$800,000 raised for Ukraine by St. Louis Jewish community since Russian invasion began


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, 2022, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis along with the Jewish Federations of North America were uniquely positioned to respond immediately and effectively to the crisis due to their long presence in the region.

Less than a month later, two St. Louisans, Greg Yawitz, who at the time was chair of the board of Federation here, and Abby Goldstein, a lay leader at Federation, departed from St. Louis on a flight bound for Warsaw, Poland. They were among dozens of American Jewish leaders and organizations traveling to be a part of a larger Jewish effort to help feed, clothe and shelter Ukrainians in neighboring countries.

“I’ve got a carry-on for me and about 100 pounds of hats, gloves, socks, coats, Olivette Turkey Trot race shirts, Turkey Trot beanies, and more,” wrote Yawitz on social media in 2022.

Last week, Federation announced that since Yawitz and Goldstein’s trip, St. Louis donors helped raise $800,000 locally. All told  146 Jewish Federations in North America raised nearly $85 million.

It’s moments like this that remind us of the importance of the day-in and day-out work of our system,” said Brian Herstig, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. “We didn’t spring into action the day the war broke out in Ukraine. We work year-round building communities in more than 70 countries so that in moments of calm we see Jewish life flourish around the world, and in moments of crisis, we are ready to spring into action.”

What St. Louis’ $800,000 accomplished

Those dollars raised by St. Louis donors went towards the following.

  • 500,000 people received humanitarian assistance, relief or support
  • 700,000 meals distributed
  • 65,000 people supported in making aliyah
  • 130,000 received medical care
  • 4,000 medical and mental health professionals trained
  • 180,000 Ukrainian newcomers supported by our advocacy

Funds from Jewish Federations’ system-wide Ukraine relief have been allocated to their core partner agencies, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Jewish Agency for Israel and World ORT, as well as to over 85 NGO’s operating on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

In addition to providing humanitarian aid for refugees and leading a volunteer hub, Jewish Federations also advocated for expanded refugee rights and resettlement in the United States.