These Stanford MBAs Are Raising Funds To Bring Emergency Supplies To Ukraine

Ukraine’s health system is buckling under the weight of Russia’s invasion. Two Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA students have decided they can’t sit by and watch any longer.

Millions have suffered since Russia attacked Ukraine in February, and tens of millions remain in “potential danger of death,” according to the United Nations. Nearly every second that passes, a Ukrainian child becomes a refugee. With hospitals a frequent target for attack, emergency medical care is limited and sporadic.

Thousands of Ukraininans are fleeing conflict in the east in hopes of finding a safe haven – in other European countries and internally in Kryvyi Rih, a Ukrainian city of just under 650,000 people. But the city is struggling to provide necessary medical support for its refugees.


Andrei Molychynsky

Andrei Molychynsky, a former corporate lawyer and current Ukrainian-Canadian Stanford GSB student, was looking for ways to help his home country. As the co-president of the Ukrainian Student Association at Stanford, Molychynsky has been part of a few humanitarian relief efforts: The association has arranged for the delivery of tons of medical supplies to Europe to help Ukrainian refugees, including over 600,000 doses of insulin. It has also launched a platform, TeleHelp Ukraine, to provide free and secure access to online physical and mental health consultations, and created a Don’t Fund War online resource to bring transparency to businesses continuing to finance Russia.

“Unfortunately, I believe this war will last a few more months, if not years,” Molychynsky says. “Every inch of Ukrainian soil is now drenched in blood.”

But knowing that his family was still in Ukraine spurred him to do more.

“The Ukrainian people are doing the heavy lifting,” he says. “We’re just helping them.”


Alex Clark

Alex Clark, former U.S. Army infantry officer and another current Stanford GSB student, also wanted to support those on the frontlines in Ukraine. “It felt weird to be in business school when all of this conflict was happening,” he says.

When Clark and Molychynsky met over “stiff drinks and cigars,” Clark had an idea. “I thought, ‘How can I help do something with Andrei that could potentially have more impact than me just doing something on my own?’” he says.

“What Alex brought to the table was another network we could unlock,” says Molchynsky. “There’s no better place than Stanford to experiment and meet like-minded individuals.”

Soon after meeting, Clark and Molychynsky received an urgent cry for help from a Ukrainian contact; those on the frontlines needed things like ambulances and encrypted communication devices to help with evacuations and communication with rescue personnel. They took no time to spring into action.

“It’s important that people remember that nothing has changed, only the media coverage,” adds Molychynsky. “There’s a lot of focus on the east and what’s going on around Kiev, but other cities are still being shelled.”


Quickly, the pair developed an initiative called Project Independence Day. The goal: deliver four ambulances and 80 radios to those on the ground in Kryvyi Rih.

The plan is to raise capital by August 1. Then, they’ll initiate the purchase of equipment – stateside and internationally – by August 15. Next, they’ll travel across Europe with supplies and enter Ukraine on August 24 – the country’s Independence Day. “It’s too early to tell the exact details of the route,” says Molchynsky. “The situation on the ground in Ukraine is very dynamic. It was made public that there will be some serious escalation of conflict where we’re headed. Our travel arrangements need to be flexible.”

But in order to make the mission possible, the team has to raise $100k — 60% of which will be used to fund the vehicles, and the rest which will be used for digital communications equipment. “We have people and suppliers all lined up,” says Molchynsky. “Now we just need funds.”


In order to raise the required capital, they’re working with two partner organizations: USAS and UFF (Ukrainian Freedom Fund).

To date, USAS has helped raise $2.7M in cash and $3.5M in medical supplies to fund its humanitarian relief efforts. UFF has helped to collect $1M in cash to fund its campaigns.

Clark says that there are three types of donors they’re mostly reaching out to: retail donors, organizations, and high net worth individuals. But they also wanted to target the individuals that want to support Ukrainians and haven’t yet, despite it being over 100 days since the war broke out.

“The whole point of this is to unlock every possible pocket of support,” adds Molychynsky.


As the pair spread the word about the initiative, they were approached by two veteran students who wanted to help: Brian Bui, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and Jonathan Klein, a master’s in global security policy student from Johns Hopkins University.

When Bui called Clark saying that he and Klein wanted to help with the initiative, he had one condition: To join on the ground in Ukraine. “They felt the urge not only to support monetarily with donations, but to also add muscle with moving ambulances to Ukraine,” explains Clark.

“These days, not everyone is willing to go to what is essentially a war zone,” adds Molychynsky. “The fact that they’re willing to change their summer plans and do that is amazing.”

They also have Sierra Duren on the team, a Stanford staff member who is helping them to cover social media posts which will document the journey to Ukraine, from start to end.


Project Independence Day will require both Clark and Molychynsky to shorten their summer internships. According to them, both their employers and the GSB have supported this decision. They plan on being back in the U.S. in time for their fall semester, which begins late September. Both candidates will graduate in 2023.

When asked how Poets&Quants readers can support Project Independence Day, Molychynsky replied, “please spread the word.”

“If you cannot donate, just spread the word,” he continues. “Don’t forget that there is a full-scale war happening in Europe right now.”

The team is also open to in-kind donations of humanitarian assistance supplies that they can take with them on the plane to Europe. All donations are tax deductible in the US.


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