Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked the world and prompted swift international recriminations. But as images emerged of devastation wrought by the war, Canada Gives Foundation account holders did as they always do in a time of crisis: they sprung into action with their generosity and desire to make a difference. To date, our Client Services team has been inundated with questions about how to support charitable organizations that are delivering aid to Ukraine.
Needless to say, the situation in Ukraine is extraordinarily fluid. Battlefronts have shifted over the past six weeks, residents’ needs have changed and a diaspora of fleeing Ukrainians has created a humanitarian crisis in countries like neighbouring Poland, which is struggling to support successive waves of refugees. Matters are likely to become worse before they improve, as the Russian government shows no signs that it plans to forego further incursions into Ukrainian territory. In fact, their forces are now regrouping for a renewed offensive in the country’s east.
Charity research and due diligence
So, where does that leave the many Canada Gives philanthropists looking to make an impact in the region with their charitable dollars? Because our team regularly conducts research on, and assesses the impact of, a wide range of charitable organizations working across causes, they were well equipped to respond in this instance. One of the first steps was tapping the experience and expertise across our own network. One of our Foundation families, for example, has deep Ukrainian roots and has long supported causes in their homeland. They have direct channels to Ukraine-based charities through multi-year charitable relationships. Our Client Services team was able to leverage their insights to better understand the situation on the ground—everything from geography to social structures and demographics—and provide guidance to other donor clients aiming to help.
Next, we began vetting various charitable organizations to understand their support models and to identify those that might be best suited to helping our donor clients achieve their giving objectives in Ukraine. Based on our experience conducting the same process for philanthropists providing support in other crisis situations such as natural disasters, we understood that sometimes the well known, multi-national charities are not best equipped to make the most immediate on-the-ground impact.
The reason is that their missions are often broadly-based. If they can’t properly deploy funds in a specific area in crisis, those funds might be used to provide aid to causes in the general vicinity of that crisis hotspot. As such, charities with more targeted missions—in this case, with personnel in Ukraine (or en route) and with experience working with the local language, culture and customs—are probably better suited to providing relief in a particular circumstance than those that take a more regionalized approach to their support.
Lastly, we assembled a list of charities working in Ukraine for our donor clients to review. These reports are designed to provide them with the background and knowledge necessary to make effective giving decisions, just as we help them formulate a coherent philanthropic strategy centred on the Ukraine crisis. The reports include:
- Charity contact information including website, email addresses and phone numbers
- Background information on the charity’s programs and, where applicable, recent program updates at the time the report was prepared
- Vision and mission statement
- Activities outside of the current crisis
- The most recent financial information
- Additional comments, such as the charity’s recent fundraising work in Canada
- Information on making a grant to support that specific organization, including through the Canada Gives Donor Portal
From there, our donor clients reviewed the research and made their grant requests, which our Client Services Team organized and managed as part of our standard grant management process. Here is a selection of the charities that we identified as making an active, meaningful difference in Ukraine. They also met our due diligence standards for impact, financial responsibility and comprehensive reporting:
- BCU Foundation
- Canada Ukraine Foundation
- Canadian Foodgrains Bank Association
- The Canadian Red Cross
- Canadian UNICEF Committee
- Care Canada
- Doctors Without Borders
- Global Medic
- Save the Children
- United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- World Food Programme
Of course, there are many more charities working on the ground in Ukraine and delivering much-needed relief and services. Feel free to contact our Client Services team for additional information.
Our aim is to ensure that you not only have a broad perspective on the giving opportunities in Ukraine, but that your charitable dollars are making a meaningful difference to those most affected by the war.
Stay tuned for our new Crisis Support portal
As is so often the case, your generosity has inspired our team to innovate. With the sheer number of inquiries about charitable support for Ukraine, we saw an opportunity to update our website to better serve your needs. We’re in the process of building a new ‘Crisis Support’ portal that will allow you to access information about crisis situations in Canada and around the world—from conflicts to natural disasters, and more—access background resources and our vetted reports on the various charitable organizations that we encourage you to support. We’ll also be incorporating a direct donation tool where the public can make a general donation to Canada Gives that will be forwarded to organizations supporting the crisis in Ukraine.
With added insights, analysis and all the tools you need to take action, there’s no limit to what you can achieve as you work to make the world a better place both at home and abroad.
The Canada Gives team