On November 14, CAF America President and CEO Ted Hart, in conjunction with the American Chamber of Commerce Poland, hosted a signature “Together Gathering” event in Warsaw with local grantees and partners. The event brought together key stakeholders from Poland and Ukraine, including over forty representatives from local foundations, humanitarian organizations, international charities, and corporate partners. Remarks were given by Heather Rogers, Economic Counselor for the US Embassy in Warsaw; John Lynch, Founder of Corporate Aid for Ukraine (CAU); and David DeBenedetti, Partner at DeBenedetti Majewski & Szczesniak, a law firm based in Poland.
While in Warsaw, Ted and his team also met with several of CAF America’s grantees involved in delivering humanitarian relief and long-term assistance for Ukrainian refugees. One such organization was the Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM); one critical portion of their work involves providing education for Ukrainian refugee children and engaging teachers to help build local schools’ capacity as they meet needs for an increasing number of children.
According to the head of Warsaw’s Department of Education, Warsaw has received 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine since the start of the war, 44% of which are children. The Polish education system has depended on the work of civil society organizations like PCPM to step in to ensure that these children receive the education and attention they need without overwhelming the system.
PCPM also operates a shelter with capacity for over four hundred refugees. Dr. Wojtek Wilk, PCPM’s CEO, noted that there are serious concerns about the challenges of housing a second wave of refugees who are anticipated as winter approaches. Another local organization, Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH) projects that there will be an additional 750,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine this winter, further stretching the capacity of an already stressed humanitarian aid network.
Covering the expenses of basic needs is another focus of organizations in the area; PAH’s Multi-Cash Assistance program helps connect qualifying Ukrainian refugees with monthly financial support that they can use to cover their most pressing needs. A majority of refugees aided through this program are women and children.
Delegates from multiple organizations noted that the programs they provide are reliant on support from the international community. While local governments are supporting efforts where they can (e.g., food and housing access), these programs depend on outside support for survival: “During the past eight months, we have learned outside help is crucial—whether it’s teachers, food, or housing,” said Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw.
About the Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM)
The Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to provide humanitarian, development, and medical relief assistance throughout the world, while maintaining the basic principles of humanitarianism, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. Learn more about PCPM: https://pcpm.org.pl/en
About Polish Humanitarian Action
Polish Humanitarian Action is a humanitarian non-profit organization based in Warsaw/Poland. For almost thirty years they have delivered humanitarian aid to people around the world who are suffering due to armed conflicts and natural disasters. They offer a variety of programming around disaster relief, water and food services, shelter, and education. Learn more about Polish Humanitarian Action: https://www.pah.org.pl/en/
About CAF America
Charities Aid Foundation America (CAF America) works with donors looking to support charitable organizations around the world by providing the infrastructure necessary for high-quality, regulatory- compliant grantmaking and maintaining a worldwide network of high-quality, fully vetted charity partners. For over 30 years, our core mission has been to streamline charitable giving through donor-advised giving, driven by our industry-leading organizational vetting and due diligence protocols. We enable our donors to make strategic, cost-effective and tax-advantaged grants while reducing the risk, reputational exposure, and administrative burden associated with regulatory-compliant grantmaking. CAF America’s worldwide reach translates into more than $3.8 billion in donor funds and over 1.8 million eligible organizations in 135 countries.