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Weinberg Foundation gives $1M in aid for Ukraine relief

In response to the growing humanitarian crisis created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation announced Wednesday a total of $1 million in three emergency grants to longtime foundation partners who are on the front lines assisting refugees, many of whom are Jewish.

On Feb. 24, Russian forces invaded Ukraine, launching a war that has already resulted in substantial devastation and loss of life. Ukraine gained its independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has operated as a peaceful democracy since. Following the Russian invasion, hundreds of thousands have already been forced to flee across borders into neighboring Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and other European states.

There are approximately 200,000 Jews in Ukraine: 60,000 are in Kyiv, 40,000 each in Dnipro and Harkov, with the remainder scattered across Odessa and the rest of the country.

The foundation, with the assistance of its partners on the front lines, will continue to assess the scope of humanitarian needs, including the possibility of additional emergency grants.

Receiving grants were:

  • $500,000 to the International Rescue Committee (IRC): The IRC is working to mobilize resources and connect with its partners on the ground to establish a response that will provide critical support to civilians forced to flee their homes. IRC reports that the current conflict has the potential to be the largest military action in Europe since World War II, with US intelligence projecting up to 50,000 people could be killed or wounded. In Poland, which is preparing to receive up to 1 million refugees, the IRC is working to scale up support for the government to provide for the basic needs of these individuals and families.
  • $250,000 to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): JDC is focused on delivering care to older adults and families. It is activating hotlines and emergency homecare plans, as well as securing safe facilities for Jewish individuals and families fleeing their homes. JDC has secured and prepared housing and basic necessities for 2,500 individuals with the ability to help an additional 10,000 displaced civilians.
  • $250,000 to The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI): JAFI is preparing for a significant and rapid increase in emergency aliyah (immigration) for thousands of Ukrainian Jewish individuals and families caught in the crossfire of this war.

The foundation’s response to other recent emergencies and disasters includes $18 million in COVID emergency funding to existing grantees; $250,000 in response to the 2021 US multi-state tornado outbreak; $100,000 to support those affected by the 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers condo building in Florida; $200,000 in response to the 2020 wildfires in Northern California; $1.2 million in response to the 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting; and $500,000 each in the wake of 2017 hurricanes Irma (in Florida) and Harvey (in Texas). The foundation also supported Israel in times of crisis, including $500,000 in emergency relief during the 2012 missile attacks in Israel and $700,000 for services supporting those affected by the Gaza conflict in 2014.

The foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, is dedicated to meeting the basic needs of people experiencing poverty. In 2022, the Foundation expects to provide approximately $140 million in total grant activity supporting nonprofits that provide direct services in the areas of housing, health, jobs, education, and community services.

The foundation’s priority communities include Baltimore, Chicago, Hawai’i, Israel, New York City, northeastern Pennsylvania and San Francisco, as well as rural communities within proximity to priority communities.