Vadym Novynskyi is a distinguished Ukrainian businessman and former politician born in June 1963. He’s the owner of Ukrainian holding company Smart Holding Group, which has major stakes in a host of companies including metallurgical giant Metinvest Group. Since the outbreak of all-out war in Ukraine, Metinvest has become known for its ongoing support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Worth an estimated $1.9 billion, the billionaire entrepreneur built his business empire when he began buying former state assets of the Soviet Union, including metallurgy companies, in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Granted Ukrainian citizenship in 2012 for “distinguished services of the country,” he’s played a pivotal role in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s citizens following the outbreak of war.
From Engineer to Entrepreneur
In contrast to many Russian and Ukrainian billionaires, Vadym Novynskyi came from a very humble background. In 1981, Novynskyi enrolled at the Order of Lenin Civil Aviation Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, and graduated in 1985 in engineering management systems. Following his graduation, he worked as an air traffic controller in Petrozavodsk, northwest Russia.
Between 1989 and 1991, Novynskyi worked as a senior engineer at what is now known as Civil Aviation Academy in St. Petersburg. Then from 1991 to 1999, he was the commercial director of the Centre for Prospective Research in St. Petersburg before becoming director of Paritet LLC, a position he held until 2001. In 2007, Novynskyi became the chairman of the supervisory board at Smart Holding Group. He officially relinquished this role in December 2022.
Vadym Novynskyi was awarded the Ukrainian Order of Merit in 2009, and over the years, he’s become known not only for his business success, but also for his philanthropic work, which has provided critical support to Ukrainian citizens affected by war and conflict in the country. The bulk of this charitable work covers the fields of health care, child and family assistance, and the preservation of cultural heritage through his charitable organization, the Vadym Novynskyi Foundation.
The Vadym Novynskyi Foundation
Vadym Novynskyi established his foundation in 2008 after amassing a personal fortune over the course of more than a decade. In the 15 years since its founding, the foundation has become a leader in providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainian citizens, particularly those affected by the ongoing war with Russia. All of the foundation’s work is guided by its main principle: “To broaden the territory of the good and make the life of our society healthier and better.”
430 Million Hryvnia Donated Since the Start of War
Since February 2022, when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Vadym Novynskyi Foundation has allocated more than 430 million hryvnia (about $11.6 million) to various humanitarian aid projects and initiatives, such as the donation of food kits and the procurement of ambulances.
About 38 million hryvnia of this money was initially allocated to the port city of Mariupol in February 2022. While the city was eventually captured by Russian forces after its destruction, efforts of the Novynskyi Foundation, which included a further 3.8 million hryvnia to aid evacuation efforts, helped civilians survive and withstand Russian aggression in the city and eventually make their escape.
Since the fall of Mariupol, the foundation has directed its aid to cities and regions that have large populations of internally displaced persons, many of whom originally lived in Mariupol. These include Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Bakhmut, where food kits, hygiene kits, ambulances, operating tables, ultrasound systems, neonatal incubators, and diagnostic equipment have all been provided free of charge to civilians, health care institutions, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
More recently, 10,000 hygiene kits were distributed to Kherson residents in partnership with Unity of the World, another Ukrainian charitable organization. “Every day, many representatives of military units, public organizations, and charitable foundations contact us with a request to help with food, hygiene products, generators, etc. This time, we are handing over 5,000 sanitizers and over 5,000 packs of wet wipes to a partner charitable volunteer organization,” says Iryna Danko, a manager who works for the Vadym Novynskyi Foundation.
As war rages on in Ukraine, the philanthropic efforts of Vadym Novynskyi are set to continue.