February 22, 2023

One Year of Humanitarian Response to the War in Ukraine

Author Joan Allmaras, Philanthropic Solutions Specialist

This week marks one year of war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. The devastation has been overwhelming. The UN has confirmed that at least 7,000 Ukrainian civilians—including hundreds of children—have been killed, and many more are maimed and injured. Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced in their own country, and the invasion has triggered the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

But as the war continues, so does humanitarian relief. Support from governments, businesses and the philanthropic sector continues to flow into the country and region. Candid reports a total of at least $2.7 billion in grants and pledges since this time last year from private philanthropists, and it’s likely the total is much higher when total charitable support is factored in.

The war has changed, but the case for humanitarian support remains as Ukrainians continue to suffer senseless violence and deprivation brought on by the invasion. Late last year, the UN estimated 40 million Ukrainians were in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. We’ve gathered updated information from some of the organizations that NPT’s donors are supporting with their grant recommendations, as well as the best ways donors can continue to offer meaningful assistance.

What major obstacles do Ukrainians face today?

There are currently around 7 million Ukrainians who have been displaced within the country. Many are originally from the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, which have experienced the brunt of the destruction. About another 8 million Ukrainians are refugees, seeking safety outside the country, the vast majority women and children. Ukrainians have fled to Poland and Germany, among other locations across Europe, and there’s evidence that thousands of Ukrainians have been forcibly deported to Russia.

Refugees and internally displaced Ukrainians share many of the same needs: shelter, food, emergency supplies, warmth from the winter cold and relief from the trauma of war. The focus for Ukrainians, including those enduring the war in-place, is still on physical, mental and emotional survival. First aid and emergency medical care remains important as Russian strikes continue to target infrastructure like electricity and water supplies. Many social programs have suffered as the government focuses on the war effort. Winter in Ukraine is never kind, but now millions of people can no longer depend on a reliable source of power or heat, placing Ukraine’s most vulnerable populations at an even greater risk of injury, illness and death.

What are the Ukrainians’ long-term needs?

Ukraine will need to rebuild itself both literally and figuratively: homes, businesses and infrastructure repaired, families reunited and the social fabric of Ukrainian society reknit. We do not know when the war will end, so we cannot project the extent of the need, but well-funded, long-term resiliency efforts will undoubtedly be necessary simply due to the sheer amount of damage that has already been done.

There will be a continued need for humanitarian aid, including resilience and rebuilding efforts, in the coming years. In addition to emergency aid, there are ongoing philanthropic opportunities to support the country’s future.

Where can donors give to support Ukrainians?

The best and most effective aid donors can provide today is still unrestricted support to organizations on the ground coordinating the humanitarian response and delivering critical aid and supplies. Here is a selection of organizations NPT’s donors have supported over the past year and important updates on their efforts.

Airlink (EIN 37-1710848)

Airlink, a charity connecting NGOs with logistics operations, activated its Europe Regional Response Plan days after the invasion. They have since helped coordinate delivery of more than 1,000 tons of emergency supplies.

CARE (EIN 13-1685039)

CARE’s Ukraine Crisis Fund is providing emergency response alongside partners in Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Slovenia. In December of 2022, they had reached more than 600,000 Ukrainians with assistance.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy (EIN 45-5257937)

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s CDP Ukraine Crisis Recovery Fund continues to fund humanitarian needs of internally displaced people and refugees. It also supports Ukrainian civil society groups supporting women, LGBT Ukrainians and the elderly.

Direct Relief (EIN 95-1831116)

Direct Relief has provided hundreds of millions of dollars of emergency medical aid in addition to direct cash assistance for Ukrainians and local health authorities in the country, as well as in Poland and Moldova.

HIAS (EIN 13-5633307)

HIAS, a historic American refugee-serving organization, continues to help resettle refugees within Ukraine and across Europe. HIAS is also assisting the more than 100,000 refugees who have arrived in the United States.

International Medical Corps (EIN 95-3949646)

International Medical Corps has been working in Ukraine since 2014 providing healthcare services and support. Today the organization is leveraging that experience in its continued delivery of health services, including mental health support and gender-based violence prevention.

Nova Ukraine (EIN 46-5335435)

Nova Ukraine existed before the 2022 invasion, primarily working on strengthening Ukrainian civil society and facilitating American-Ukrainian exchange. Since the war began it has raised and distributed more than $55 million in humanitarian assistance.

Razom for Ukraine (EIN 46-4604398)

Razom for Ukraine’s Emergency Response Fund is focused on distributing medical supplies to Ukraine. The organization is managing a network of partners to procure supplies such as gauze, tourniquets and sterile pads, then ship them to Ukraine and Poland.

Save the Children (EIN 06-0726487)

Save the Children continues to focus on families and children, delivering healthcare, food and other essential supplies to more than 500,000 Ukrainians, as well as mental health support, educational materials and family reunification services.

USA for UNHCR (EIN 52-1662800)

UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency, is coordinating the ongoing wave of refugees leaving Ukraine for Poland and other countries in Europe. It also implemented a direct cash giving program to provide short-term immediate relief to Ukrainians seeking to pay rent, buy groceries and afford other necessities in the face of supply-chain breakdowns, scarcity and climbing inflation in the country.

World Central Kitchen (EIN 27-3521132)

World Central Kitchen began its work in Ukraine early, serving hot meals to refugees at a busy, 24-hour border crossing checkpoint between Ukraine and Poland. Today WCK is still working in the country, delivering meals in some of the most war-torn regions in the east and for refugees traveling through the harsh winter conditions.

NPT is here to help. Contact us at (888) 878-7900 or npt@nptrust.org with any questions on grantmaking to support humanitarian relief for Ukrainians.