LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The images coming out of Ukraine inspired printing company owner Lisa Merback to start a fundraiser. She and her sister started Sunflowers for Ukraine. Artists create pieces themed with Ukraine's national flower, which has become a global symbol of support for the country.
"Initially, what I really wanted to do was to give money directly to artists," Merback said. "We have this printer and this print company, why don’t we talk to artists that we know and see if we can get them on board and sell prints?”
Stuff is being ordered and shiped. Here is the batch from yesterday!— Victron Printing 🌻 (@VictronPrinting) March 6, 2022
Prints start at $10 and ship free in the US. All proceeds will be donated to Voices of Children and Sunflowers for Peace. https://t.co/ivhqx0bIJM pic.twitter.com/k4GA7KvG9W
Several other local artists, like Samantha Foster, began sending their artworks to Victron Printing, Merback's art-focused printing company.
“I looked into the organizations that they were supporting and what they’re doing to help people for Ukraine, and it’s amazing work that they’re doing," Foster said.
Victron Printing selected Sunflowers for Peace and Voices of Children, two organizations that were well-established before the conflict in Ukraine. Accountability is one of the key characteristics donors should keep in mind when giving money to charitable organizations.
“Really think about who has the credibility with governments," said Seth Wongsavit, a community impact officer for Nevada Community Foundation. "Choose entities large enough so that they’re able to get help to where they’re needed, and experts to navigate to conflict zones where they’re actually being targeted.”
Wongsavit encourages those who want to give to donate their money to charities that have flexibility, accountability and the logistics to actually handle the giving. He says that while inspiration to give is good, that doesn't always mean your donation will go to where it's supposed to, unless you do your research.
Merback did her research.
Sunflowers for Peace was established in 2014. They put together first aid backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the front lines. Voices of Children was created in 2015. It is a Ukraine-based aid organization that provides psychological support to children who have witnessed war. It uses art therapy and storytelling to support children’s wellbeing and provides financial support to families who have suffered as a result of war.