The UNA: its commitment endures
Yesterday, February 22, was the birthday of the father of our country, George Washington. But it was also the birthday of another father figure, "Batko Soyuz" - as the Ukrainian National Association has been called for decades.
The UNA, the oldest and largest Ukrainian fraternal society in the world, has turned 103 years of age. Now into the second century of its existence, this institution continues to serve as a foundation of our community life here in the United States and in Canada, and it continues to stay true to its time-honored tradition of caring for the well-being of its members and the community at large. It is able to do so, of course, because community members enroll as UNA members (by taking out life insurance policies). Their concerns become the UNA's concerns; their causes become the UNA's causes.
Indeed, at its 1996 annual meeting, the UNA General Assembly reaffirmed the UNA's commitment "to supporting and working with Ukrainian Americans and Ukrainian Canadians, Ukrainian educational institutions, and religious and civic organizations" on the goal of "preserving, promoting and developing our rich Ukrainian heritage, language, culture and the arts." It also voted to continue subsidizing the UNA's most important fraternal benefits, its newspapers, the Ukrainian-language daily Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, and its upstate New York resort, Soyuzivka. These benefits - which are unique among fraternal benefit societies - are most popular with UNA members and the community.
Though it may be considered old at 103, the UNA is using new means to reach out to its members and our community. In addition to publishing two newspapers, the UNA has begun publishing a newsletter called The UNA in Focus, and it has set up a homepage on the Internet. (Readers interested in receiving the newsletter may call the UNA's special projects coordinator at 201-451-2200; the homepage may be found at http://www.tryzub.com/UNA/)
It is also looking into offering new benefits and programs for its members. For example, the soon to be released March issue of The UNA in Focus reports that Soyuz and several Ukrainian credit unions have set up a joint program whereby persons who hold mortgages from these credit unions will be able to purchase UNA life insurance on very attractive terms.
Nor has the UNA forgotten its role as a benefactor of charitable, cultural and educational institutions. The recently established Ukrainian National Foundation, Inc., is proof of that. This tax-exempt [501 (c) (3)] entity intends to solicit government funds and foundation grants to accomplish its goals, and it will accept tax-exempt contributions from donors.
Thus, more than an century after it was founded, the UNA's raison d'être remains the same: our community. As long as our community exists, the UNA will be there, standing ready to serve its needs.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, February 23, 1997, No. 8, Vol. LXV
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