HawkEye 360 and the National Security Space Association (NSSA) have launched a joint initiative to send humanitarian aid from space industry donors to Ukraine. The campaign, called Space Industry for Ukraine, is raising money from space companies to donate to organizations supporting Ukrainian refugees and victims of war on the ground. Payload caught up with HawkEye 360 CEO John Serafini to hear more about how the initiative took shape.
Seeing it firsthand: Serafini traveled to the border of Poland and Ukraine to volunteer with humanitarian groups after Russia’s invasion because he felt he could not sit by and watch the news anymore. At the border, Serafini said he witnessed the dichotomy between the worst and the best of humankind—the tragedy and tolls of war juxtaposed with the kindness and generosity of those who came to help.
On the ground in Poland, Serafini was “overwhelmed by the tragedy and the realization that fellow human beings could be put into such a situation, with recognition that at any point in time, any of us can be in a similar horrific experience.”Serafini said he saw firsthand what the humanitarian groups needed to continue providing aid. The foremost need: money.
Serafini, returning home and determined to help, reached out to Steve Jacques, executive director and founder of NSSA. From there, a plan was put into motion.
Space Industry For Ukraine
HawkEye 360 and NSSA began by reaching out to space companies two weeks ago and asking for a one-time $50,000 pledge. The money raised will be donated directly to humanitarian groups and NGOs actively working in and around Ukraine.
So far, ABL Space Systems, ARKA, BlackSky, Capella Space, ICEYE, Insight Partners, Leidos, LeoLabs, Maxar, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Rebellion Defense, Relativity Space, Riverside Research, Rocket Lab, Velos, Viasat, The Aerospace Corporation, Cognitive Space and Shield Capital have pledged at least $50,000 each to the cause.
- Most contributors will be involved in choosing which NGOs receive the funds.
- Save Our Allies, Spirit of America, the Lions Club, and IREX are among the NGO recipients that have already been named. The group plans to select more.
- While evaluating recipients, “we’re focused on food and we’re focused on medical supplies,” said Serafini. “We’re focused on clothing, we’re focused on getting people out and providing medical care and housing,” rather than military aid.
So far…the initiative has raised nearly $1M. The organizers are still accepting contributions.