The Pittsburgh Foundation

#UnitedForUkraine campaign to assist in refugee crisis

The Pittsburgh Foundation and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania logos

United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and The Pittsburgh Foundation partner to encourage donor and general public support for United Way Worldwide’s networks responding to inundation of Ukrainian refugees in Eastern Europe

PITTSBURGH, March 7, 2022In the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, at least 1 million Ukrainians have fled the country, creating what UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi describes as "Europe’s largest refugee crisis in more than a century."

While that is enough of an emergency on its own to spur Americans to provide relief, the vast majority of Ukrainians – about 44 million people – remain in the country with expectations that several million more will be forced to flee as conditions worsen.

Because of the massive numbers and the complexity of providing humanitarian aid around a war zone, The Pittsburgh Foundation is partnering with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania on United Way Worldwide’s #UnitedForUkraine campaign, a multinational effort to direct much-needed 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.

The partnership evolved because The Pittsburgh Foundation saw the benefit of United Way as a global organization with members in the affected countries, who know the needs on the ground and are able to pivot to meet them as they are rapidly changing.

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," said 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 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,” she said. “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 said 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.

“By donating to United Way, you’re supporting vetted, nonpartisan organizations on the ground and providing vital help to those who need it most,” #PghUnitedForUkraine organizers said. “This situation is fluid and there is no doubt the needs will be great and will continue for some time.”