April 30, 2022

President Biden announced last Thursday that another $800 million in military aid would be sent to Ukraine to help in the fight against invading Russian forces.

The President remarked that his actions “sent an unmistakable message to Putin: He will never succeed in dominating and occupying all of Ukraine.” As the world watches, the Ukrainian people have fought back with such tenacity and an unbending spirit. I know I can speak for everyone at Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) when I say our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine, and we are in absolute awe of their resolve.

THCF has been assisting fundholders in awarding more than $37,000 to charitable organizations assisting with Ukrainian relief since this needless war began in February, funding much-needed humanitarian efforts for those fleeing the violence. While the President and our nation’s allies send aid to the Ukrainian military, the outpouring of local fundholder support for the people of Ukraine has been heartening.

Each day that passes is another day the Ukrainian people suffer. Like many of you, I often feel powerless in situations like this, when a crisis is so urgent and dire. And although I have leaned on my faith, I know prayers alone will not stop the Russian incursion.

Each year, the THCF allocates a modest amount of funding that, as the President & CEO, I can use in support of community-focused activities that come up throughout the year. So, when I received a request for an upcoming Ukraine Relief Benefit Fundraiser, I knew this was an opportunity to do something in our community that would impact people well beyond our borders.

Truman Heartland Community Foundation is proud to sponsor The Czech/Slovak Club of Kansas City’s Ukraine Relief Benefit Fundraiser happening Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Mike Onka Memorial Hall. Located just inside the William Henry Harrison Park at 11520 Putnam St. in Sugar Creek, the event will feature the tastes and sounds of Eastern Europe. With beer and wine tastings, live ethnic music, food trucks, and loads of entertainment, it is sure to be a hugely successful event. Tickets are just $35 and can be purchased at slavicfest.com/together-ukraine.

The UN’s refugee agency has reported that more than 1.7 million people have become refugees due to the Russian invasion. And as is often the case, women, children, marginalized communities, and the poor have been the most profoundly affected. Funds raised at the Ukraine Relief Benefit Fundraiser will support specific organizations in the Czech and Slovak Republics providing humanitarian aid to displaced Ukrainian refugees. Support may include transportation, medical and mental health services, accommodations, food, and clothing to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity.

If you feel powerless, take action and get involved in any way you can. I invite you to come out and enjoy the Ukraine Relief Benefit Fundraiser, donate to humanitarian organizations like People in Need or Heart to Heart International, and continue to pray for peace.

Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through cooperation with community members and donors. THCF serves the region with assets of more than $50 million and annual grants surpassing $4.8 million. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.