Reflecting on Impact: Two Years Beyond the Invasion of Ukraine

Collection of photos of Ukraine NGOs in actions

With February 24 marking two years since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, we’re pausing to reflect on and acknowledge the large impact our donors have had on humanitarian relief and the individual lives of people affected by this conflict. In the first year of the invasion, CAF America made over $37 million in donor-advised and restricted grants, with our donors funding 998 grants to 78 charities in fourteen countries. This includes over $3.75 million in grants to charities incorporated in Ukraine itself.

Throughout 2023, we saw continued support for Ukrainians, facilitating for our donors an additional $22.8 million in funding for 317 grants. These grants were delivered to 85 partner organizations in 22 countries.

Reviewing CAF America’s grants data, we’ve seen a few key trends develop over the past year:

  • Continued Strong Support in Poland: Poland continues to be a hub for humanitarian action. During the first year of the invasion, CAF America granted over $10 million to 22 organizations incorporated in Poland (26% of total response grants). This number continued to grow in 2023, with an additional $4.7 million donated to 35 organizations in Poland. Poland remains the largest beneficiary country of our cross-border grants for response to this conflict.
  • Growing Support Network: A wider spread of organizations in eight additional countries were funded by our donors, with sixteen new organizations supported in 2023, totaling $1.5 million.
  • More Aid Dedicated to Social Services: In addition to aiding those displaced or harmed by the invasion, many organizations have dedicated their efforts to social support services. Funding organizations that are assisting with medical treatments, access to food, and other basic needs is more important than ever to our donors.

We checked in with five of our partners to share their stories and provide updates from the past year. While serious challenges remain, we’re inspired by their stories and the resilience of their teams as they continue to serve their fellow citizens—often in the midst of active conflict.

Charity Spotlight 1: Let’s Do It Ukraine

About the Organization
Let’s Do It Ukraine is a social project created by the All-Ukrainian youth movement with the support of the international movement Let’s Do It World, which supports the livelihood of civilian populations by providing food, hygiene products, basic medicine, and pet supplies. The volunteer-based organization is made up of over 2,300 activists across Ukraine.

February 2024 Update
Since the beginning of the invasion, Let’s do it Ukraine has, with support from CAF America grants, been providing humanitarian aid in the East and South of Ukraine through the “Let’s do it Ukraine SOS” humanitarian project. Part of the districts where aid is being given are still undergoing attacks on a daily basis.

In 2022, Let’s do it Ukraine’s humanitarian and environmental initiatives in Ukraine included establishing aid hubs, helping over 13,000 people, delivering 40 tons of food for 3,600 daily meals, supporting shelters for 60 displaced persons, and organizing educational events. CAF America grants backed the “Clean Beaches Together!” initiative, engaging 120 participants in eco-expeditions for waste management near rivers and lakes. In 2022, the initiative attracted over 56,000 platform visitors.

In 2023, CAF America-facilitated donations purchased and distributed 295 food kits in Mykolaiv, helping families with children, those who lost breadwinners, elderly, disabled, and jobless individuals. The “Good Kitchen” project also delivered 33,300 hot meals to war and flood-affected Ukrainians and internally displaced persons in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Kherson regions.

“Not everyone can cook, we cook on electric stoves, but not everyone has them. Many pensioners cannot take care of themselves. Therefore, hot food is essential for these people.”

Iryna Gerasymchuk, a resident of the village of Luch, Mykolaiv region supported by the “Good Kitchen” project

Charity Spotlight 2: Foodbank Ukraine

About the Organization
FoodBank Ukraine is a nonprofit charitable organization that collects food products from manufacturers, retailers, catering establishments, individuals and other suppliers and distributes them to people in need. They aim to improve food security for socially vulnerable people and fight against hunger.

February 2024 Update
Over the past two years, FoodBank Ukraine, alongside partners, has delivered over 6,000 tons of food and essential supplies, reaching over 350,000 Ukrainians. Teaming with corporate partners and CAF America, Foodbank Ukraine has provided over 300,000 hot meals and gathered 10,000 food packages. They’ve also produced 2 tons of dehydrated food and delivered 3,000 packages to residents of de-occupied villages.

As a result of the war, economic crisis, and shelling in the Kherson region, many people have been left without food and livelihoods. Some villages are actually on the contact line between Russian/Ukrainian military forces, making the delivery of food risky and logistically challenging. However, FoodBank Ukraine has been able to deliver food parcels and dehydrated food with a high nutrient content to de-occupied and hard-to-reach villages. These packages contain various cereals, canned vegetables, oil, biscuits, meat and other snacks. Such assistance is extremely important now, as there are no shops, electricity, gas and other household facilities there.

Charity Spotlight 3: Tabletochki

About the Organization
Tabletochki is a Ukrainian charitable foundation that, since 2011, has been committed to supporting the families of children fighting childhood cancer. The organization focuses on four key areas: targeted family support, systemic support of pediatric oncology units, patient rights protection, and professional training for dedicated medical staff.

February 2024 Update
Since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, hundreds of Ukrainian children, their families, and doctors have had to become examples of resilience and strength. The story of 13-year-old Oleksandr from Kharkiv exemplifies what Ukrainian children battling two wars are facing today—amidst the backdrop of two wars, Oleksandr continues his battle against cancer, separated from his loved ones. Oleksandr and other patients/families fighting childhood cancer have shown remarkable resilience.

“I have been treated for blood cancer for almost three years. And all this time, I have hardly seen my family. Most of all, I miss my father, who now defends us in the army. My main dream is to come home and live with my mom and dad, as before the war.”

