After the Russian invasion, Assist Ukraine was formed by Anne Garrels, a long-time correspondent for National Public Radio and author of Putin Country, Heinz Coordes, a Vietnam fighter pilot who was awarded the Silver Star, Art Davidson, an author and businessman who organized relief for orphans of the Iraq war, and Irka Tkaczuk, a Ukrainian-American advocate.
From the outset, the four founders of Assist Ukraine have followed three operating principles:
1. To make sure that what we supply is truly needed, we would respond to the priorities of Ukrainians on the front lines;
2. To make sure every shipment of supplies reaches the people who need them as quickly as possible, all critical materials are couriered to their intended destination;
3. To make sure every cent of every donation is used to purchase needed supplies, we personally cover all transportation, resourcing, logistics, and other overhead costs.
Assist Ukraine was initially a short-term project of the founders. It was operated in conjunction with Families Assisting Families, an Alaska Nonprofit Corporation, and with the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), a 501(c)(3) organization, serving as a fiscal sponsor. As the war in Ukraine extend long past our expectations, and the need for life-saving charitable support grew, the founders decided to incorporate a new Alaska nonprofit corporation, Assist Ukraine. This new nonprofit corporation is in the process of applying for its 501(c)(3) status.