Skip to main content

Houston Businesses Called on to Support Ukraine Relief Efforts

Published May 03, 2022 by A.J. Mistretta

Watch the full event

ukraine flag

Houston area businesses and nonprofits are stepping up to aide Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion of their country. Now in its third month, the conflict has led to the killing of thousands of Ukrainian citizens and displaced millions more. A Partnership virtual event on May 2 outlined how several local organizations are providing desperately needed equipment, goods and funds, as well as what others can do to join in the effort. 

“Over the weeks, the world has born witness to a modern-day massacre, as Ukrainian civilians from Kharkiv to Mariupol have fallen victim to this conflict,” said Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey in opening the event. “Over 5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since February and another 6.5 million are displaced inside the country itself. Millions more—including the elderly, young children, whole families—remain vulnerable in an active war zone.”

Speakers for the event included:

  • Vitalii Tarasiuk, the Ukrainian Consul General in Houston; 
  • Michael Mizwa, CEO for the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital; 
  • Michael Bleyzer, founder of the private equity investment firm SigmaBleyzer, and representatives of his company’s philanthropic arm, the Daar Foundation. 

Tarasiuk began by describing the current situation on the ground in Ukraine and the significant needs of the country on both the military and humanitarian fronts. While millions of Ukrainians have left the country—mainly the elderly, women and children—Tarasiuk said roughly 4.5 million young people, or more than half the child population of the country, are currently displaced both inside and outside Ukraine. 

“The damage to both infrastructure and to the population are huge,” he said, adding that Ukraine needs more weapons to fend off the Russians and more international pressure on the Russian government in the form of increased sanctions and corporate pullout of the country. 

Speaking to the Partnership’s business audience, Tarasiuk urged companies to consider investing in Ukraine once the conflict is over to help the nation rebuild. “But right now, we need your support to help win this war.” 

Bleyzer, whose nonprofit Daar Foundation has been active in Ukraine for more than 20 years, talked about the organization’s shift to humanitarian work amid the ongoing crisis. Daar has partnered with a number of organizations here in Houston and around the U.S. to collect relief funds and organize shipments of everything from protective gear to medicine and medical supplies. So far, the group has raised more than $3 million and shipped dozens of palettes of product to the region. 

Bleyzer said the advantage Daar has is that the group has had personnel on the ground for a long time who know the landscape and the need. The organization is working with other groups such as the nonprofit Medical Bridges, which packages surplus medical supplies from the Texas Medical Center for under-resourced communities, to secure, package and ship resources to Ukraine. Daar is also relying on volunteers to assist in the process. 

Other Daar partners include Project CURE, Ukraine Needs Wheels, Texas Law Enforcement for Ukraine, and Blessings International, to name a few. 

Mizwa from Texas Children’s Hospital said that institution is leveraging its established healthcare presence alongside institutions in Romania and Poland to provide treatment and assistance to Ukrainian refugees. “What we are seeing is a very serious and very needful situation,” he said. 

Here in Houston, Texas Children’s recently completed a community and employee donation drive including personal hygiene and dental products that have now been shipped to the region. “The needs are fluid and constantly changing, so we are trying to be fluid in addressing those evolving needs in a focused, strategic fashion,” Mizwa said. 

Harvey called on local companies and individuals to engage in relief efforts in whatever way they can, whether through volunteering to sort and package supplies going to Ukraine or through monetary donations. Learn more here

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a far-reaching geopolitical quagmire, with implications in global energy, agriculture, finance and other sectors,” Harvey said. “But the business cost of Russia’s aggression pales in comparison to the humanitarian cost—the tremendous loss of life, the refugee crisis that continues to grow, and the real danger millions of Ukrainians continue to face as this war rages on.” 
 

Related News

Economic Development

Greater Houston Partnership Recognized Among Site Selection Magazine’s Top Groups

5/3/24
The Greater Houston Partnership has been awarded Site Selection Magazine’s Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development for its outstanding regional economic development performance in 2023. Widely considered to be the gold standard recognition for regions from the industry’s top trade publication, the award is based on the following criteria:  Total projects Total investment associated with those corporate facility projects Total jobs associated with those corporate facility projects Per capita calculations of those same three metrics  "Receiving the Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development is not just a recognition of our region’s achievements; it's a testament to our commitment to creating opportunity in Houston,” said Steve Kean, President and CEO at the Partnership. “It’s a team effort here in Houston, and we are delighted to work with our partner economic development groups across the region to tell the world about Houston and attract new jobs and investment to our community.”  This is the Partnership’s first win since 2021 and 15th time winning the award. The Partnership previously received honorable mentions in 2007, 2016 and 2017, bringing the Partnership’s total number of appearances in Site Selection’s top group rankings to 18 since its inception in 1989.  “I am very proud of our organization's recognition of the prestigious Mac Conway Award for Excellence,” said Craig Rhodes, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Partnership. “It's a testament to the collaborative efforts with our partners across the 12-county region, and it motivates our team to continue our mission of driving inclusive prosperity and creating meaningful opportunities for all."  Following major economic development wins in 2023, the greater Houston region has gotten off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2024, with 139 new business announcements identified.  A total of 40 businesses established new facilities in the Houston area while 97 projects were an expansion of existing Houston-area facilities. Manufacturing accounted for 32 percent of the announcements, with professional, scientific and technical services ranking second (17 percent).  Learn more about why companies choose Houston.
Read More
Economic Development

Greater Houston Partnership Recognized Among Site Selection Magazine’s Top Groups

5/3/24
The Greater Houston Partnership has been awarded Site Selection Magazine’s Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development for its outstanding regional economic development performance in 2023. Widely considered to be the gold standard recognition for regions from the industry’s top trade publication, the award is based on the following criteria:  Total projects Total investment associated with those corporate facility projects Total jobs associated with those corporate facility projects Per capita calculations of those same three metrics  "Receiving the Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development is not just a recognition of our region’s achievements; it's a testament to our commitment to creating opportunity in Houston,” said Steve Kean, President and CEO at the Partnership. “It’s a team effort here in Houston, and we are delighted to work with our partner economic development groups across the region to tell the world about Houston and attract new jobs and investment to our community.”  This is the Partnership’s first win since 2021 and 15th time winning the award. The Partnership previously received honorable mentions in 2007, 2016 and 2017, bringing the Partnership’s total number of appearances in Site Selection’s top group rankings to 18 since its inception in 1989.  “I am very proud of our organization's recognition of the prestigious Mac Conway Award for Excellence,” said Craig Rhodes, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Partnership. “It's a testament to the collaborative efforts with our partners across the 12-county region, and it motivates our team to continue our mission of driving inclusive prosperity and creating meaningful opportunities for all."  Following major economic development wins in 2023, the greater Houston region has gotten off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2024, with 139 new business announcements identified.  A total of 40 businesses established new facilities in the Houston area while 97 projects were an expansion of existing Houston-area facilities. Manufacturing accounted for 32 percent of the announcements, with professional, scientific and technical services ranking second (17 percent).  Learn more about why companies choose Houston.
Read More

Related Events

International Business

Manufacturing, Logistics and Distribution Forum

As an important dynamic manufacturing hub for an increasingly global economy, the Houston region is uniquely positioned to drive innovations in processes, distribution and supply chain.  The collaborations…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners