Thursday, May 26, 2022
Last month, an article in Fortune noted that Ukraine so far has received more than 600 grants totaling almost $900 million. The article’s source for this information is Candid, an information services company specializing in nonprofits. In fact, Candid provides updates on a Philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine page as donations are made. The article stated that charities, such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, the IKEA Foundation, and the American Red Cross have donated $25 million, $22 million, and $12 million, respectively. Celebrities and others have also made large donations to Ukraine. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donated $1 million to Ukrainian refugees through the United Nations refugee agency in late February. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings donated $1 million to Razom, a 501(c)(3) aiding Ukraine. Other celebrity donors have raised significant sums for Ukraine, including Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis who raised over $30 million and Bethenny Frankel —a former Real Housewives of New York star who raised $85 million for Ukraine.
The article also references Congress’ approval of The Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 in March, which provides $13.6 billion in emergency funding, which includes $3.5 billion for military supplies alone.
The author notes that these figures raise the question of how much the war is costing Ukraine. According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine is spending approximately $4 billion each day on war. Russia’s war expenses are believed to be over $20 billion per day according to Consultancy.org.
Clearly, Ukraine needs any funds that are donated to end up in the hands of those charities that will put them to their best possible use. I have written about the need for efficiency in terms of charitable giving (an "efficient charitable market"), and this issue is brought into sharp focus in considering the current plight of Ukraine. The need for transparency is brought into sharp focus as well. Organizations such as Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance are helping donors find appropriate relief efforts. Charity Navigator has compiled a list of top nonprofits seeking to advance relief and recovery efforts in Ukraine. CNBC recently published a list of over 30 organizations that are highly-rated in terms of financial efficiency and transparency by category.
Hoffman Fuller Associate Profesor of Tax Law
Tulane Law School