Come Back Alive, a charitable organization headquartered in Kyiv, Ukraine since 2014, recently had one of its largest sources of funding cut off. Providing body armor, medical kits, helmets, mobile surveillance systems, televisions, and other defensive-focused equipment and distribution logistics to Ukrainian soldiers (professional and civilian alike), Come Back Alive has been shut down by Patreon, a funding platform that allows individuals to monetarily support various individuals and causes.
From this article on CNBC:
Patreon told CNBC that using the site to support the purchase of military equipment was banned.
“Patreon does not allow any campaigns involved in violence or purchasing of military equipment, regardless of their cause,” a company spokesperson told CNBC in an email.
Hard to argue this isn’t military equipment when it’s being donated to a military — even if much of it is citizens taking up arms — but it’s a bit of a stretch to call medical kits, helmets, cameras, and body armor “involved in violence.”
Though I admit this is directly connected to the story TTAG published just hours ago on the Ukrainian sniper team called Smile Platoon, Come Back Alive appears to have funded some of their armor and other gear. And it’s hard to say they aren’t visiting violence — justified as it may be — upon the invading Russian forces.
Over $300,000 was donated to Come Back Alive via Patreon in just the first few days after the Russian invasion. Patreon stated that it will be refunding all of the money to the folks who donated it.
Again from the CNBC article:
“We have people dying because they don’t have body armor,” said [Come Back Alive Director] Chmut, who said he previously had served in the country’s armed forces. The country is not rich, and the nonprofit has helped soldiers receive the equipment they need, he said.
Come Back Alive has other, internet-based means of accepting donations, but none are quite as convenient as Patreon would have been.