Patreon has suspended a donation page for nonprofits giving body armor to the Ukrainian army

Patreon suspends nonprofits giving body armor to the Ukrainian army

February 28, 2022: -Patreon, a start-up whose website allows people to give money to individuals and groups so that it suspends the fundraising campaign that a non-profit organization uses to collect donations to distribute body armor, medical kits, and helmets to Ukrainian soldiers on Thursday.

Come Back Alive is a charitable foundation founded in 2014 and based in Kyiv. In August, the organization last received money from its Patreon page, its director, Taras Chmut, told CNBC in an interview.

Chmut said it was receiving amounts for several months. Then Russia invaded Ukraine on Wednesday, and more than $300,000 rolled in, which includes many donations of less than $1,000.

But on Thursday, people that attempted to visit the page saw the message “This page has been removed.”

Chmut said that’s what he saw when he tried to access account details and see about transferring money out to pay for equipment. He says that the group emailed Patreon and said it was looking into the case.

But Patreon told CNBC that using the site to support military equipment was banned.

“Patreon does not permit any campaigns involved in violence or purchasing of military equipment, regardless of their cause,” a company spokesperson told CNBC in an email. “We are investigating because of representations on their donation page for how the funds will be used. We have suspended the campaign in question while we investigate. If a page is removed, our policy is to send the creator the remaining funds or refund all pledges,” he added.

After this post was published, Patreon announced in a blog post that money in the charity’s account would be refunded to everyone who contributed.

On Thursday, Ukraine then announced a mobilization effort to expand the country’s military forces. But people who join might not be very well protected from harm.

“We have people dying as they don’t have body armor,” said Chmut, who said he previously had served in the country’s armed forces. The government is not rich, and he said the nonprofit has helped soldiers receive the equipment they need.

According to its most recent annual report, come Back Alive has also provided mobile surveillance systems, televisions, and other equipment.

The group does have other ways of collecting donations but the Patreon page is the most convenient way for foreigners to give. Many people have already used it, Chmut said. “We have too much money here to lose it,” he said.

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Patreon suspends nonprofits giving body armor to the Ukrainian army
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Patreon suspends nonprofits giving body armor to the Ukrainian army
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Patreon suspends its fundraising campaign for a non-profit organization that distributes body armor, medical kits, and helmets to Ukrainian soldiers
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