In February 2023, the global refugee initiative Tech For Refugees announced an invaluable $6 million donation to the shipping aid organization Flexport.org. Tech For Refugees’ new grant will allow Flexport.org to deliver relief supplies to refugees from Pakistan, Ukraine, and the Horn of Africa.
The funding will also benefit people in global crisis zones, such as those affected by the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.
Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner and his wife Julia launched Tech For Refugees in 2022. The tech-driven initiative receives funding from the Milners’ Breakthrough Prize Foundation.
The couple founded the philanthropic organization after making their Giving Pledge, which saw them promise to donate a large portion of their lifetime wealth to charitable, primarily scientific causes.
Flexportorg: Supplying Help To Humanity
Delivering aid to disaster areas is a complex process. Visibility and communication are often barriers for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), non-profits, and aid organizations. But Flexport.org is helping fix the broken shipping aid model.
Flexport.org is the impact arm of the supply chain management company Flexport. The non-profit helps humanitarian organizations deliver global aid and donate unused goods through its global logistics platform.
Flexport.org works with partners like Save the Children, UNICEF, and Nova Ukraine. The initiative has helped more than 450 organizations with their logistics and shipping. On average, Flexport.org helps organizations save 20-25% on the cost of shipping aid, freeing more resources to help those in need.
The organization also helps its partners meet their sustainability goals. So far, Flexport.org has offset more than 350,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted from transportation.
The $6 million donation from Tech For Refugees will be key to Flexport.org’s mission. Other individuals and organizations can also donate to the Flexport.org fund to help ship life-saving aid locally and globally.
Tech For Refugees’ Partnership With Flexport.org
Tech For Refugees and Flexport.org first joined forces in April 2022 and announced an initial $8 million grant in October. The grant has enabled Flexport.org to deliver 116 full shipments of humanitarian aid worth $50 million. Through partnerships with 25 aid organizations, the shipments have helped 4 million refugees.
Flexport.org Ukraine Program
Flexport.org and Tech For Refugees’ Ukraine program has delivered 80 shipments containing $30 million of aid to 2 million displaced Ukrainians. This aid includes:
- Medical supplies, like ambulances and hospital beds.
- Essential items like “dignity kits.” these kits help families in challenging conditions sustain hygiene, health, and personal safety.
Flexportorg Horn Of Africa Program
The war in Ukraine has impacted global food supplies, resulting in delayed grain deliveries intended for the Horn of Africa. Thanks to the grant announced in October 2022, Tech For Refugees and Flexport.org have delivered 16 full shipments to a million people in the region.
The Horn of Africa relief operations started in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Chad. Flexport.org’s NGO partners on the ground also highlighted Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as countries in need. This led Flexport.org to extend the program to these areas.
The shipments contained $10 million of aid and included Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). RUTF is a food aid that prevents severe malnutrition and can save the lives of young children.
Flexport.org Pakistan Program
The two organizations have also delivered $10 million of aid for a million people in Pakistan. Catastrophic flooding engulfed the region in the summer and fall of 2022. As a result, the deliveries involved complex movements of cargo by air.
The program focused on supplies to build shelters for Afghan refugees fleeing to Pakistan. Other supplies included:
- Solar lamps.
- Personal hygiene kits.
- Water sterilization kits.
- Clean birthing kits.
- Kitchen sets.
Tech For Refugees: Funding Humanitarian Efforts Through Technology
Flexport.org is one of several tech organizations that Tech For Refugees funds to support refugees. Tech For Refugees’ partners include:
- The international rescue committee (irc).
Tech For Refugees believes in the power of technology to accelerate global relief efforts. Tech companies have valuable skills in organizing the complicated logistics of aid delivery.
Technology can also improve refugees’ quality of life. According to the Financial Times, refugees spend around a third of their disposable income on connectivity. From contacting loved ones to seeking employment, refugees often prioritize communication over medicine or clothing.
