Rinat Akhmetov Foundation First to Respond to COVID-19 Crisis in Ukraine

The Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Centre opened in Donbas, Ukraine on August 6, 2014. As the largest humanitarian mission in Ukraine, the original purpose of the centre was to offer practical assistance to residents of the Luhansk and Donbas regions affected by the ongoing war in Donbas. Rinat Akhmetov combined his resources from the two businesses he owns and operates, the SCM Group and Shakhtar Football Club, to create the new humanitarian centre.

In the year since COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic, the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Centre stepped up to provide resources and services to combat the health crisis. The information below highlights press releases that covered the numerous times the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, a fundraising and advocacy arm of the humanitarian centre, offered help during the earliest days of the pandemic.

May 22, 2020

Working jointly with the Association of Anaesthesiologists of Ukraine and the Ministry of Health, the foundation hosted an online conference for doctors working with COVID-19 patients on ventilators. During the three-hour seminar, representatives from the Ministry of Health taught doctors working in public hospitals in Ukraine best practices for operating the new shipments of ventilators.

Doctors sent more than 100 questions in advance of the online seminar and asked several more questions while participating in it. The ongoing questions prompted the foundation to design a special chat session to ensure doctors could receive answers to their questions.

May 21, 2020

On this date, the Ukraine Ministry of Health reported that more than 3,800 medical workers had already become infected with COVID-19. Understanding that emergency physicians bear the biggest risk, the foundation purchased and delivered 20,000 rapid response COVID-19 tests to seven regional healthcare centres offering emergency diagnosis and treatment. The donation also meant that an additional 10,000 emergency physicians could undergo testing in these regions:

  • Chernivtsy
  • Ivano-Frankivsk
  • Lviv
  • Rivne
  • Ternopil
  • Vinnytsia
  • Zhytomyr

The delivery of rapid response tests also included personal protective equipment for medical staff who immediately expressed appreciation for the foundation’s actions.

April 24, 2020

The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation provided the Heart Institute of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health with a COVID-19 testing analyser and test cartridges known as Convergys PCR Test. The design of the analyser allows it to detect the coronavirus in a laboratory environment.

Because the test is automated, it eliminates the potential for human error in obtaining and interpreting results. PCR test results come back in under two hours, which significantly reduces the amount of research time required. The analyser can also detect other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis.

March 19, 2020

As countries around the world first grappled with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rinat Akhmetov acted quickly to invest $300 million in Ukrainian dollars to combat the impact of the coronavirus in Ukraine. He described the pandemic as a modern-day disaster at that time and urged all Ukrainians to serve their fellow citizens in any way they could.

Akhmetov joined forces with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health early in 2020 to provide resources and distribute information to Ukrainians about what they could do to keep themselves safe. He was the first business leader in the country to acknowledge the seriousness of the pandemic and offer funding from his foundation to minimize its impact as much as possible. Funding sources included parent company SCM and all its subsidiaries, his football club, and the charitable foundation.

History of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

The foundation that bears Akhmetov’s name began in July 2005, nine years prior to the opening of the humanitarian centre. As one of the wealthiest and most successful business professionals in Ukraine, Akhmetov had reached the point in his charitable giving of wanting to solve larger societal problems. While he acknowledged donations to individuals are necessary, he felt creating the foundation would help to make a greater impact on the lives of Ukrainian citizens.

The Foundation functioned as a branch of Systems Capital Management until it became a private foundation in 2008. The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has always operated on strong principles to ensure that it uses funds efficiently and serves the most people possible. As part of its mission statement, the foundation follows these principles in all its dealings:

  • Effectiveness
  • Independence
  • Practice-oriented approach
  • Professionalism
  • Transparency

The foundation developed target programs early on for populations needing the most help. Cancer Can Be Cured is the name of one of the foundation’s first programs that remains in operation today. Through this program, more than 80,000 Ukrainian cancer patients have received diagnosis and treatment according to cancer guidelines used in countries across the world.

Stop TB in Ukraine is another example of a program started and operated by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. TB remains an epidemic in Ukraine, but 35,000 people with this serious lung disease have received treatment because of the program. The foundation also sponsors several other programs aimed at foster care and adoption, non-TB healthcare needs, education, and parenting.

About Rinat Akhmetov

Akhmetov was born in 1966 to working-class parents in Donetsk, Ukraine. His father worked as a coal miner and his mother worked as a shop assistant. He graduated from Donetsk National University with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2001. However, he started his business career long before that.

Akhmetov launched Systems Capital Management in 2000. The company now holds assets in more than 100 businesses and posts an annual revenue of nearly $13 billion in the United States currency. Recognizing his good fortune, Rinat Akhmetov became involved with philanthropic efforts early in his career.