Government tech companies are getting involved in the effort to send aid to Ukraine via a new effort organized by a civic engagement consultant who left the country in 2002.
Born in the Soviet Union and having lived in both Russia and Ukraine, Irina Fursman is the founder of Global Synergy Group (GSG) – a Minnesota-based consulting firm that works to build local and regional civic space in his native country.
Now, she has brought together government technology companies such as Envisio, FlashVote, HdL Companies, Balancing Act, Government Leadership Solutions, HueLife and Citibot for the donation campaign called “Stand with Ukraine” on the GSG website.
Fursman says his goal is to raise $100,000 from the government tech community. As of Thursday evening, $22,000 had been raised towards this goal. Overall, GSG has raised $43,000 since Feb. 27, she said. Eventually, the funds could be used to help refugees in Poland.
The war has already forced local and state governments to at least consider the possibility of further cyberattacks from Russia and how to combat disinformation stemming from the conflict.
But Fursman responds to more immediate and fundamental needs.
She said Government Technology that the idea is to send money to people in Ukraine who can then use the funds for humanitarian aid. This includes items such as food, clothing and fuel as Russia continues to push its invasion.
She noted reports that the Russian military abducted or injured mayors and municipal officials during the war, adding an extra sense of urgency to her mission. After all, his work with GSG has involved nonprofit, pro bono training of people in local government, schools and police departments.
“We now have a network of these people in Ukraine, a new generation who have stepped into formal leadership roles,” said Fursman, who also owns consulting firm HueLife.
These are the “real people on the ground” who send requests for assistance to Fursman, she said.
She then determines where to send the donated money based on two main factors about the person asking for help: the ability to do the job and – as is the cold reality in a war zone – whether that person stays in touch. She said she sends “small amounts” of money for each request, up to $2,500.
Fursman and her husband Richard have built a positive reputation among leaders of government technology companies, executives said. That’s helping him with the donation push, which is expected to last at least two more weeks, perhaps attracting more companies willing to invest their own money.
“Irina Fursman and her for-profit company, HueLife, are longtime partners and friends of Envisio,” said Elizabeth Steward, vice president of marketing for scheduling software provider Envisio. Government Technology through an email interview. “Many of our team know Irina personally and have a deep respect for her commitment to civic engagement, her passion for community development and her ability to make things happen.”
Executives from companies working with Fursman said they help because it can be hard to sit still and watch war footage on TV — not a wish for positive PR or because of future projects expansion in Ukraine.
“We would like to be part of a collaborative effort with our government technology companies to help these people in Ukraine be the heroes they are and survive,” wrote Bratton Riley, co-founder and CEO of the technology provider. Citibot Pledge, in an email. “I feel like a lot of us feel so horrified by what’s going on, and we want to do something to help these brave people on their pitch.”
That’s not to say government tech executives haven’t considered the longer-term implications of these donations and their help, at least according to Chris Adams, president of Balancing Act, which sells simulation tools. budget for civil servants.
In fact, the way he described his outlook would seem to reinforce the larger, pre-war goals of the GSG.
“In the immediate term, we hope the money raised by the government technology community will help alleviate human suffering,” Adams wrote in an email. “Longer term, as the Ukrainian people begin to rebuild, the gov tech community will support their efforts toward good governance focused on more mundane tasks, like budgeting.”
As for Fursman, who sends money every day to recipients in Ukraine, she said no donation is too small, especially as basic daily needs have become hard to come by for many citizens. from this country.
“Twenty dollars can be enough for a day’s worth of food,” she said.
Government Technology is a sister site of Governing. Both are divisions of e.Republic.