How are Jews raising funds for Ukrainian Jews? The old-fashioned way

The Jewish Federations of North America announced during the weekend that they have surpassed their initial $20 million fundraising goal.

  Ukrainian Jewish refugees arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport, March 6, 2022.  (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH)
Ukrainian Jewish refugees arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport, March 6, 2022.
(photo credit: HADAS PARUSH)

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, hundreds of online funding campaigns have been launched, dozens of them in the Jewish world. Yet, most of the largest donations to organizations in the Jewish world are still given the old-fashioned way.

The JGive platform has launched five fund-raising campaigns since the invasion. The campaigns have so far raised about NIS 500,000, with the average donation standing at NIS 212.  About 2,200 donors have donated to these campaigns so far.

Ninety percent of the donations are in shekels and the rest in US dollars.

Uri Ben Shlomo Founder and CEO of JGive: “We at JGive mobilized like the rest of the world for the crisis in Ukraine and worked together with our social organizations to help urgent projects in Ukraine, through the support of donors from the general public.”

Ben Shlomo added that “In the online campaigns, we saw that most of the donations came from Israeli donors, which again shows that Israelis also feel a great mutual guarantee for Diaspora Jewry and mobilize to help those in need.

 Ukrainian Jewish refugees arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport, March 6, 2022.  (credit: HADAS PARUSH) Ukrainian Jewish refugees arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport, March 6, 2022. (credit: HADAS PARUSH)

The Jewish Federations of North America announced during the weekend that they surpassed their initial $20 million fundraising goal, raising and allocating an astonishing $24.5 million in just two weeks to help secure the Jewish community of Ukraine and others facing wartime difficulties. President and CEO of JFNA Eric Fingerhut said that “Communities do not wait until there is a fire to build a fire department, and the Jewish people do not wait until there is an emergency to create an effective system of rescue and humanitarian aid.” Yet, interestingly, just a bit more than $1,000,000 was raised on their online platform. The rest was raised from individuals in Federations across North America. When it comes to big sums of money the online platforms may create buzz and raise money from your average Jew, but the organizations raising lots of funds are actually fund-raising old-school style.

Fingerhut added that “We are proud that our system has both laid the groundwork for these organizations over the years and that our communities were so quick to answer the call to action at the moment it was needed.”

Two weeks ago The Jerusalem Post published an article about a new online funding campaign that hoped to raise NIS 250,000 for the Ukrainian-Jewish communities. Yet this week they secured only NIS 114,000.  

“Our brothers are in trouble: Solidarity with the Jewish communities of Ukraine” is the slogan of the campaign that was launched on Causematch.com by Israeli Jews. The organizers, Israelis from many professions, asked to remain anonymous. Most of the donations are small, like the ones on JGive.