NANTUCKET, Mass. – More than 20 years ago, Peter R. Jarosewycz was looking for a way to contribute to the community of Ukrainians in the United States. At the time, Mr. Jarosewycz was a 52-year-old attorney living in Kansas City, Mo., far removed from the larger pockets of Ukrainian Americans in Chicago, New York, New Jersey or elsewhere. But he believed he could still contribute in some way.
“Everyone has something to offer, in terms of volunteering their time or talents or skills, or making monetary contributions, according to the degree of their individual commitment and resources,” Mr. Jarosewycz said for a story that ran in the December 10, 2000, issue of The Ukrainian Weekly.
Now 73 and retired, but still living in Kansas City, Mo., Mr. Jarosewycz feels no differently than he did two decades ago, and the need to help Ukrainian diaspora organizations has only grown, particularly as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Given his own circumstances, including the fact that Mr. Jarosewycz lives in the American heartland, far from any major Ukrainian American community, he decided back in 2000 that the best thing he could do was to make monetary donations.
Mr. Jarosewycz established a memorial Gift Fund, through Fidelity Investments, to honor his parents and aunt, Dmytro, Maria and Olha Jarosewycz, who instilled in him an appreciation of his Ukrainian heritage.
To date he has made a total of approximately $220,000 in donations to mainstream Ukrainian organizations, including $65,000 to the Ukrainian National Foundation (UNF), a 501 (c) (3) organization that performs charitable activities on behalf of the Ukrainian National Association (UNA). He considers his donations to the UNF especially significant because they support different projects that he believes are vitally important to the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States and Canada.
Although Mr. Jarosewycz believes that all of the UNF projects are important, two in particular stand out. The UNA Publications Endowment Fund and the fund that supports the Soyuzivka Heritage Center are particularly vital to him because if the institutions that these funds support disappeared, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace them, he said.
The UNA Publications Endowment Fund exists under the aegis of the UNF. The endowment’s goal is to ensure the future of Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, two international newspapers that have served the Ukrainian diaspora for many years – 127 in the case of the Ukrainian language Svoboda, and 87 years in the case of The Weekly.
Mr. Jarosewycz noted that both Svoboda and The Weekly are the main channels of information, ideas and communication among Ukrainians, especially in the United States and Canada. He added that subscriptions to both papers can also be given as gifts, either to family and friends or to people who are not Ukrainian but who should be aware of news about Ukraine and the diaspora.
Mr. Jarosewycz also spoke of the importance to the Ukrainian diaspora of the Soyuzivka Heritage Center, which he called an irreplaceable resource. He said he wants to ensure that the 400-acre resort, which is located in the Catskill mountains of New York state, remains accessible for younger generations of Ukrainians in the diaspora.
The center is not only a hub for older generations who reminisce about their youth, Mr. Jarosewycz said, but it is also a summer center for the younger generations, be it young parents with their toddlers at “Tabir Ptashat,” young dancers at the Roma Pryma Bohachevsky Ukrainian Dance Academy Workshop, or young adults looking for a place to mingle with others. In order to flourish, this younger generation must have a place like the Soyuzivka Heritage Center to congregate, he said.
Mr. Jarosewycz also established the Jarosewycz Family Scholarship under the UNF. That scholarship has been available annually for several years to any qualified UNA student member in the amount of $1,000.
In 2010, Mr. Jarosewycz also established the Jarosewycz Family Scholarship in Ukrainian Studies at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, which has one of the few Ukrainian Studies Programs in the United States.
Mr. Jarosewycz said such scholarships offer a wonderful living memorial to loved ones, and he encouraged others to consider establishing similar scholarships.
Those wishing to establish a memorial fund, or to contribute to any specific project, may call the UNA at 973-292-9800. Staff are available to answer questions and provide assistance for individuals who would like to make financial gifts. All contributions to the UNF are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Contributions can be specifically earmarked to a favorite project, such as a scholarship, or to various funds established under the UNF, such as the fund to support Soyuzivka or the UNA Publications Endowment Fund.
Readers who would like to support any of the UNF projects may send checks payable to the specific fund to the Ukrainian National Foundation, 2200 Route 10, Parsippany, NJ 07054.