In 1992, shortly after Ukraine proclaimed its independence, a group of Ukrainian
ladies in Fresh Meadows, New York, sponsored a dinner and raffle to raise money
for Ukraine's orphans. They raised $1,504 ... and from those modest beginnings
an idea and a passion were born. It is one which now brings joy and comfort
to almost 1,000 of Ukraine's most vulnerable.
The Need: Anyone who has been following developments in Ukraine and the rest
of the former Soviet Union need not be reminded of the immense suffering brought
on by collapsing economies and corrupt bureaucracies. The social "safety
net" - even when it works - provides monthly stipends of $25.00 to pensioners
and the unemployed. Orphans, who have no voice and no one looking out for their
interests, are last in line. Not only are they deprived of the love and security
of parents, but they must rely on those who themselves are barely able to get
What Are We Doing About It? Although orphans in orphanages are worse off than
any other sector of society, we had to decide, early on, where we could do
the most good. Orphanages, controlled by the state administrators, are beyond
the monitoring capability of Western benefactors. But individual orphans, living
with grandparents, aunts, and uncles can be monitored with controls in place
to ensure that aid is used for the well-being of the orphan.
Our program is simple. We are looking for sponsors to commit $15.00/month to
support their choice of one (or more) of hundreds of orphans on our waiting
list. The sponsor will receive a photo and short bio of the child, and is encouraged
to correspond with the child. These children are selected from among those
families that appear capable of and are interested in raising a generation
of Ukrainians who will be a credit to their nation.
Our Support Network: Over the years, OAS has painstakingly put together an
organization in Ukraine that now has chapters in all 22 oblasts and sponsors
special events such as "St. Nicholas Day." It has established educational
programs to enhance orphans' knowledge of their nation's history, language,
and culture, and has organized medical and other support for youngsters of
extraordinary talent and promise. OAS has placed particular emphasis on checks
and internal controls, and has a high level of confidence in the integrity
and effectiveness of its aid.
Organization & Finances: Orphans'
Aid Society was organized as a not-for profit corporation under Section 8-1.4
of New York State's Estate Powers and Trust
Law. In 1994, the Internal Revenue Service awarded it a tax-exempt, tax-deductible
status as a 501c(3) charitable institution. OAS members are all voluntary workers
who administer the organization with only a razor-thin administrative budget.
In 1997, with a total income of $195 thousand, less than three cents on the
dollar were spent on administrative expenses - one-tenth the average for charitable