At least one million people have already fled Ukraine since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, a number the United Nations expects
to grow significantly.
“While we have seen tremendous solidarity and hospitality from neighboring countries in receiving refugees, including from local communities and private citizens,” says the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, “much more support will be needed to assist and protect new arrivals.”
To respond to this need, the Pittsburgh Foundation is partnering with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania on United Way Worldwide’s #UnitedForUkraine campaign, a multinational effort to direct donations to United Way organizations in the countries welcoming Ukrainians fleeing the horrors of war.
The Pittsburgh Foundation and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania are encouraging their donors and the general public to donate through the local campaign portal: #PghUnitedForUkraine
to the organizations with expertise in humanitarian relief efforts: United Way Romania, United Way Hungary, and Fundacja Dobrych Inicjatyw (Good Initiatives Foundation) in Poland.
No fees will be charged by United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania or The Pittsburgh Foundation for donations, but there may be some administrative costs for nonprofit organizations delivering aid in the affected countries.
"It can often be the worst of times that brings out the very best in people," says Bobbi Watt Geer, president and CEO of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. "As news of the war unfolds, and the plight of the refugees continues, we are grateful for our partnership with The Pittsburgh Foundation and our mutual dedication to offer relief and support to the millions of people suffering in the Ukraine. We hope that the public will donate generously to address the tremendous struggles, uncertainty and heartbreak the growing numbers of refugees are facing."
Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder says working through United Way Worldwide should give the foundation’s donors and the general public assurance that funds will go directly to providers who have the local knowledge and experience to make a difference.
“All of our hearts are breaking over the senseless brutality inflicted on the people of Ukraine,” says Schroeder. “And while we wish we had the ability as a nation to stop this war, we have the power as a community to help the helpers and reduce some of the misery to those caught up in the conflict.”
In announcing the emergency relief campaign, United Way Worldwide officials say that as families migrate to safety across Europe, “our trusted partners on the ground stand ready to aid those who have been displaced by this crisis.”
Immediate support will be applied to fill needs for transportation, shelter, food and medicines, hygiene kits and supplies for child care, including infant formula and diapers.