Pittsburgh is home to one of the largest Ukrainian populations in the country. Now here for over a century, Ukrainians first arrived in the early 20th century to work on the city’s prominent steel mills. And today, Donetsk — a city in a separatist region of Ukraine — is one of Pittsburgh’s sister cities.
So Pittsburgh, like many other cities with ties to Ukraine, now has its eyes on the growing crisis there. While the United States and its NATO allies have taken steps to sever ties with Russia through sanctions and other economic restraints, local companies and technologists have also made commitments to support Ukraine.
Whether financial or symbolic, that support is likely to increase with the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, and even more so should the crisis expand beyond those two countries. While Pittsburgh’s tech industry doesn’t have too much overlap with the Ukraine tech economy, there remains resounding support for the country here.
To illustrate that, Technical.ly rounded up the support we’ve seen for Ukraine so far. We plan to update the story as more continues.
Pittsburgh Technology Council
Pittsburgh Technology Council partnered with Highmark/Allegheny Health Network, Eden Hall, Giant Eagle, Brother’s Brother Foundation and several other corporate and individual donors to raise funding for relief supplies in Ukraine.
The fund initially set out to raise $250,000 but quickly surpassed that target with the addition of new organizations as donors. That money will go toward airlifting critical supplies like pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, hygiene kits and more to Ukraine refugees through Warsaw and Bucharest.
Brother’s Brother Foundation and the Pittsburgh Technology Council have launched a campaign to raise $250,000 to aid Ukrainian humanitarian relief efforts in partnership with Highmark and the Allegheny Health Network. Read more and how you can help at: https://t.co/Pgtf2v9mdg
— Brother's Brother Foundation (@brothersbf_) March 2, 2022
Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman shared a letter in support of Ukraine on behalf of the community development organization last week. Referencing the high concentration of Ukrainians and Russians in Pittsburgh, she said that Pittsburgh owes its economic prowess to the early work of eastern and central European immigrants who helped build the Steel City. Condemning the violence, Pashman shared resources for donations and relief funds both locally and at the national level.
“We are Pittsburghers,” she wrote. “And, at this moment, we are in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight for the freedoms that have made it possible for all of us to seek and so many here to realize the American Dream.”
"We are bound in many ways to the people of Ukraine," https://t.co/3t9x3v6XsM
— Stefani Pashman (@StefaniPashman) March 10, 2022
Simulation software company Ansys announced that it would make a financial contribution to Doctors Without Borders on behalf of Ukraine in addition to suspending all of its sales transactions and business development consulting activities in Russia and Belarus, the company said in a press release. The Canonsburg-based company did not disclose how much it would contribute or outline any potential future actions in the release.
“Ansys remains committed to the actions of the global community in supporting an end to tragic events continuing to unfold in Ukraine,” the company wrote. “Ansys hopes for a rapid resolution to this crisis and a return to peace.”
Pittsburgh safety tech and manufacturing company MSA Safety announced in a press release that it would donate $400,000 in safety equipment to Ukraine firefighters through a partnership with United Kingdom-based nonprofit FIRE AID. The equipment will include self-contained breathing apparatuses, fire helmets, firefighter protective apparel, fire boots, fire gloves and safety goggles, the company said.
In addition to that donation, MSA Safety is also providing support through humanitarian efforts like the Red Cross.
Amazing to see the donation from @MSAsafety arrive in #Poland for onward transit to #Ukraine️ – this essential fire fighting equipment will arrive in #Ukraine️ later today ❤️🚒🚨👏 @EASSTransport @ImpactUkraine @alfredw24481695 @sera_scot @OpoFlorian @E3DACDON @NFCC_FireChiefs pic.twitter.com/r5Wmjw00Gt
— FIRE AID and International Development (@FIRE_AID_UK) March 11, 2022
Pittsburgh’s beloved language learning tech company Duolingo announced Wednesday that it would donate all ad revenue from its Ukrainian language lessons to support relief efforts.
The company also published a blog post focused on the nuances of the Ukrainian and Russian languages amid the ongoing crisis, and paused its streaks feature for all Ukrainian users, allowing them to preserve their streaks during the chaos until they are able to return to lessons in a safer place.
On Twitter, the company directed its users who speak Ukrainian and other Slavic languages to donate their time to Translators Without Borders, or consider supporting the International Rescue Committee.
Looking to help?
— Duolingo (@duolingo) February 28, 2022
Beyond donations, other prominent members of the Pittsburgh tech community are speaking out and sharing information.
Serial entrepreneur and Pittsburgh Regional Alliance Startup Czar Lynsie Campbell shared a note on her ties to Ukraine in her weekly newsletter, Chirps. Her second startup, LaneSpotter, was built with a team of engineers, project managers and more who were based out of Vynnytsia, Ukraine, a town about 160 miles southwest of Kyiv.
Though Campbell didn’t share any other ties to the country in her current work, she wrote of LaneSpotter that “I did some of my best work when I was working side-by-side (albeit virtually) with this crew. Mostly because they were so very talented. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them as I watch the horrific news coming out of their country.”
My ♥️ has been heavy over the last week. I couldn't write this week without talking about what's happening in Ukraine. I built my 2nd startup with an AMAZING team based in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Meet them in this edition. Plus, the usual newsletter stuff.https://t.co/fyYMxXshss
— Lynsie Campbell 🇺🇦 (@lynsie) March 4, 2022
Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.