What started out as a group of individuals meeting online has turned into a globally-connected nonprofit dedicated to providing needed wartime supplies to Ukraine.
Connecting through the online chat forum Reddit, Ukraine Front Line, Inc.’s President, Steven Watford, 29, met what became the nonprofit’s board of directors.
Watford, a resident of Sachse, said he met Anders Boyd, Robin Rohrback and Dax Martinez-Vargas and the four agreed to form a grassroots fundraising effort to contribute to Ukrainian troops defending their country from a Russian invasion.
However, Watford said that he was not content with the idea of sending money to a large nonprofit organization that contributed to the widespread aid efforts that began after the Feb. 24 invasion. Ukraine For Life filed for 501(c)3 status with the Internal Revenue Service in April and has held the designation since that month.
“We wanted to be more involved and make a direct impact on Ukraine as opposed to donating to a big charity and hashtagging,” Watford said.
Ukraine Front Line is only made up of volunteers, said Watford, because the other board members have full-time jobs. His journey to learn more about Ukraine and its culture began shortly before the invasion, he added.
When he’s not working on projects related to Ukraine Front Line, Watford is involved with his business, Superior Sanitary Solutions.
While their armed forces were busy defending their homes and way of life, Watford said that he was inspired to take action because of their potential sacrifice.
“That kind of bravery to not give up the freedom they know inspired me to get involved and try and help them,” Watford said.
Their commitment to providing aid has been unyielding, including their most recent capital campaign that included more effort than setting a fundraising goal.
With awareness about the invasion waning nine months later and a decline in donations that started about three months ago, Watford said the nonprofit organized its biggest awareness effort yet.
“This war is still going on,” Watford said. “It’s still a war, even though we get some good news every now and again.”
For the full story, see the Nov. 30 issue of The Wylie News.