Anna gulevska-Chernysh: “charity is a natural evolution”

— Anna, tell us how he started the charity in modern Ukraine?

In 1998 was adopted the first law on charity. Before this there were only laws on public organizations and have officially registered only social organization. The initiative in this direction was given to the representative office of the international charitable organizations and funds — “Nadiya I Zhytlo for kids”, “Hristianskij children’s world Fund”, “Cogny ditin”. This powerful European organization that dealt and still deal with problems of orphans, disadvantaged children and their protection. In 2004-2006, Ukraine began the growth of the economy and began to create the first corporate private funds: the Fund of Rinat Akhmetov, Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Klitschko brothers Foundation, and others. They launched a new direction — private and corporate philanthropy, began a more focused and systematic approach to solving a particular problem.

— Have organizations and foundations to experience a crisis of confidence on the part of the people?

— The issue of trust is a key in our society. The level of trust to charity and charitable organizations in Ukraine have not always been high. Until recent years it was difficult to find information on the activities of the funds, few of them were transparent and accountable to the public, published reports on their activities. Those funds that came to work for a long time, understand that their statements must be constant. There is a national charity where all offer to open their sites for reporting. Only openness allows funds to collect public funds.

— We know about problems in the interaction between the state and charities. This is an isolated situation and, unfortunately, the standard?

— For those charities and foundations that solve problems at the state level, interaction with the authorities, of course, very important. Sometimes officials work quickly and efficiently, and sometimes are in a state of stupor. Then everything stops, and to establish a dialogue impossible. Officials ignore the offers from charitable organizations to improve the legal framework on humanitarian assistance. We have a situation where everything depends on the official, from a person, from the person who heads a particular public authority. If he is willing to cooperate, and its structure works. If the head is not necessary, his statement neglects the public sector. But the government should understand that the partnership with the charitable sector will have pros and benefits. The work of the state systems will be much more effective if it is combined with the efforts of charitable organizations.


  • Fraudsters, on behalf of the Governor of Odessa region ask entrepreneurs the money to charity

Sometimes officials tried to initiate cooperation, but faced with the lack of professionalism of public organizations. The representatives of the state, of course, has no desire to work with Amateurs, that is, the incompetence of units may influence the attitude to an entire sector. So I’m glad very active lawyers of the Foundation on the development of proposals for humanitarian aid, was actively involved in recent years in work on the draft laws on charity, tax exemption of injured citizens, and the families of immigrants. When involved professional lawyers, immediately see a positive result of such cooperation.

— How do you assess the activities of Rinat Akhmetov in peacetime and in today’s war on Donbass?

In my opinion, Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation has brought about quite important things in the development of Ukraine. Before the war — one of the most systemic assets, which have implemented programs, projects, efforts to solve current problems and situations and elimination of their root causes, changing the system and quality of life in the country. With the beginning of the war the priorities were different. Today it is the largest Fund, which provides humanitarian assistance to people affected by hostilities in the East of Ukraine. This is necessary work, which the state today is unable to perform in full. I want to believe that when the war ends, the Fund will return to their projects and be a leader not only in humanitarian aid, but in General, in charity, as it was before the war.

— How do the military actions in the Donbass will affect the work of charitable organizations?

— You need to give that some large private foundations have not reduced the amount of work, and even increased them in connection with the humanitarian catastrophe in the Donbas. Others have reduced or cut their programs. With the deterioration of the business situation has closed many banks and charity funds that were in these banks. But while new foundations — private, family. I think there is such a natural evolution. One leave — others come. They have new looks, trends, approaches and understanding of its transparency, accountability, and that’s good. But it is important that the funds that exist for a long time, continued to show and transmit your best experience.

— Can we say that people who have long receive humanitarian aid, get used to it and perceive it as a permanent duty of the state? Does charity to the emergence of dependants?

We can’t say that about everyone. In the prewar period we talked a lot about, for example, orphans who are brought up in boarding schools. While there, they become dependent and believe that the state has an obligation to all of them. They make no effort to independently build their life. From residential systems to leave and is actively engaged in this Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation and several foundations. Humanitarian aid a similar situation. There are those who can’t take care of himself. And there are others who use the situation can work, but begin to parasitize on assistance and not looking for a new place in life. Today, many charitable organizations implement programs of vocational guidance and personal growth of man, that he developed the skills of independent life.

— Are there any peculiarities in Ukrainian philanthropy compared to other countries?

— Today — Yes. Our specificity is that during the years of military conflict has changed the meaning of the words “volunteer” and “volunteering”. I believe volunteering is one of the types of charity you give is not money, but time, resources, personal skills, expertise — what is sometimes more important than money. We volunteer — the one who saves the day a country makes reforms, trying to change lives for the better. And all the world volunteer is a person who cleans the forest or cares for the grandparents, or playing, doing crafts with children in hospitals. In Ukraine today, the term “volunteer” for individual involvement much higher than in the West. This is one of the major changes that have occurred over the last couple of years. And that’s good, because it makes people to think about their role in history and take responsibility for their lives.