners are taking place in places around the globe ranging from Denmark to Australia, from Irelandto Singapore.

Musicians from the Kyiv Classic Orchestra recently performed a concert on Kyiv’s Maidan square led by conductor Dr. Herman Makarenko. The concert called for peace. ‘As the war in Ukraine wages on, musicians around the world are performing concerts in solidarity, with many of the concert proceeds going to humanitarian efforts.’[xviii] Music for peace is flowing from Berlin State Orchestra, to the Red Cross in Oslo, from the Polish community in New Britain, to Metropolitan Opera in NYC.  More concerts supporting peace in Ukraine can be found here.

Prayers for Ukrainian people and peace are flowing in from around the world, from Moldova to Houston, TXto Tokyo, supporting the largely Christian Ukrainian population.

Note: The beautiful graphic featured on this page comes from the CreativesforUkraine.com platform, with credit going to Linda Valere’s ‘Stop War’.

Learn more at Social Innovation Academy 

Social Innovation Academy is the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.

Why Social Innovation Academy? Social innovation has increasingly come to be perceived as the answer to the rising number of European societal challenges. While the European authorities, leading academics, policy experts, business people and activists agree that social innovation is the key to a better future for Europe and the world, it is extremely difficult for professionals to obtain high-quality training on what social innovation actually offers and, more importantly, how it can be done in practice.

The Social Innovation Academy is aiming to change this situation in Europe and beyond. If you are interested in keeping up with this project, you can subscribe to our newsletter, become one of our friends or follow us on social media (LinkedInTwitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here.



Graphic: Linda Valere: Stop War

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/03/11/sonnenfeld-russia-ukraine-corporations/

[ii] https://som.yale.edu/story/2022/over-300-companies-have-withdrawn-russia-some-remain?te=1&nl=peter-coy&emc=edit_pc_20220309

[iii] https://www.eu-startups.com/2022/03/supporting-ukraine-the-response-of-european-startups-and-how-to-help/

[iv] https://www.eu-startups.com/2022/03/supporting-ukraine-the-response-of-european-startups-and-how-to-help/

[v] https://www.eu-startups.com/2022/03/supporting-ukraine-the-response-of-european-startups-and-how-to-help/

[vi] https://www.eu-startups.com/2022/03/supporting-ukraine-the-response-of-european-startups-and-how-to-help/

[vii] https://www.eu-startups.com/2022/03/supporting-ukraine-the-response-of-european-startups-and-how-to-help/

[viii] https://www.eu-startups.com/2022/03/supporting-ukraine-the-response-of-european-startups-and-how-to-help/

[ix] https://www.cnet.com/news/supporting-ukraine-airbnb-and-tech-companies-get-creative/

[x] https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/big-techs-support-for-ukraine-recasts-industrys-global-role/

[xi] https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/05/world/ukraine-etsy-support-trnd/index.html

[xii] https://www.protocol.com/policy/russia-ukraine-war-tech?rebelltitem=3#rebelltitem3

[xiii] https://www.cnet.com/news/supporting-ukraine-airbnb-and-tech-companies-get-creative/

[xiv] https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/leonardo-dicaprio-ukraine-aid-donation-b2031673.html

[xv] https://www.tellerreport.com/life/2022-03-01-lee-young-ae–donated-100-million-won-to-ukraine-%22families-of-veterans-know-the-horror-of-war%22.ByxICPmnx5.html

[xvi] https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/leonardo-dicaprio-ukraine-aid-donation-b2031673.html

[xvii] https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2022/03/04/new-index-seeks-to-track-how-brands-and-companies-respond-to-ukraine-crisis/?sh=4bca9d0131b9

[xviii] https://theviolinchannel.com/dc-strings-orchestra-and-old-bridge-chamber-orchestra-to-host-flash-mob-in-support-of-ukraine/


Subscribe to Social Innovation Academy updates


How to make a living while changing the world

PCDN Global is a platform that provides skills, career, and community building opportunities to aspiring changemakers around the world. Their work spans from curating the latest information on jobs and opportunities for students and professionals who are in the social...

8 pioneer Social Innovations in Food

There have been many important innovations concerning food over the last few decades. In this blog post we present 8 pioneer social innovations in food.

8 examples of social innovation in Singapore

What are the social innovation projects, services and products that power Singapore? Check out 8 recent remarkable social innovation examples!

Giving access to essential health care, education, and economic opportunities by building 250 footbridges over impassable rivers and served over 1 Million communities around the world, insightful interview with Avery Bang the President & CEO of Bridges to Prosperity.

    Almost 1 billion people around the world don't have safe access to critical resources like health care, education, or employment due to an impassable river. With a single innovation, Bridges to Prosperity can impact households across multiple...

8 reasons why executives should consider engaging their companies in social innovation

The rationale for corporate social innovation: why executives should consider engaging their companies in social changemaking.

From Theory to Practice – Lessons in Leading Social Innovation from the Frontlines

Leading social innovation successfully requires skills, attitudes and understanding that you won’t learn in classroom. Insights by Corrina Grace.

Disruptive design: catalyst of social change

Interview with Cristina Yoshida and Diego del Moral, co-founders of Collective of Disruptive Design.At the intersection of systems thinking and design thinking, Collective of Disruptive Design (Colectivo de Diseño Disruptivo in Spanish) seeks out collaborative...

8 mind-blowing social innovation ideas

In this blog post we compile a list of 8 mind-blowing social innovation ideas. Social innovation initiatives are implemented to foster social good.

Would you like to collaborate? Get in touch!

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your network!