Bethenny Frankel talks disaster relief, the crisis in Ukraine, and staying balanced.
What inspired you to start the BStrong initiative in partnership with The Global Empowerment Mission?
It evolved. I was inspired to help after Hurricane Harvey, but I had no credibility or experience in the space of disaster relief. I simply jumped in and figured out how to help. Then I visited other ravaged areas after natural disasters. During Hurricane Maria, I connected with GEM and embarked on a multi-year massive-scale disaster relief journey all over the world.
What is the core mission of the BStrong initiative?
Immediate, efficient, organized, lean, and logical crisis aid. No one can do what we can do in a limited time period with limited resources. Our efforts are unprecedented.
What did you include in the crisis kits you sent to Ukraine in the wake of the invasion?
We initially provided crisis kits for refugees but immediately realized the massive magnitude of this crisis. We are now executing an effort exceeding $150 million. We have massive warehouses in Poland and Ukraine that amass worldwide aid in ravaged, besieged areas and we serve as warehouses to aid other organizations.
We have relocated thousands of refugees, and we extract orphans and desperate people out of areas in peril.
Why did the recent situation in Ukraine resonate with you and inspire you to help and act so quickly?
It’s a disaster, a humanitarian crisis, and we act instantly when there is a massive need for immediate aid.
How do you balance being a successful businesswoman with your efforts to help people in need of disaster relief?
I am fiercely organized, and I create a balance between business, philanthropy, and personal life by being present in all of these areas. I always know how to prioritize and maximize time and how I spend it. It’s the most valuable commodity of all.