Image via WePlay Holding

#StreamersWithUkraine: How streamers and esports stars are helping Ukrainians

Esports talents and influencers from all over the world couldn’t stand on the sidelines and are now participating in a fundraising campaign to provide humanitarian aid for those affected by the war in Ukraine.

This article is proudly sponsored by WePlay Holding

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February 24, 2022, was a heartbreaking date for millions of people around the world—the date when the Russian Federation started its war against Ukraine. 

According to the United Nations (UN), thousands of civilians have been killed by bombing and shelling and more than 10 million people have been forced to leave their homes or flee the country, with those numbers only climbing as the war continues. 

For many esports fans, Ukraine is known as one of the biggest esports hubs in Europe. The homeland of champions in CS:GO, Dota 2, and other disciplines, having contributed a lot to the formation and development of the global professional esports scene. With that established history, many esports athletes and streamers, not only the ones who call Ukraine home, view the war as a tragedy close to their hearts. 

On March 24, a month after the outbreak of hostilities, the Organization.GG startup, together with WePlay Holding and Reface, launched a marathon—#StreamersWithUkraine, during which any influencer or streamer, no matter the audience numbers, can take part and have already helped raise over $1 million for humanitarian needs in Ukraine. With zero commission, all the funds raised go to Razom and Nova Ukraine, US-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits helping Ukrainians directly. 

How it all started

Organization.GG is an online platform that works to help streamers and esports players to grow and monetize their community through online experiences. The company was founded in Ukraine by Ukrainians—CEO Dima Okhrimchuk and CTO Denis Kurilienko—in Sep. 2020, and after the outbreak of the full-scale war, the team could not just watch as events unfolded, quickly coming to the decision to help in any way they could through streaming, esports, and the communities embedded in both. 

“During the first week of the war, it felt like the product we were building was meaningless and useless… It did not save the lives of innocent Ukrainians or could not help win the war,” Okhrimchuk said. “However, we realized that by transforming our product into a charity platform, we could help spread awareness among Gen Z and raise charity funds to support millions of Ukrainians. Although the team was under constant bombardment, together with our partners, we managed to pull this off and contribute to helping Ukrainians who were forced to leave their homes and abandon their plans for the future.”

Partners and Participants

Once the decision was made to host the marathon, Organization.GG as the host partnered with other businesses with Ukrainian roots involved in esports and streaming—WePlay Holding and Reface. Additional support came from multiple other sources like esports media company Esports Insider and 15 talent agencies, including FantasyExpo, Evolved, Ader Gaming, Prodigy, and AFK Creators. 

“On February 24, the life of our employees and the company was divided into “before” and “after”. Like other companies from Ukraine, we began to look for opportunities to help our country and people,” WePlay CEO Oleh Humeniuk said. “We are glad that the experience of working with the esports community and talents, and understanding the specifics of this business, can be useful for collecting humanitarian aid as part of the marathon. The #StreamersWithUkraine marathon is a great initiative that allows esports representatives to apply their best skills to help Ukrainians in this difficult time.”

In addition to those organizations, many professional players and streamers from across multiple competitive games such as CS:GO, Call of Duty, and Apex Legends joined the marathon. Creators and players like Arseniy “ceh9” Trynozhenko, Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, Jacob “Pimp” Winneche, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, Michael “THINND” McMahon, Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden, esports athletes from Wisla Krakow and Ago organizations, and more all contributed to raising money and awareness for the atrocities taking place in Ukraine. 

“In these tough times, everyone helps the country in their own way,” Dendi said. “I’m very glad to take a part in this charitable marathon! Huge thanks to all those who donated.” 

What has already been achieved?

As of writing this, the marathon has already been running for over twenty days. During this run, more than 365 donors have made donations amounting to more than $16,000, with a large portion of that coming from a Dota 2 showmatch between superstars Dendi and N0tail on April 5. 

“I joined just wanting to contribute with money and entertainment to the victims of this war,” N0tail said. “Sorry to all my fellow humans who have to go through these horrors, yet again history repeats itself. If we all spend a little time and money wisely I’m hoping we can make a difference in people with hardships future. Thanks for supporting.”

Initially, the hosts planned to make #StreamersWithUkraine a month-long marathon from March 24 to April 24. However, Organization.GG has decided to extend the campaign until May 16, bringing in even more organizations and talent to help promote and fundraise for humanitarian causes. 

How to help

Even though the marathon was initially planned as an esports initiative, it is open for participation to influencers, companies, and ordinary people from all over the world, regardless of their audience and interests, as long as they want to help a good cause. 

To start fundraising, the participants can sign up at the official website, which includes further details about the registration process and how to get involved. After registering, talents will be able to contribute by:

  • Sharing a unique PayPal donation link on social media
  • Adding donation a QR code to their live streams or broadcasts
  • Playing games or hosting live experiences with viewers while promoting other ways to get involved

In turn, viewers and those who want to help can click on links or scan the QR code and be redirected to the marathon page, where they can select the fund they want to help and donate directly. The funds are transferred to the foundation account —Organization.GG does not take any percentage from the initiative.

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Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.