In the last 12 months, we have seen many companies commit to supporting on-the-ground charities and initiatives in Ukraine that deliver funding, humanitarian aid and essential services to those affected by the conflict. Igaming companies have been no exception to this.
In part four of our roundtable series led by the Bet on Good Foundation, industry experts discuss some of the ways that their companies are supporting on-the-ground volunteer forces based in Ukraine.
How has your company helped support on-the-ground volunteer forces and charities across Ukraine and how did you become involved?
Vlad Slyusarenko, CEO of Bet on Good Foundation: As I said, we launched the Bet on Good Foundation not so long ago. Now we are working on creating our volunteer network within Ukraine. Very soon, together with the igaming company Gamigtec, we will launch our volunteer centre in the city of Odesa.
It so happened that Odesa became a real hub for volunteer initiatives since many refugees moved here from the occupied territories from eastern and southern Ukraine. Many do not have winter clothes or money for food and accommodation. And they need all-around help: medicines, psychological support, housing and food. In addition, these people need help to rehabilitate themselves and find new meanings and opportunities to build their lives from scratch.
Therefore, our main task for the near future will be developing our volunteer centre. In the next three months, this centre will deal with the issue of providing food to those who need it. Together with Gamingtec, we plan to distribute complete weekly food packages to more than 2,000 families monthly. This is a crucial initiative, which we call “Feed those who need”, and we are very grateful to our partners for their support and assistance. We also plan to open a similar volunteer centre in Kyiv.
Moreover, anyone can join the “Feed those who need 2” campaign. Within the framework of which, for only 2000 euros, the partner company can feed 1000-1200 refugees daily with a complete ration of food prepared by professional chefs in a cosy environment. Just 30 companies, for just 2,000 euros, can meet the food needs of 30,000 war-affected refugees and allow them to get used to a new home, arrange their lives, find a job and not worry about basic needs such as food. Can you imagine the level of this problem? Ordinary food has become a real problem for people who had cosy homes, jobs, careers, well-established lives, families and children, schools and kindergartens just a year ago. Today they are forced to survive every day. This is terrible; my soul suffers every day from realising the extent of this injustice…
We really hope and believe that the war will end soon, but we also understand that the problems will not go away, and people will continue to need at least minimal help and care for some more time. Therefore, we are focused on the fruitful work of the fund in 2023 and invite everyone to join us.
Ivan Kravchuk, CEO of Evoplay: Our primary initiatives from within the company are financial support and contributing to the well-being of the community and civil defence efforts to make sure we can protect both our people and our country. We get many requests from our country’s defenders, and our commitment to doing so ensures we can support them in a meaningful and impactful way.
I can’t help but mention that the Evoplay employees went into volunteering from the first days of the war. It again proves that we have not only talented and skilful professionals but people with personal qualities of great value. Later, we launched a number of initiatives, which were actively supported by our employees, from the reconstruction of buildings damaged by the aggressor to the creation of various items for our defence forces.
As for me personally, in addition to my donations within the company, I am in the process of entering a supervisory board for a fund supporting Ukraine. Currently, we are working on its technical side, so stay tuned as I will soon be able to tell you more about it!
Daniel Heywood, CEO of NuxGame: The NuxGame-founded charity, Freedom to Ukraine, provides an outlet for us to directly support the people of Ukraine, together with volunteers from across the world who’ve got involved with the foundation.
We have also donated humanitarian aid to the worst affected regions of Ukraine. In cooperation with global organisations, we provide vital medicines to the Ukrainian military, military hospitals, and medical institutions.
NuxGame plans to continue these efforts by donating more personal protective equipment and gear to the military, medicines, and humanitarian aid, which we feel are important aspects for a Ukrainian victory.
Igor Terebinov, Deputy CEO at PokerMatch: In addition to the main sports area of work, since the first days of the Russian aggression, our company has developed additional areas, such as education and charity. PokerMatch has become a business that unites the poker community to provide prompt assistance to Ukrainians and information support on the European continent. In particular, through communication, the PokerMatch brand spreads truthful information about Ukrainian reality in the international media.
It was crucial for us to be heard and actually urge our foreign colleagues to refuse to cooperate with the aggressor country. Then we had to stop the Russians from playing the game and generally tell the truth about the terrible situation in Ukraine, calling for help.
A month later, we realised that thanks to our business, we had the strength to raise funds to help affected Ukrainians. It started with some of our players voluntarily transferring their winnings to charity, and the company, in turn, donated part of the rake to charity.
Later, we improved the process by developing a detailed plan for charity work: we selected several partner funds whose requests we fulfilled.
The company adds a certain amount to the players’ winnings each time, showing both its solidarity with poker players and its social responsibility. Last year, together with our players, we raised more than 4 million UAH and implemented a number of projects, including the Victory Cup and Ukrainian Glory Cup tournament series.
In general, PokerMatch has set a goal to help within the humanitarian vector. This is directly proportional to the company’s CSR strategy and Charity focus, when help is purposeful and immediate. Therefore, we raise funds for clothes, medicines, food, basic (hygiene) necessities, and household objects.
Ruslan Kravchuk, HR Director, Playson: At first, we gave our people the chance to combine volunteering projects with work and many of them also enrolled in the Kolo project with monthly corporate donations for the past eight months.
We have also regularly transferred humanitarian aid from our hub in Bratislava to Ukraine and have run multiple game tournaments within the company with donation budgets. This way, we could have fun with our latest releases and donate to Ukrainian Armed Forces, local volunteers and other charity organisations.
Finally, we have set up internal fundraising for different causes such as Miracle Season from Playson to kids. We have chosen a volunteering organisation that helps refugee families and their children from occupied and de-occupied territories and helped them buy not only presents before Christmas to more than 100 families, but also necessary clothing/hygiene items.
Evgen Belousov, GR8 Tech CEO: Throughout 2022, our team provided support in so many ways. A number of our employees went to serve in the ranks of the Armed Forces; others volunteered from the first days of the invasion. In 2023, we continue to support the country in difficult times. Specific initiatives and partnerships are still at the discussion stage, but at the level of people and internal activities, we have not stopped for a moment.