Big Ideas for Big Improvements in Ukraine

Launching a year ago a website for Ukraine-based social projects and their potential founders at Big Idea turned out a success. Since January 2012, the platform has collected more than Hr 136,000 from 520 donors for projects that range in health, the environment, art, children and music.
Thus far, eight projects have reached their funding targets. One of them is the Crimean Family Medical Centers project to have several general practitioners provide online consultations to distant villages on the peninsula. The group raised Hr 14, 131 to buy six computers and organize workshops for general practitioners. And Niyas Izmaylov received financing to purchase equipment for special rehabilitation gyms and people who live with disabilities in Dzhankoy, a city in Crimea. He raised about Hr 16,500 to buy two fitness machines and hold training sessions for coaches to help disabled people.
Other projects help benefit filmmakers, fashion designers and musicians. For example, Lviv-born Halyna Shyyan raised money to publish her book about writer DBC Pierre called Lights Out In Wonderland.
The most important thing for me was to stimulate interest in my project and convince people that its a worthy book for the Ukrainian market, Shyyan said during her book presentation in October at Book Arsenal.
The way Big Idea itself operates is rather simple. Everybody is free to like the project and donate some money using the online payment system, as well as a Visa or MasterCard. All the projects indicate their required funding goals and deadline (no more than 100 days). Donations may start at Hr 1 and have gone as high as Hr 6,200.
But project applicants must realize that its an all-or-nothing bargain. If the project turns out to be a success, meaning it reaches its funding goal, it gets the money. In turn, Big Idea retains 2 percent of the money raised for website development. Should a project fail to raise the desired money, the money is returned to donors.
Big Idea co-founders, Iryna Solovey and Oleksandr Suprunets said a sense of cultural and social responsibility motivated them to create the website. Ukrainians are rather generous people, Solovey added. Its more difficult to find potential projects that are important for society.


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