Richard King Mellon Foundation Proactively Funds Safety Net For Expected Ukrainian Refugees

PITTSBURGH (April 25, 2022) – The Richard King Mellon Foundation is awarding nearly half a million dollars to four Pittsburgh social-service agencies, to help them prepare for the expected arrival of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.  

“Ukrainians have been drawn to Pittsburgh for more than 100 years,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “We want to be ready to help when and if they come to Pittsburgh again. The tragic war against Ukraine already has displaced more than 10 million Ukrainians. Cities and countries around the world are ready to welcome them with open arms. This funding will help to ensure that Pittsburgh is ready to take its place among them.”  

Reiman said the foundation reached out to four Pittsburgh social-service organizations that have helped refugees from past international crises. “We asked how we could help them prepare for the expected arrival of Ukrainian refugees. The four agencies quickly generated proposals. And our Board convened immediately and approved this funding.”  

“Pittsburgh is blessed with a robust community of caring nonprofits with strong leaders who are eager to help those in need,” said Reiman. “The people fleeing Ukraine will need special assistance, particularly children. Our goal is to make sure the agencies that are willing and able to do that important work have the resource to do so and can use this time to prepare.”   “While this funding will help them begin preparations, the need may turn out to be far greater, and we invite other organizations and individuals to support these efforts as well,” Reiman said. 

The emergency grants, totaling $499,000, were awarded by the Foundation’s Board to:  

Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh – $100,000 – to provide mental-health, case management and related services to 50-75 refugees

Hello Neighbor – $100,000 – to provide housing, health care, education, employment and transportation assistance to 100 refugees  

Holy Family Institute – $174,000 – to provide education services (with Russian and Ukrainian-speaking volunteers), clothing and recreation supplies, welcome packages and counseling for 24 orphaned or displaced Ukrainian children.  

Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh – $125,000 – to provide emergency assistance for refugee families, such as food, clothing, rent, security deposits, utilities and other basic needs, for 75 people  

The Foundation’s funding is expected to enable services to up to 274 Ukrainian refugees.  

“Holy Family Institute and the other organizations in Pittsburgh that serve refugees are deeply grateful to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for their support and for their proactive thinking,” said Sister Linda Yankoski, CEO of Holy Family Institute and a leader of the Ukrainian preparations. “This funding allows us to prepare to meet the needs of families and children and to address the trauma and crises they have experienced.”  

The White House has announced plans for the United States to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.  

Pittsburgh has a significant population of people with Ukrainian ancestry. It is estimated that more than 40,000 people in the Pittsburgh area claim Ukrainian ancestry, the fourth-largest Ukrainian population in the United States.

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About the Richard King Mellon Foundation: Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and one of the 50 largest in the world. The Foundation’s 2021 year-end net assets were $3.4 billion, and its Trustees in 2021 disbursed $152 million in grants and Program-Related Investments. The Foundation focuses its funding on six primary program areas, delineated in its 2021-2030 Strategic Plan.