As of 2023, millions of people around the world are displaced, seeking asylum in other countries, or otherwise living in crisis. Many global organizations like Flexport.org and Welcome.US use technology to improve these people’s lives. The non-profit initiative Tech For Refugees supports organizations like these with transformative funding.
The brain behind Tech For Refugees is Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner. Besides founding Tech For Refugees, Yuri Milner has founded the Breakthrough Prize and the Breakthrough Initiatives. He is also a Giving Pledge signatory and has written a short book: Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilization.
About Tech For Refugees’ Founders
Yuri Milner and his wife Julia established Tech For Refugees in spring 2022 in response to the war in Ukraine. Since October 2022, the initiative has expanded to support individuals affected by crises in other countries, too.
Besides supporting humanitarian causes, the Milners are prolific science philanthropists. The couple joined the Giving Pledge over 10 years ago. Their Giving Pledge commitment focuses on donating to chiefly scientific causes.
Yuri Milner is also the author of Eureka Manifesto (2021). Available to download or read online for free, Eureka Manifesto discusses humanity’s place in the Universe. Eureka Manifesto advocates for investing in science to drive progress as a global civilization.
The Breakthrough Foundation
The Milners created the Breakthrough Foundation to satisfy their Giving Pledge. The Foundation funds:
- Tech For Refugees.
- The Breakthrough Prize.
- The Breakthrough Junior Challenge.
- The Breakthrough Initiatives.
The Breakthrough Prize celebrates great scientific achievements by leading researchers. Each year, the Breakthrough Prize hands out multiple $3 million prizes. Meanwhile, the annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge — a science video competition for teenagers everywhere — also offers winners impressive prizes.
The Breakthrough Initiatives are science programs that investigate the big questions of life in the Universe. For instance, Breakthrough Listen — the first Breakthrough Initiative — is searching for evidence of extraterrestrial signals.
How Tech For Refugees’ Programs Support People in Crisis
Tech For Refugees collaborates with many tech partners to facilitate programs that support people in crisis, such as:
- The Airbnb.org, Flexport.org, Spotify Ukraine program. The three organizations partnered with Tech For Refugees to offer Ukrainian refugees free housing, aid deliveries, and entertainment through this joint program.
- The Airbnb.org Ukraine program. Airbnb.org granted free, secure refuge to around 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine. More than 33,000 Hosts from 90 countries took part in the program.
- The Flexport.org Ukraine program. Flexport.org sent hundreds of shipments to millions of Ukrainian refugees in various countries, including deliveries of crucial medical supplies.
- The Flexport.org Pakistan program. Flexport.org delivered $10 million of humanitarian aid to a million people in Pakistan affected by the region’s catastrophic flooding.
- The Flexport.org Horn of Africa program. Flexport.org delivered 16 shipments containing $10 million of aid to a million people in countries like Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Niger.
- The International Rescue Committee (IRC) program. A multi-year commitment from Tech For Refugees is helping the IRC expand its award-winning Signpost project. Signpost uses technology solutions and teams of trained community members to help refugees make informed decisions.
- The Welcome.US Ukraine program. Support from Tech For Refugees enabled Welcome.US to develop its Welcome Connect platform. Welcome Connect helps U.S. citizens connect with and sponsor relocated Ukrainians.
- The Uber, NeedsMap Turkey Program. Tech For Refugees granted Uber funding following the 2023 earthquake in Turkey. NeedsMap users in the region benefit from Uber ride credits, while Uber covers all fees and costs for the rides. Payments support local drivers.