Make pizza not war – fundraising for Ukraine: Nick Freer

This week, we supported non-fungible token (NFT) specialist VAULT around an announcement on how the start-up has partnered with three Ukrainian media companies - Ukrainska Pravda, Noyove Vremya and Hromadske - to help raise funds to support the reporting of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Nick Freer 
Picture by Stewart AttwoodNick Freer 
Picture by Stewart Attwood
Nick Freer Picture by Stewart Attwood

The ten thousand NFT keys made available can be used to unlock a digital vault of content curated from the publications’ English-language coverage. The fundraiser - ‘Keys for Kyiv’ - was the brainchild of VAULT’s CEO and co-founder, Nigel Eccles, who previously co-founded and led fantasy sports platform FanDuel, and his team who are based in various locations across Scotland and North America.

As a nation, Ukraine is more switched on than many when it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain, with other Web3-led initiatives by the country’s crypto-friendly government including a donation scheme whereby tens of millions of dollars in digital currency will acquire military supplies for the fight against Russia.

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Out for a coffee with investment firm Eos Advisory partners Mark Beaumont and Ana Stewart on Wednesday, Mark told me how one of his fellow adventurer pals, David Fox-Pitt was en route to the Poland-Ukraine border with a convoy of trucks, where Fox-Pitt and his crew plan to provide one thousand meals a day to refugees.

With a strapline, ‘Make Pizza, Not War’, the project is being organised via social enterprise Siobhan’s Trust, set up by Fox-Pitt in 2020 and named after the late Countess of Dundee.

Last week, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted that over 61,000 nights had been booked by users of the platform in Ukraine within 48 hours, at a total gross booking value of almost $2 million, as a novel way to send donations.

As U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris put it at a press conference with the Polish premier in Warsaw on Thursday, “we have seen extraordinary acts of generosity and kindness” since conflict broke out.Return to the workplace

As people start returning to the workplace after two years in Covid limbo, a Gallup poll in the U.S. this week revealed that while only 6 per cent of white-collar workers worked from home pre-pandemic, that figure had risen to 65 per cent by May 2020.

While on one hand this percentage seems relatively low, it does illustrate the paradigm shift that took place over a matter of weeks during the first half of 2020.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, the director of the Centre for WorkLife Law at the University of California said: “The only thing holding back flexible work arrangements (before the pandemic) was a failure of imagination. That failure was remedied in three weeks’ time in March 2020.”

Fast forward two years, and LinkedIn is vastly populated this week with posts about people returning to work. It’s a joyous occasion for many, for others there is anxiety around settling back into the old routine. Some have weathered the last two years relatively well, others less so.

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It’s a subject I have been speaking to business contacts about this week, and plan to share some of the feedback next weekend.

Nick Freer is the founding director of strategic communications agency the Freer Consultancy

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