How to Help Ukrainians, a Year In
A range of organizations and causes you can support
In emails through Substack and in the recent live discussion, a number of you have asked me to send a current list of causes to back in and for Ukraine. I see that I have not done this for months, and I appreciate the reminder.
In other settings I get asked why Americans should donate to Ukraine, given that our government is supporting the Ukrainian government. This is a perfectly reasonable question. Total U.S. to Ukraine amounted to about one cent of your tax dollar last year (and some of that was loans, and much of that was payments to U.S. companies). Some people might want to do more, especially those who believe that the outcome of the war will shape the century to come. Beyond that, donating personally to specific causes can reach people directly, following our own values. In this spirit, I offer a current list, with a range of causes and organizations, starting close to my own expertise.
(1) I am proud of the initiative Documenting Ukraine, which I helped to establish right after the war began. Its principle is that the people best suited to documenting the war are the Ukrainians themselves, using the talents and skills they developed before the war. Documenting Ukraine focuses on the journalists, scientists, writers and others who have remained in their country and are doing important work, providing a very large number of grants. Documenting Ukraine is based at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, which for almost a decade now has been engaged in cooperation with Ukrainian scholars and institutions, and thus has the expertise and connections. If you are an American, you can donate tax-deductibly here.
(2) Following a similar logic, you might wish to support the Centre for Civic Engagement at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Its mission is to support the thousands of Ukrainian scholars who have been scattered by Russian occupation and the associated damage to or destruction of Ukrainian institutions of higher learning. The Munk School of the University of Toronto has organized a benefit conference for the Centre for 17-19 March; I will be giving a lecture on 18 March. I hope you will join in and donate to the Centre (but you can also just donate to the Centre now, why wait?).
(3) Going by the numbers, of course, a far larger number of students have been affected by the war, especially if we mean not just university students but students of Ukraine's high schools and elementary schools. Millions of children have been displaced within the country and millions more are beyond its borders. The Ukrainian Children's Action Project has been studying the effect of war and displacement and working to support children experiencing trauma and separation from family members and their own culture. You can donate here (for Americans, this is a 501(c)3).
(4) A Polish NGO that has done an extraordinary job welcoming and supporting Ukrainian artists and scholars and their children is Borderland. They have given Ukrainians a chance to create culture in a setting that has been dedicated to intercultural understanding for three decades. I visited last summer and had occasion to meet Ukrainians guests and to see the paintings and sculpture that arose and listen to the poetry that was written, translated, and published. This is a very small organization, and so a donation will go a long way.
(5) In the United States, a very effective NGO devoted to all forms of assistance to Ukraine is Razom. They have excellent connections to local Ukrainian NGOs. Incidentally, wherever you might give, please give priority to organizations with such direct contacts (or simply give to the Ukrainians themselves). The record of local civil society in this war is impressive, the record of the big international organizations less so. Razom is a 501(c)3. If you are in the New York area, or even if you are not, you might also consider volunteering your time to Razom.
Shifting now in the direction of the military:
(6) Much of the defending at this point in the war is being done by the Ukrainian territorial defense. The Ukrainian World Congress, based in Canada, has made it their special purpose to support the men and women of the territorial defense. You can contribute to their program Unite with Ukraine here.
(7) The Ukrainian NGO Come Back Alive has been providing protective and other gear to Ukrainian soldiers since the first Russian invasion, in 2014. They focus on analytics, computers, technical gear, and other defensive equipment. You can donate here.
(8) ArmySOS is also a Ukrainian NGO that focuses on preserving the lives of Ukrainian soldiers. One of the the things I like about their webpage is that they urge people to donate to what might seem, in another setting, to be "competing" NGOs. You can donate here.
(9) A small European group that is delivering the gear that Ukrainian soldiers themselves ask for is Ukraine Aid Ops. Their people collect, purchase, and reliably deliver in Ukraine itself, taking on the risk themselves. They offer a variety of ways to donate. For Americans, they offer a 501(c)3 route to donation.
I hope that you will be able to find something (or more than one thing!) that suits you and your values. Making donations has been one of my sources of satisfaction this past year. I hope you will find it so as well. Although I only post these lists from time to time, you might find it sensible to make your donations regular, either by choosing such an option on a webpage, or by returning to this list on a regular basis (by setting a calendar alert, for example).
Whatever you end up doing, thank you.
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