How to Help the People of Ukraine: A List of Trusted Charities in the Region

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As the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24th, a humanitarian crisis unfolded. Reports of Ukrainian citizens and residents evacuating their homes, hiding in underground shelters and subways, and families separating at the borders poured in through the news and social media.

As Americans it is difficult to watch an unprovoked invasion of a democratic nation.  As a parent, the desire to help Ukrainian citizens and their children as they abandon their homes to flee violence feels urgent, regardless of political affiliation.

There have been many announcements of relief efforts from local and international charities, as the region braces for a large-scale influx of Ukrainian refugees.  But use caution when selecting a charity to ensures the money you give benefits those you intend to help. 

Charity watchdogs are available to vet charities for reliability, and financial responsibility including Charity Navigator, Candid GuideStar and BBB Wise Giving Alliance.  Review these scores before donating, keeping in mind not all nonprofits are rated.

After assessing the most commonly recommended organizations working to help Ukraine, these are the highest rated, with established histories and a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.  Each one is actively engaged in fundraising for Ukraine humanitarian relief efforts:

  • Save The Children has a 100-year history of humanitarian efforts for children around the world. They have been working in Ukraine since 2014 and are fundraising to support Ukrainian children. Donate here.
  • Doctors Without Borders has a 50-year history of work delivering medical support and care in areas of conflict and poverty and has been working in Ukraine on a Covid-19 response. While they announced today they temporarily withdrew medical teams, they are preparing medical kits and teams for rapid dispatch. Donate here.
  • Care Ukraine Crisis Fund  has a 75+ year history of work supporting the world’s poor and delivering emergency aid.  Care will deliver food, water, hygiene kits and other support to Ukrainian refugees. Donate here. 
  • USA for UNHCR  is based in the US and fundraises domestically to support the work of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).  Because of this structure, USA for UNHCR can't be easily scored by the charity watchdogs, but lists that over 85% of funds directly benefit refugees.  UNHCR has received awards for its work, including the Nobel Peace Prize.  On Feb. 26th, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively announced a donation match up to $1million, Donate here
  • International Rescue Committee is an international charity that works in over 40 countries on the worst humanitarian crises, it has a 65+ year history and a 3-star charity navigator rating. It is currently working in Poland to aid refugees, Donate here
  • UNICEF is a United Nations agency that works in over 190 countries delivering humanitarian aid  to children for 75 years, it has a 3-star rating on charity navigator.  It has been working in Ukraine for 8 years, and is currently distributing supplies near the contact line.  Donate here.

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If you would prefer to give directly to a Ukrainian nonprofit, the Kyiv Independent news site has shared a list of recommended charities for humanitarian relief, and direct military aid.  These smaller organizations are harder to vet from afar. You can read this list here.

Avoid scams:  Give.org also shared a list of tips when donating to help Ukraine relief efforts. Most charities are requesting only financial support, international shipments of clothing or food are difficult to coordinate and deliver in areas of active conflict.

The UN has said they estimate up to $2Billion in aid will be needed to provide food, medical supplies, clothing and shelter to Ukrainian refugees over just the next 3 months.



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