Bill Lukashenko pivoted away from marketing just before the pandemic and recently created an online auction that raised $40,000 for humanitarian relief work in Ukraine.
GALIT RODAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
The organizer: Bill Lukashenko
The pitch: Raising more than $40,000
The cause: The Canada-Ukraine Foundation
Like a lot of people from Winnipeg, Bill Lukashenko’s family was steeped in Ukrainian culture.
His father and grandparents survived the Holodomor, a man-made famine orchestrated by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and immigrated to Canada as displaced people after the Second World War.
When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last February, Mr. Lukashenko felt determined to do something. “It’s almost as though there was a calling with all these millions of people that were displaced and in need of help. I was very sad,” he recalled from Toronto, where he runs a marketing company.
He got involved with various humanitarian efforts but last spring he decided to try something that would have more impact. He began organizing an online event called Auction for Ukraine. He contacted dozens of companies and received a host of donated items ranging from tickets to NHL and NBA games to hotel stays, airline tickets, wineglasses, jewellery, clothing and gift cards. Several people also contacted him to make further contributions to the sale, including artwork
Among the donors was Ukrainian artist Viktor Deysun. Mr. Deysun happened to be in Canada in September and when his sister-in-law in Toronto learned about the auction she got in touch with Mr. Lukashenko. “She says, Bill, we’ve got some artwork that Viktor really wants to donate to help raise funds to help his home country,” Mr. Lukahsenko said.
The auction ran from Nov. 9 to 19 and Mr. Lukashenko made it as inclusive as possible by starting bidding for some lots at $100. “I wanted it to be available to any Canadian who might want to support Ukraine,” he said. The event raised more than $40,000 in total and the proceeds have gone to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation to support of its Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Mr. Lukashenko, 56, plans to keep fundraising and doing all he can to support Ukrainians. “I felt compelled to help and I continue to feel compelled to help,” he said.