A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report highlights connectivity as a crucial issue for refugees. Good connectivity requires:
- A Continuous Electricity Supply
- Reliable Internet
- Access To Smartphones
- Affordable Data Plans
Technology can make a difference in many other areas of humanitarian aid, including.
- Host And Housing Networks
There are many more ways in which innovative tech organizations can impact the lives of refugees. Tech For Refugees encourages interested tech companies and non-profits to become initiative partners.
Supporting Science: Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Prize Foundation
Yuri Milner’s breakthrough prize foundation funds tech for refugees this is one of the various science philanthropy and humanitarian projects that the breakthrough prize foundation supports these projects include.
- The Breakthrough Prize
- The Breakthrough Junior Challenge
- The Breakthrough Initiatives
These projects represent the milners’ dedication to their giving pledge promise.
The Breakthrough Prize
Dubbed the “Oscars of Science,” the Breakthrough Prize is the world’s largest scientific award. Each year, the Breakthrough Prize grants $3 million to researchers who have made advancements in three categories: Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Mathematics.
The 2023 Breakthrough Prize ceremony recently took place in Hollywood. The event welcomed renowned tech figures and A-list celebrities, alongside scientists and mathematicians.
The Milners founded the breakthrough prize in partnership with Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg, and Anne Wojcicki.
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge
In 2015, Julia and Yuri Milner created the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. The video competition is open to high school students around the world. To enter, teenagers must make short videos that creatively explain a high-level scientific concept.
Each year, the winner receives a $250,000 college scholarship. A teacher who inspired them receives $50,000. And the winner’s school receives a modern science lab worth $100,000.
The Breakthrough Initiatives
The Breakthrough Initiatives are a series of multi-million-dollar astronomical and space engineering programs. The Initiatives seek answers to significant questions about life in the Universe.
In july 2015, yuri milner and stephen hawking launched breakthrough listen the $100 million program has reinvigorated the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (seti) in april 2016, mark zuckerberg joined the duo to found breakthrough starshot this $100 million program is developing technology for interstellar travel.
The other breakthrough initiatives — watch, message, and discuss — then followed.
The breakthrough prize foundation has committed $6 million to support ukrainian science, including.
- A $1 million donation to a U.S. National Academy of Sciences initiative. The initiative is helping displaced Ukrainian researchers continue their work after relocation.
- $3 million to a high-level group of international scientific organizations. The group is taking steps to support Ukraine’s scientists and research community.
- A $1.5 million donation to ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities. Through this donation, European academic institutions are distributing funds to affected scientists.
- A donation of $800,000 AUD to the Australian Academy of Sciences. The donation supports the academy’s work assisting Ukrainian scientists through research collaborations. The academy also helps Ukrainian scientists access Australian infrastructure and facilities.
In 2023, julia and yuri milner announced that the breakthrough prize foundation would commit $25 million to support cern science gateway.
Delivering Aid And Changing Lives
So far, the Flexport.org and Tech For Refugees partnership has made a significant global impact. The new $6 million grant from Tech For Refugees will bring humanitarian relief to even more refugees and displaced people worldwide.
Yuri Milner has called Flexport.org’s efforts “truly impressive.” He and Julia are looking forward to seeing Flexport.org continue its work in the next phase of the program.
Kristen Dohnt, head of Flexport.org, says the additional donation will enable the initiative to redouble its efforts. With Tech For Refugees’ grant, Flexport.org can “bring vital assistance to many more lives.”
Learn more about Tech For refugees’ humanitarian aid programs.
About Yuri Milner
Yuri Milner is a tech investor, entrepreneur, and science philanthropist. He started his career as a theoretical physicist and later decided to pursue a business degree at the Wharton School of Business, Philadelphia. Yuri Milner went on to found the internet investment company DST Global.
The firm’s portfolio has included internet giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Milner’s passion for science led him to sign the Giving Pledge with his wife in 2012. In doing so, the Milners vowed to support fundamental science and scientists. They fulfilled this pledge by launching a plethora of philanthropic, science-focused initiatives.
The Giving Pledge is a philanthropic movement by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.
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