Not knowing where you’re going to sleep, not knowing where your next meal is coming from, not knowing how you’ll get by without access to life’s barest necessities: All of these are the hallmarks of homelessness. For civilians who’ve fled their homes in the face of carnage, hoping to outrun the savage onslaught of Russian bombardment in Ukraine, these issues are exacerbated by very real feelings of insecurity and a profound sense of loss. Even before the current hostilities, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has had as its mission to help fill the void by supplying crucial aid to Ukraine’s military defenders as well as the countless civilians who have been forcibly displaced by the exigencies of war.
Rinat Akhmetov on the True Definition of Charity
The organization’s founder, Rinat Akhmetov, is a billionaire industrialist who isn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth is in support of his homeland’s troops as well as the innocent victims most profoundly impacted by the human cost of war. “What does charity mean [to] you?” his mission statement challenges. “For me, charity is, first of all, the ability to feel somebody else’s pain. It is the ability to share somebody else’s pain. It is a systemic fight against systemic problems. Charity is orientation toward results. Charity is openness.”
Generous proceeds from Akhmetov’s diversified business portfolio, including Ukraine’s top steel and mining corporation, Metinvest, and the country’s largest investment group, System Capital Management, have been channeled into numerous philanthropic programs that supply food, housing, medical care, emotional counseling, relocation assistance, and many more vital services to Ukrainians in need.
How a Team-Building Approach Betters Humanitarian Causes
As a savvy businessman, Akhmetov understands building a winning team means sharing a unified philosophy and vision, as well as having the skill set to plan and execute objectives. He applies that same team-centric approach to the humanitarian programs he leads. “[These people] must have the heart to take somebody else’s pain as their own. These people must have eyes, must have good vision to see systemic problems. These people must have the head — [meaning] knowledge and experience — to solve these problems. These people must not create the illusion of work but [actually] work to ensure everyone really feels our help,” he said. “And also, our entire team must be open: Open to society, open to the media, open to new ideas, and open to partnership.”
Since the first salvos of the Russo-Ukrainian war in 2014, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has distributed in excess of 13 million meal kits to Ukraine’s citizens. Thanks to its combined efforts with SCM and the Shakhtar Football Club, the foundation’s outreach has touched more than 18 million people to date. In fact, through his various business entities, Akhmetov has donated approximately $165 million in humanitarian aid.
Meeting the Urgent Needs of Luhansk’s Displaced People Today
Under the direction of the Rinat Akhmetov Saving Lives program, internally displaced persons from Luhansk currently relocated to the city of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi in the Cherkasy region have been some of the latest recipients of foundation aid. Donated goods for the initiative are being organized and distributed at the humanitarian headquarters of the Mountain City Military-Civil Administration. Thus far, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has handed out more than 1,000 sets of basic necessities that include such things as toiletries, water, and meal kits containing pasta, sugar, salt, flour, groats, canned beans, nonperishable canned meat products, cookies, and sunflower oil to grateful Luhansk refugees.
These essential components offer IDPs both sustenance and a sense of security as they work to adapt to life in a new environment. For now, the displaced families of Luhansk can rest a little easier knowing that thanks to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, they won’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. They won’t have to wonder how they’ll manage without life’s necessities. They can take comfort in the knowledge that people care about their welfare, and those people are not only willing but inspired to do something about it.