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From body armor to weapons: "Come Back Alive" turns 10

On May 10, 2024, the “Come Back Alive” Foundation for Competent Assistance to the Army celebrated its 10th anniversary.

On May 10, 2014, the co-founder of the Foundation, Vitaliy Deynega, wrote the first post on social media calling for donations to help raise funds to purchase bulletproof vests for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Soon after, volunteers delivered the equipment to the military – they drew the Herald of Ukraine on the vests and wrote “Come back alive”.

Since then, philanthropists have donated more than UAH 11 billion to the organization to help the Ukrainian Defense Forces. Of this amount, 281.6 million was donated from spring 2014 to February 24, 2022. In total, the Foundation received almost 3.5 million donations from more than 90 countries. The average donation amount is UAH 3,346.

With these funds, Come Back Alive has provided more than 650 units of the Defense Forces with equipment, including drones, optics, power, communications, and even weapons.

Over the past 10 years, the Foundation has purchased for the army:

  • 4,282 pieces of weapons, including 1,660 machine guns, 586 mortars, and 2,036 grenade launchers;
  • 9,504 units of thermal imaging and night optics;
  • 1,801 optical sights;
  • 17,819 tablets;
  • 35,192 radios;
  • 10 maintenance workshops;
  • 11 armored vehicles;
  • 1489 new pickup trucks;
  • 24,380 FPV drones;
  • 9997 copters;
  • 11 PD-2 reconnaissance systems;
  • 28 unmanned aerial systems Leleka-100;
  • 36 Shark unmanned aerial systems;
  • Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle system.

As of April 2024, Come Back Alive employs 118 people. The team implements about 50 charitable projects a year.

The Foundation’s instructors in UAVs, sniping, tactical medicine, sapperry, and digital artillery have trained more than 10,000 highly qualified military specialists. And the managers of the military department drive about 80 thousand kilometers along the frontline roads every quarter.

“Come Back Alive” has transparent public reporting. Every benefactor can track where the Foundation spends its money on the website.

“One of the main achievements of “Come Back Alive” is the transformation from a chaotic association of people who cared in 2014 to a powerful, independent, self-sufficient institution in 2023,” says Taras Chmut, director of “Come Back Alive.” “This was achieved through transparent public reporting, open communication, apolitical approach, effective partnership building, trust and support of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians. The future of the Foundation depends on the course of the war. I hope that in any scenario, there will be a place for the organization, its projects and activities aimed at strengthening the country’s defense capabilities.”

Since its first day of operation, Come Back Alive has never taken a percentage of the total amount raised to cover administrative expenses. Fundraising for the Defense Forces and fundraising for office rent and staff salaries are completely separate. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Foundation told 10 stories of people from the team who usually stay behind the scenes, and is raising UAH 10 million for administrative expenses.

On Saturday, May 11, at 18:00, Come Back Alive will hold a 10th anniversary stream on YouTube and Facebook with the participation of team members and co-founders of the Foundation.

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