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In 2022, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund awarded $385,000 in grants to organizations supporting communities directly affected by the Russia-Ukraine war. The RBF does not have a grantmaking focus on Ukraine but, due to the war’s impact on social, political, and economic dynamics in the areas where we work, the RBF board of trustees approved additional funds to support key humanitarian and civil society organizations in Ukraine, Poland, and Slovakia; no funds were diverted from existing programs.
The RBF’s immediate response grantmaking was informed by its experience in other emergency contexts. The RBF sought out organizations that had existing operations and networks in Ukraine before the Russian invasion and could meet humanitarian needs throughout the country, including in rural areas. We also directed funds to women-led organizations, which have historically played a key role in such crises. Understanding that violent conflict and forced displacement pose additional challenges for communities already facing systemic discrimination, the RBF gave particular attention to organizations serving populations left out of the initial humanitarian and philanthropic response to the war, including Black people. We provided as much flexibility to grantees as possible with long grant periods and unrestricted support.
Learn more about our immediate response grants in Ukraine below.
Founded in 1903, Caritas Österreich (Caritas Austria) is a social aid organization with an enduring commitment to prevent and ease the hardships of people in need. Working with Caritas Ukraine, Caritas Austria provides emergency shelter, food, and psychosocial support services in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Despite worsening conditions, Caritas decided to continue its presence in Ukraine wherever possible; approximately 1,000 employees are working in the country. Through its strong partner network, Caritas also supports the evacuation of particularly vulnerable groups—orphans, the elderly, people with disabilities, and those suffering from serious illnesses—from remote areas.
The Carpathian Foundation provides financial support, education, and advisory services for individuals and nonprofits working to improve conditions in eastern Slovakia. Founded in 1994, the Carpathian Foundation has supported over 1,000 projects and disbursed over €3 million in grants. Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, it has provided frontline support to Ukrainian refugees fleeing to or through Slovakia. The foundation has also helped to organize civil society organizations in eastern Slovakia by hosting training, discussions, and networking meetings for individuals and organizations in the region. It shares expertise with other frontline organizations that mobilize civil society in neighboring countries that are also receiving refugees from the war
The Alliance for Black Justice Poland
Five Polish organizations came together to form the Alliance for Black Justice in Poland (BJP) in response to the discriminatory treatment that Black people experienced while fleeing the war in Ukraine. BJP provided immediate transportation, legal, and food assistance to hundreds of people of color upon their arrival in Poland. BJP has now shifted to providing long-term support for Black new arrivals to Poland, where the challenges of integration are compounded by rampant anti-Black discrimination. Through anti-racism workshops for schoolteachers, continued direct support, and policy advocacy, BJP is working to make Polish society more welcoming.
Ukrainian Women’s Fund
The Ukrainian Women’s Fund (UWF) is the only women’s fund in Ukraine. It has supported feminist organizations, the women’s rights movement, and gender equality for over 20 years. Informed by its experience of the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, UWF supports women and women's rights organizations to address immediate humanitarian needs; since the early days of the Russia-Ukraine war, it has provided them with grants, training, and other resources. UWF is also working to ensure that women's perspectives are included in peacebuilding and recovery processes, as well as postwar national development priorities.