Women’s Giving Circle Holds Event in Support of Ukraine

Members of the Women’s Giving Circle, a Fund of ECCF, hosted an educational event on July 26 to help community members learn more about the experiences of Ukrainian refugees. Natalia Ripeckyj, a Chippewa Valley resident with deep Ukrainian roots, along with Luda Anastazievsky, a Ukraine native and a volunteer in the Ukrainian American Community Center in Minneapolis, spoke about their families and how they have been directly impacted by the current crisis, along with ongoing efforts to get citizens to safety. 

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. According to the UN, over 9 million refugees have fled Ukraine. The majority of these refugees are women and children. The mission of the WGC members is to improve the quality of life for women and children in the greater Eau Claire area through collective philanthropy. They also educate the public about community needs, and few needs are currently greater than those of refugees who have fled the atrocities in Ukraine. Although Ukrainians have a long and proud heritage of settling in the U.S. for various reasons, including as refugees from WWI and WWII, today’s situation is especially dire. 

Speaker Bios. 

Natalia Ripeckyj was born in the US with Ukrainian heritage. She has friends and family in Ukraine. She is a member of the Women’s Giving Circle.  

Luda Anastazievsky, an educator and Ukrainian community activist, hails from Mariupol, Ukraine. Having made Minnesota home 31 years ago, she has dedicated 30 years of service to MN Public Schools. Her work has yielded outstanding results in diverse students’ learning achievements. Luda is passionate about community service and advocacy work. Since 2016, she has been the chair of the MN Ukrainian American Advocacy Committee (MN UAAC), which represents all major Ukrainian organizations in the Twin Cities. Representing MN's 17,000 Ukrainian Americans, Luda leads the Ukrainian community’s advocacy outreach to MN members of Congress. As programming director and board member of the Ukrainian American Community Center, Luda has been organizing and leading educational and cultural events for the past six years, including the annual Ukrainian Heritage Festival. Currently, Luda leads the Ukrainian Center’s efforts to assist newly arriving Ukrainian refugee families. 


Additional Resources 

More information about MN UACC and their new Adopt a Family fundraising campaign can be found here: https://uaccmn.org/ 

The Ukrainian American Community Center also created a bilingual MN Refugee Portal on its website to provide the information for the newcomers from Ukraine: https://uaccmn.org/refugee-resources/  


“Understanding the Ukraine Crisis: A Comprehensive Reading List” from Literary Hub: https://lithub.com/understanding-the-ukraine-crisis-a-comprehensive-reading-list/ 

“Ukrainian Immigrant in the United States” from Migration Policy Institute: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/ukrainian-immigrants-united-states#:~:text=The%20new%20Ukrainian%20arrivals%20are,United%20States%20as%20of%202019 

“Holodomor: The Ukrainian Genocide” from University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts, Holocaust and Genocide Studies: https://cla.umn.edu/chgs/holocaust-genocide-education/resource-guides/holodomor 


Ukrainian writer, Oksana Zabuzhko, addressing the European Parliament on Women’s Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-7ThmIqI1Y   

“Ukrainian Refugees Arrive to Open Arms in Seattle” from Voice of America: https://www.voanews.com/a/ukrainian-refugees-arrive-to-open-arms-in-seattle-/6532041.html   

“How Bad is Ukraine’s Humanitarian Crisis?” from Council on Foreign Relations: https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/ukraine-humanitarian-crisis-refugees-aid  


“11 Best Charities for Supporting Ukraine (Complete 2022 List)” from Impactful Ninja: https://impactful.ninja/best-charities-for-ukraine/  

St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church is sponsoring and supporting refugees. 515 University Avenue N.E. Minneapolis, MN 55413 Rectory: 612-379-2394 “For Aid for Ukrainian Refugees” on the memo line. 

 1-on-1 English practice for Ukrainian Youth. ENGin: https://www.enginprogram.org/