Weeks ago, three decades of post-Cold War peace in Europe came to an end when Russia launched an unprovoked, full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.
The deluge of heartbreaking scenes creates a sense of helplessness. But the stories of courage and determination shown by Ukrainians and their allies are equally poignant reminders that each of us has an opportunity to do something — to show support, to take action.
Human rights groups have reported that the Russian government is recklessly violating international laws and the United Nations estimates over a million refugees have now fled to avoid violence and death. The waves created by this conflict are also spreading across the globe, threatening our collective safety, security and sovereignty. It is unnerving for everyone, and for some it is outright unbearable.
The crisis hits home on a deeper level for many southwest Washingtonians. Those who have roots and loved ones in Ukraine and Russia are being traumatized and retraumatized. This is significant for a state where the largest per capita population of Ukrainian Americans on the West Coast resides. Many of our neighbors also comprise a strong community of Russian Americans who are facing potential and real discrimination at this charged time.
We must hold these neighbors close and prioritize safety. Our team sends its strength to the people of Ukraine, particularly the women, children and other marginalized people who suffer disproportionately in times of conflict. We encourage our partners and community to pursue any means possible for supporting the people of Ukraine as they stand for their democracy and fight for their safety and self-determination.
Resources to Take Action
Immediate Humanitarian Relief
2.9 million Ukrainians were already in need of urgent humanitarian assistance prior to the conflict, with at least 1.5 million Ukrainians displaced within their country due to almost eight years of war. As the war escalates in Ukraine, the need for immediate, humanitarian aid only grows. Here are ways you can help today.
- Ednannia is a Ukrainian community foundation network that inspires innovation and invests in agents of change. It has quickly pivoted to proactively fielding information about needs through its wide network of local partners, which includes over 3,000 nonprofits and many public authorities. To respond rapidly to needs, it has launched an initiative center to support social actions. Here you can find the priorities for financial support and how to make donation. You can also contact its team directly via Facebook or еmail at [email protected].
- Mercy Corps has shared an assessment of the situation and their response so far, detailing the need for physical cash, support for local actors on the ground that know their community needs best, as well as the provision of trusted information to families and individuals transiting through the conflict zone. With this, they are urgently seeking flexible support for a Ukraine response.
- Local churches, including the Ukrainian Baptist Church and Church of Christ the Savior, are coordinating efforts to deliver financial support to churches located near the Ukrainian border. Those overseas churches are working with local communities and nonprofits to get food, medical supplies, clothing, shoes, diapers and more to refugees on the frontlines. For more information, you can contact the churches directly.
- The Ukrainian-American Cultural Association of OR & SW WA and Ukrainian Association of Washington State are raising funds for collaborative relief efforts that recently helped fulfill a shipment of medical supplies to the frontlines. These organizations are also organizing community rallies to show solidarity for Ukraine and influence policymakers across the region. Follow their social media accounts for the latest.
- Center for Disaster Philanthropy mobilizes philanthropic resources so that communities can better withstand disasters and recover equitably. They launched a Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis page that includes an overview of the crisis, critical needs, ways to help and additional resources. Its Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Recovery Fund was established to address emerging humanitarian needs, particularly among the most vulnerable and marginalized internally-displaced peoples (IDPs) and refugees.
- Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights is responding to the situation in Ukraine for women, trans and nonbinary and LGBTQ+ human rights defenders and has specific recommendations for donors. UAF has launched Urgent Response Fund: Ukraine to rapidly respond to requests from groups and individuals seeking emergency evacuations, security, shelter, and legal and financial support.
- The International Rescue Committee helps those affected by humanitarian crises and works in more than 40 affected countries, as well as communities in Europe and the Americas. According to its website, the IRC is on the ground in Poland and working to help displaced families. You can donate here., but the website also offers ways to give in addition to financial support such as welcoming refugees and social media actions.
- The Council on Foundations has gathered resources to guide philanthropy’s response to the crisis in Ukraine and recently hosted a webinar titled Philanthropy’s Response to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis, which featured leading experts from the public and private sectors discussing the latest needs and how funders can support relief efforts.
Future Recovery and Refugee Support
Recovery will certainly involve repairing the damaged infrastructure in Ukraine, but it will also require healing and resettling the millions more that have been displaced by this conflict. Refugees will land locally in time, and there are many partners poised to help. Here are ways you can help in the long-term.
- Lutheran Community Services NW equips refugees and immigrants with the skills, resources and support they need to live fulfilling lives. This includes mental health counseling in different languages, housing and employment support, English lessons and guidance toward citizenship. They serve about 200 refugee arrivals from Ukraine annually. In the months leading up to the invasion, the numbers began to increase. Now, with the war escalating, they are anticipating influx of new arrivals and are increasing case management staff to meet these needs.
- Immigrant Refugee Community Organization is a refugee resettlement organization that provides all services needed by refugees arriving in the Portland metro region. Staff work with refugees from the moment they land at the airport to connect them with the resources and support needed to rebuild their lives. IRCO is currently putting all efforts toward a national level campaign advocating for asylum to those fleeing Ukraine and has published a Ukraine Resource Guide to assist those with family members in the war zone.
- Sea Mar is committed to providing quality, comprehensive health, human, housing, educational and cultural services to diverse communities across Washington state. They have Russian and Ukrainian speaking staff members, and they are seeking therapists who are fluent as well so that they can address the stigma and needs surrounding mental health issues within the Slavic community.
- Voices of Children is a charitable foundation based in Ukraine that serves the psychological needs of children affected by the ongoing conflict in the country’s east. The group’s psychologists offer mobile services and specialize in art therapy. They provide general psychosocial support with group classes or individual sessions.
These organizations encompass a few of the ways you can take action and support Ukraine. The information was gathered through direct outreach to our local nonprofit partners, as well as extensive research on national organizations and efforts actively addressing the crisis in Ukraine. If you are considering a contribution, we recommend doing your own research as well.
For those who have a fund with the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington and would like to give to a specific cause or geographic area in Ukraine, we are always ready to assist. Lifting up the causes that matter and supporting community philanthropy is how we help, especially in times of great need.