World War 501(c)(3)

Corruption in Ukraine is staggering. Graft has left thousands of wounded soldiers without care and ground to a standstill the army’s effort to defeat Russian-backed rebels in the east. But a collection of Ukrainians at home and abroad want to change that through a novel campaign of crowdfunded war.

Everyday Americans have a long tradition of bankrolling foreign fighters, from the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy in the 1930s to U.S. mosques sending cash to anti-Soviet mujahideen in the 1980s.

But the Ukraine war, now entering its fifth year, is one of the first where web-based fundraising has come into play. The diaspora has poured millions of dollars into the war effort. Each of Ukraine’s 32 territorial defense battalions has a designated fundraiser who travels throughout Europe and the U.S.

During a presidency where long-standing alliances are cast aside, and America seems eager to step away from defense commitments, online crowd funding is poised to fill the gap. This project follows Ukrainians as they forge a new—and potentially frightening—way of funding war.