Anna Yakutenko

Anna Yakutenko

In less than 24 hours, a crowdsourcing campaign to help cover fellowship costs for a Kyiv Post reporter reached its goal of $5,000. More than 20 people contributed to the GoFundMe campaign so Anna Yakutenko could join the 2018 Alfred Friendly Fellowship Class, train at the Missouri School of Journalism and work in an American newsroom.

The campaign was initiated by her editor in Ukraine, Brian Bonner, marking the fifth-straight year the program has had a fellow from the Kyiv Post. Bonner has employed this method of crowdsourcing to help fund their previous two Alfred Friendly fellows, Yuliana Romanyshyn and Olena Goncharova.

“At the University of Missouri, I learned how to better report on trauma and conflict, which gave me a chance to improve my everyday work at the Kyiv Post,” Goncharova said in a promotional video. “Back in Ukraine, I shared my knowledge with my colleagues and college students.”

This year’s campaign raised more than $5,700. A generous donation of $10,000 by Ukrainian entrepreneur and philanthropist Vasyl Khmelnytsky’s K. Fund put Yakutenko over halfway to covering the full cost of the six-month fellowship. Bonner hopes to raise the total cost of $25,000 through fundraising efforts next year.

“We realize there are many charities and needy people in this world,” Bonner said. “This cause — supporting the education of Ukrainian journalists abroad — just happens to be very important to us.”

Yakutenko is a staff writer, but is also in charge of video production and podcasts for the newspaper. While the online campaign reached its goal, Yakutenko still needed over $9,000 to cover the program’s full costs. Bonner decided to keep the campaign open for 30 days, and pointed out that all of the money raised will go directly toward funding Yakutenko’s fellowship.

Like previous Kyiv Post fellow Yuliana Romanyshyn, Yakutenko will be on the staff of Missouri media outlet (KCUR in Kansas City) for the first half of the fellowship program, in the spring, and at the Chicago Tribune for the second half, in the summer.

“In 2017, I got a rare chance to learn from the best, especially from the journalists at the Chicago Tribune,” Romanyshyn said. “Through my time in the United States, I gained vital experience and skills that I’m literally using every day.” 

The first Alfred Friendly fellow from the Kyiv Post, Anastasia Forina, also worked at the Chicago Tribune, while Olena Goncharova and Oksana Grytsenko worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.