March 7, 2022

Giving to Help the People of Ukraine

By Becki Fiegel

Becki Fiegel headshot

“What can we do to help?” This is the question being asked by so many in our community, and around the world, as the humanitarian crisis unfolds in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As generous and compassionate people, it’s natural to want to help alleviate some of the suffering.

While MCF grantmaking is limited to Dane County, our fundholders can make distributions from their advised funds to support causes across the globe. If you do choose to make a gift to help the people of Ukraine, whether you do that through MCF using your fund or make a gift directly, it’s important to do some due diligence before selecting an organization to support.

Here are a few guidelines you may want to keep in mind:

  1. Send money to organizations, not individuals. It’s much harder to determine if a plea from an individual is legitimate, or that the money will get to those who need it most.
  2. Research unfamiliar organizations before you make a gift. If you’ve previously supported an organization working to help the people of Ukraine, you likely are confident in their legitimacy and ability to make a difference. If not, you can turn to a charity assessment site like Candid (whose research helps power our Greater Madison Nonprofit Directory). Or rely on one of the many lists various media outlets have compiled of trustworthy organizations. We’ve included several links below.
  3. Look for an organization with a track record of working in Ukraine or with helping refugees in similar crisis situations. They are far more likely to have the knowledge and connections with the people in the region that will allow them to have the most impact.
  4. Give in alignment with your values. If you’re not sure which of the many organizations or types of relief you should support, look at what aligns with your values. Are you concerned about mental health? Look for an organization that provides psychological support to children affected by war. Is the free press important to you? Support a news organization fighting against disinformation.
  5. Remember, if you would like to make a distribution from your MCF fund in March, be sure to submit your distribution request before March 15.

And if you have any questions about making a gift from your fund, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help.

Lists of reputable groups working in Ukraine, as compiled by various news media organizations:

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