Oleksandr, 13-year-old Ukrainian cancer survivor

Tabletochki faces escalating challenges, from securing housing and urgent medications to providing financial aid and psychological support. However, with the support of partners and donors such as CAF America, their efforts have supported over 1,500 families last year despite numerous challenges. In 2023, a donation from CAF America was directly allocated to urgent medical supplies and consumables.

Despite the war, Tabletochki has not stopped any of their assistance programs and continues to help families at every stage of the fight against childhood cancer. Last year, they provided targeted assistance to more than 1500 families. It is a record number for the twelve years of the Foundation’s work.

“The destruction in the frontline regions increased the need for outpatient apartments in safer places; general economic instability increased requests for urgent and expensive medicines; reduced income of families under the Foundation’s care increased the number of requests for basic financial assistance; and stressful situations due to constant shelling and relatives at frontline increased the need for psychological support.”

– Viacheslav Bykov, Tabletochki’s Chief Executive Officer

Charity Spotlight 4: Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM)

About the Organization
PCPM brings hope through tailored support for Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Their programs provide targeted aid to Ukrainian refugees, ensuring well-being, access to education, and integration into local communities. From financial and housing assistance to vocational training and creating jobs in Poland and in Ukraine, these initiatives make a difference in rebuilding lives.

February 2024 Update
PCPM has partnered with CAF America to aid thousands in Poland and Ukraine. Since the start of the invasion, they have conducted evacuations, distributed humanitarian aid, held trainings, and contributed to rebuilding efforts. PCPM also created a school for 220 Ukrainian children, holding classes in their native language to help maintain their education with as little disruption as possible during a tumultuous time in their lives.

PCPM’s “Cash for Work” program employed 1,730 teachers and assistants from Ukraine in 24 Polish cities, providing financial stability and integrating Ukrainian families into the Polish education system. CAF America-supported grants expanded the program, ensuring employment for 50 refugees through June 2024. Reconstruction efforts in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and other regions involved repairing houses, replacing windows, delivering buses, and supporting municipal services to rebuild sustainable cities and communities. PCPM’s support in Ukraine was made possible by donor contributions via CAF America—together, we’re weaving a safety net of opportunity and resilience for those who seek refuge in Poland.

“The Polish Center for International Aid project is providing the opportunity for my child to learn in our native language. The qualified teachers have made their work engaging and motivating for children. The friendly and pleasant atmosphere in the Center helps children quickly adapt to new realities while maintaining a healthy emotional state and positive mood. Heartfelt gratitude to the organizers, project managers, and all the dedicated teachers working there!

Svetlana Suslova, mother of one of the students from PCPM Education Center

Charity Spotlight 5: Foundation Blagomay

About the Organization
For more than twelve years, Foundation Blagomay has been helping vulnerable children, importantly those left without parental care in orphanages, boarding schools, and family-type children’s homes. They also provide support for internally displaced people. The foundation assists with programs across many issue areas, from education and medical needs to emergency funds and basic needs. They provide care for more than 5,000 children across Ukraine, including support and programming in over 110 boarding schools, orphanages, IDP centers, and centers for social and psychological rehabilitation.

February 2024 Update
The Blagomay Charitable Foundation has provided significant support to Ukrainians during the conflict, in addition to its work over the past twelve years. Support from international donors played a crucial role, and has expanded the impact that the Foundation has been able to achieve.

Their work has spanned many areas, but notably has included evacuation efforts that relocated children and accompanying adults, including those with disabilities, from conflict-affected regions to safe areas within Ukraine and abroad, such as Poland, Austria, and Germany. Temporary housing initiatives supported internally displaced persons (IDPs) by constructing shelters in the Lviv region, accommodating 80 people, including 21 children, to help them find stability and recover from the trauma of war. Additionally, their Blagomay Hub provided a safe space for teenagers from vulnerable populations, offering various developmental and recreational activities, as well as psychological support through individual sessions with psychologists. Over 2,295 teenagers attended events and lectures, with support from 124 lecturers.

They also ran programs that focused on providing basic needs for local populations. The “Hot Needs” project gave immediate assistance, including food, medicine, hygiene products, and household items, to socially vulnerable groups and orphanages affected by the conflict. The project helped over 18,000 individuals and 18 orphanages.Another such program, centering on food security, distributed food supplies, including canned goods, milk, and cereals, to orphanages, social institutions, and IDP centers, benefiting 16,000 children and adults from vulnerable categories across Ukraine.

These are just five brief snapshots of the powerful work funded by CAF America donors, whose contributions helped local organizations fund their essential programming, ensuring that Ukrainians continue to receive the vital support they need.

For more information on CAF America’s response to the war in Ukraine, please take a look at the following resources:

  • Our resources page, which serves as a hub for the latest on our response work, including a list of all vetted charity partners approved for grants to support Ukrainians in need.
  • Our December 2022 podcast episode, which was recorded with partners Polish Polish Humanitarian Action, the Polish Center for International Aid and People in Need, on what to expect in Ukraine this winter.
  • A firsthand account of CAF America’s trip to Poland this in 2022 to meet with our grantee partners and see the impact of their work.
  • Our press release sharing 2022 Ukraine grant data with the wider philanthropic community.

About the Author

  • Margot Cunningham

    Margot Cunningham serves as CAF America’s Officer of Marketing and Communications. Her responsibilities include planning, creating, and implementing marketing and communications strategies, with a focus on building awareness of our mission and engaging prospects and donors with long-form content and event opportunities.

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