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Artem Borodatiuk and My City

Transforming communities even amid war

A crowdfunding NGO supports and educates local activists

“It was about ten years ago that I realised that doing business alone was not enough. I wanted to do more. I wanted to help make Ukraine a better place to live,” says Artem Borodatiuk, founder of the My City platform that facilitates the development of social projects in southern Ukraine. 

A businessman and entrepreneur, Artem is the founder of Netpeak Group, a group of IT companies that includes 24 businesses, 3 non-profit corporations, employing over 1,400 professionals worldwide.

He founded My City platform in 2015 as a crowdfunding NGO to help implement social projects and supports local changemakers. Over the past nine years, it has been at the forefront of community transformations in both Odesa and Kharkiv helping activists and community leaders launch socially-oriented projects through training and publicity. To date, My City has helped raise nearly 1.2 million Euros for almost 200 social initiatives. 

“Our mission is to educate people and help them  launch their community initiatives,” Artem explains, “We hope to encourage everyone to take on more social responsibility so people will be willing to act and run community projects.”

Now Artem wants to expand across Ukraine. “My dream is to see every Ukrainian volunteer at least once in their life. I want to see a nation of engaged citizens everywhere,” he says.

Entrepreneurship meets social responsibility

Artem believes that it was the experience of the Revolution of Dignity ten years ago that unified Ukrainian society and catapulted many community leaders into more prominent roles across the country. My City emerged from Artem’s desire to think of ways to enable the rapid transformation of Ukraine – as well as to stimulate more volunteering and civic engagement. 

“We started My City with the idea that Ukrainians can take responsibility for addressing the problems they face. This is about social maturity and responsibility. We wanted to give people a space to express their ideas and enable them to realise them – so they could transform their communities and cities, and learn together,” he says.

Artem explains that crowdfunding and civic engagement were not as common in Ukraine ten years ago as they are today, although civil society was growing fast. Artem and his team wanted to support this and to help activists advocate for changes, get funding, and multiply social engagement. 

“We wanted to find people who were willing to create things, donate, and who were willing to work and volunteer,” he explains. 

My City emerged as a digital platform that promoted different social projects proposed by local people in Odesa. The team provided training and expertise for community activists, helping them develop plans to implement their ideas, helping them identify and solve potential challenges, and they provided communications support. 

One focus of My City has been to support inclusivity projects that help make Ukraine more accessible, projects to help children with disabilities. It has also helped raise funds for animal shelters. 

Almost 16,000 people have contributed to these projects through the My City platform, by initiating them, promoting them, or donating. 

Social change despite the war

Artem acknowledges that the 2022 Russian full-scale invasion had a profound impact on everyone in Ukraine – including the people behind My City. During the initial period of the full-scale war, the team focused on humanitarian support, but today there is an increasing demand for social projects from across the country. 

Funding is a significant issue, due to the war. There is also a need to train more activists and community leaders as well as involve entrepreneurs in social projects – as there is a big push for change that keeps on growing. 

EED funding has helped My City support core costs, including the salaries of its 20 staff members during this difficult period.

“Civil society has developed significantly over the last few years,” Artem says, “Ukraine took second place in the World Giving Index 2023 ranking. I am happy to see a lot of cooperation between businesses and civil society organisations. As a team, we are working every day to strengthen this relationship.”

Artem hopes for My City may become a reference on how to implement a social project and promote it, and he wants to broaden the community potential of changemakers, who can network and develop.” 

“Civil engagement is our way to become more modern and competent. This will give us new leaders for the country so it can function efficiently. We see a lot of wonderful projects, but I want the society to demand even more,” he says.

Among some of the recent projects is an initiative to audit Ukrainian cities on their accessibility - such as supporting experts with disabilities who are analysing how barrier-free different regions are. Another project which received support thanks to My City is called “Unbreakable Forever”, which is educating Ukrainians about their history through interactive stories linked to their cities. My City also supported a project providing citizens of Kherson with a community place to keep warm and safe during bombings, which continue on a daily basis.

My City’s ambition is to pass expertise to thousands of other organizations so they, too can crowdfund and realize community initiatives. “The team is known for being realistic and finishing the projects no matter what, and it aims to help others achieve that,” says Artem. 

He believes that over the past nine years, they have made a difference. “We’ve been able to carry out many important projects and their effect multiplies. We can see our work has had an impact throughout Ukraine,” he says.  

This initiative was supported thanks to the contribution of the European Commission to EED.

This article reflects the views of the grantees featured and does not necessarily represent the official opinion of the EED.