This charity sends VC money to families in need in Ukraine

A New York-based tech industry charity called 1K has collected millions in donations to send directly to needy families in Ukraine.

The charity says it has raised more than $5 million from individuals, startups and venture capitalists, all of whom have provided financial support to some 5,000 Ukrainian families.

1K was founded by Ukrainian-born entrepreneur and VC Alex Iskold and Chrysi Philalithes, who leads digital outreach at the AIDS organization (RED)† 1K works through a number of refugee organizations in Ukraine and Europe to find and screen the families most in need. Families can also request help directly from 1K. The charity mainly wants to help single mothers of several children. Iskold says in many cases mothers flee the country with their children, while the men are forced to stay in Ukraine.

Philathes says a $1,000 (“1K”) donation can help a family of three to four people buy necessities such as food, clothing and shelter for a month.

Last month 1K started a new campaign called Ukraine Startups, which it says is “a call to showcase the collective strength of the entrepreneurial community.” It appealed to a thousand startups and VCs and asked each to donate $10,000 to fund 10 families. So far, the campaign has raised more than $1 million of the $5 million raised in total by 1K, the charity says.

Countless startups from early to late have donated to charity. And 1K’s backers also include some big names in tech investment circles. These include investors like Fred Wilson and Om Malik, and VCs like NEA, First Mark, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer, and others. The VC GSV and the University of Arizona also teamed up to raise $130,000 for the 1K cause.

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Away co-founder Jennifer Rubio said Thursday that they will double all personal donations to $2.5 million for the next 48 hours until 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, May 14.

The war rages on in Ukraine and more humanitarian aid is needed. For its part, however, 1K’s move to help the tech industry seems to be picking up steam.

“I know this community very well,” Iskold says. “Twitter is overflowing with support. Everyone knows about this.”