Pittsburghers’ generosity is legendary and we are being asked to step up once again to help the Ukrainians who are fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.
The Pittsburgh Foundation is partnering with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania on United Way Worldwide’s #UnitedForUkraine campaign, a multinational effort to send money to United Way organizations in the countries welcoming Ukrainians fleeing the war.
The United Nations estimates at least 1 million Ukrainians already have sought refuge in neighboring countries, creating what UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi describes as “Europe’s largest refugee crisis in more than a century.”
The local campaign portal #PghUnitedForUkraine will direct funds to United Way Romania, United Way Hungary and Fundacja Dobrych Inicjatyw (Good Initiatives Foundation) in Poland to provide transportation, shelter, food and medicine, critical childcare supplies, hygiene kits and more.
“It can often be the worst of times that brings out the very best in people,” said Bobbi Watt Geer, president and CEO of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania in a statement. “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 Ukraine.
“We hope that the public will donate generously to address the tremendous struggles, uncertainty and heartbreak the growing numbers of refugees are facing.”
No fees will be charged by United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania or The Pittsburgh Foundation for donations.
Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder said 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,” Schroeder said in a statement. “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.”
News of the fundraising effort comes a day after hundreds of people gathered at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland for the Interfaith Prayer Service For Peace in Ukraine.
Other local fundraising efforts include:
Brother’s Brother Foundation and the Pittsburgh Technology Council have launched a campaign to raise $250,000 to aid Ukrainian humanitarian relief efforts in partnership with Highmark and the Allegheny Health Network. Highmark/AHN is providing financial support and critical medical supplies that the foundation will airlift to those in need. Credit card donations can be made on the website by choosing Ukraine Relief in the dropdown menu.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is working to protect and care for 200,000 at-risk Jews in Ukraine through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.