GFC is already supporting 28 community-based organizations serving children affected by the crisis. Children with disabilities, orphans, and refugees are now – unexpectedly, suddenly, and tragically – relying on our partners for help evacuating dangerous areas and obtaining food, warm clothing, and other necessities.
I’m truly grateful for the outpouring of support the GFC community has generated in response. In less than one month, GFC has received pledges of more than $1 million for our Emergency Response Fund. We’re using these funds to assist local partner organizations inside Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania, which are supporting Ukrainian refugees and those who remain in danger at home.
This is an unprecedented outpouring of support from our friends and donors during a crisis. Thank you.
I want to share some insights into GFC’s response, the experiences of Ukrainian children and families, and how your contributions are supporting our partners on the ground.
“How can we help?” This is the first email that GFC’s program staff send to our partners in times of crisis. When disaster strikes, our partners’ first priority is supporting children and youth. They don’t have time to think about applying for emergency funding. GFC knows this: We are often one of the first funders to reach out to our partners, to check on their safety, and to ask what they need.
The GFC team began reaching out to our partners in Ukraine within two days of the Russian army’s invasion at the end of February. Within a week, our team started sending emergency grants to our partners from GFC’s general operating funds, while we established our dedicated Ukraine Emergency Response Fund.
Since then, we have been issuing emergency grants as fast as possible and amplifying the voices of young people affected by the war.
As the crisis continues, we know our partners will need support for months and years to come. Ukrainian children who have fled their homes will need long-term support to continue their education, cope with psychological trauma, and adapt to new environments. We are preparing an ongoing response so that even when the news cycle moves on, GFC will not.
GFC has a growing network of more than two dozen partners in Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania. Some are community-based organizations that GFC has worked with for many years. Others became GFC partners this past winter through the Spark Fund. All are trusted, vetted local organizations that work with refugees, orphans, children with disabilities, Roma children, LGBTQ+ youth, and girls.
GFC is amplifying the voices and stories of Ukrainian youth and community leaders, sharing their firsthand accounts of events on the ground. We have made the decision not to identify our partner organizations by name, to protect them from possible retaliation as the situation in Ukraine evolves.
One story that has stuck with me is the harrowing journey of a Ukrainian partner organization that evacuated a group of 19 women and children with disabilities from Kyiv to Riga, Latvia. The staff was worried about how difficult it would be for children with disabilities to take shelter from bombs in basements, which are typically not wheelchair accessible, so they drove as many children as they could out of the country in a specially modified minibus.
From Latvia, this partner organization is supporting hundreds of families in Ukraine who have children with disabilities and need assistance getting to safety.
At the start of the war, the Executive Director said she was worried about how the organization was going to get funding to organize evacuations. But the next day she received an email from GFC with an offer to help. She said, “I felt like my prayers were answered because I don’t have time to apply to grants right now.”
With an emergency grant from GFC, this partner organization is sending small cash transfers to these families so they can purchase supplies like medicine and secure transportation to safer areas.
In our response, we’re balancing the need to provide immediate humanitarian support with long-term assistance that will enable our partners to sustain their work for months and years to come. We are issuing larger-than-usual emergency grants based on our partners’ needs. Whereas in past crisis situations our emergency grants have usually been around $2,000 to $5,000, our emergency grants for Ukraine are averaging $15,000 and growing higher by the day.
I want to emphasize that our ability to provide this type of funding for short- and long-term response is only possible because of your outpouring of generosity.
Our partners are using these funds to cover wide-ranging needs, including:
We are deeply grateful to you for sharing what you have to assist young people in Ukraine. We are humbled by the trust you have placed in us and are working hard to distribute these funds to our partners. Thank you for standing with Ukrainian children and youth.
John Hecklinger, President and CEO
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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