In Kyiv on 2 December, an Evening of Philanthropy in Support of Ukrainian Catholic University was held. Thanks to benefactors, 25 million hryvnias [~$US 681,000] for UCU’s development were raised. Donors established 61 scholarships for students and 10 stipends for professors.

Groups of people seated at tables watching three presenters in front of a large screen.

UCU Evening of Philanthropy in Kyiv, raffle of items of three rectors

The 16th Evening of Philanthropy in the capital assembled approximately 170 friends and benefactors of the university who together raised money for talented students and professors. The evening’s keynote speaker was the Head of the UGCC and Grand Chancellor of UCU, His Beatitude Sviatoslav. During a live broadcast from the USA, the guests were also greeted by UCU President Archbishop and Metropolitan of Philadelphia Borys Gudziak and historian and Professor of Yale University Timothy Snyder.

“UCU is not simply yet another educational institution in the higher circle of universities. It is the nucleus of the transformation and strength of the Ukrainian nation. Our university is a unique community of intellectuals, philanthropists, scholars, students, and graduates who are truly changing our society. In wartime it is very important to meet with friends and create a space for mutual support,” stated His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

Head of the UGCC and Grand Chancellor of UCU, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, speaking at the benefit dinner.

Head of the UGCC and Grand Chancellor of UCU, His Beatitude Sviatoslav

Answering a question about the secret of Ukrainians’ endurance, UCU’s Grand Chancellor emphasized: “It’s because we’re together; we support one another. Solidarity and generosity are the key to our unbreakable character, because we share our strength, energy, dreams, and abilities. I thank all of UCU’s friends, because you love our university and see its value and irreplaceable character.”

A woman walking through the silent auction at the Evening of Philanthropy.

Evening of Philanthropy, silent auction

The Evening of Philanthropy started with an intellectual discussion on the theme “How to grow wings for Ukraine?” Participating in the discussion were: Andriy Andrushkiv, UCU master’s in theology, teacher at the Business School, and soldier in Ukraine’s army; Vyacheslav Klymov, co-owner of Nova Post, co-founder and president of the Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs; Oleksiy Molchanovskyi, head of the UCU Innovations Office; Svitlana Khylyuk, head of the UCU Law School. Oleksandra Baklanova, professor and executive partner of pro.mova, moderated the discussion. You can watch a recording of the discussion HERE

The discussion “How to grow wings for Ukraine?” with 5 panel speakers.

The discussion “How to grow wings for Ukraine?”

“Everyone should do their work well. Soldiers on the frontlines do their work. And they trust the people around them, those in their unit and those throughout all Ukraine. When we say ‘I believe in Ukraine’s army,’ our task for the future is to act so that we begin to trust other institutions in Ukraine and build trust,” stated UCU graduate Andriy Andrushkiv.

Andriy Andrushkiv dressed in military uniform speaking on the panel.

Andriy Andrushkiv

UCU Rector Taras Dobko called all to help build the university: “Today you and I are living on the borrowed time which our defenders are providing for us. This should be productive time. Our top-priority tasks as an academic community are to generate hope, a vision of our country’s future, and the capacity to implement it. Many people are working to create the university, above all, professors, staff, administrators, and students. But UCU is also you, the guests of today’s philanthropic evening. UCU’s strength was, is, and will be in the active involvement of many thousands of people in Ukraine and abroad in the mission of the university and its implementation. Let’s create our university together!”

UCU Rector Taras Dobko speaking at the night of philanthropy.

UCU Rector Taras Dobko

Between speeches, the participants also viewed a film about the activities of Ukrainian Catholic University over the last year.

Archbishop Borys Gudziak thanked everyone for their participation: “The greatest danger for Ukraine is discouragement and frustration. It’s natural to be tired. Undoubtedly, the efforts we’re making will decrease. Experiencing such trickery and violence, bloodshed and death, the destruction of cities and dreams, it is natural to feel anger and hatred. However, the task for you and me is to look at these processes and try to understand what the Lord wants to say to us in these circumstances. Let us be certain that God’s truth will triumph… I thank each of you for your love. You support a university which you love. We love you and thank you for your support. Let us promise one another at the end of this year that this is not the end, that we are not giving in, that no one will take away our dignity, love, and solidarity.”

A darkened banquet room with Archbishop Borys Gudziak and Timothy Snyder on screen during the live broadcast

Archbishop Borys Gudziak and Timothy Snyder during the live broadcast

Timothy Snyder added: “I thank you that in this time of terrible war you are fighting and are an example for the whole world.”

Traditionally every year the charitable foundations Believe in Yourself of the Ivanchyk family and the Zagoriy Foundation and the company Nova Post donate significant sums to support UCU with student scholarships and professors’ stipends.

Vyacheslav Klymov, co-founder of Nova Post, during the discussion “How to grow wings for Ukraine?” emphasized: “For me, wings means energy. And we have to talk now about various types of energy which we will use so that Ukraine will win the war. The energy of economics and entrepreneurship will help our heroic men and women defend the country, because in two years it has become evident to all that victory is the bravery of our soldiers, heroism, the soul of society, but it is also money, economics that work, technology. And large businesses, and very small ones, are part of the Ukrainian resistance. It is our entrepreneurs who make drones, sew army uniforms, and prepare food for soldiers. My faith is based on the feeling of fantastic strength which entrepreneurs have, as characteristic Ukrainians who value freedom and are building prosperity around themselves.”

Vycheslav Klymov speaking

Vycheslav Klymov

Also, this year for the first time an “auction of donations” was held and collected more than 600 000 hryvnias. Everyone present in the hall was able to join in supporting the university by their donations.

During the Evening of Philanthropy, a silent auction was held, at which 40 artworks were presented, the work of talented artists, notable both in the country’s art world and throughout the world.

A woman looking at a painting at the silent auction.

At the live auction, conducted by UCU senator Kateryna Zagoriy, co-founder of the Zagoriy Foundation, seven lots were presented: “Ukrainian Bakhmut” (an illustration of Oleksandr Voytovych on packaging from Artemivsk salt and a gift bottle of Artemivsk champagne); a t-shirt signed by Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina; a surprise box with presents from friends and partners of the university; a weekend in Lviv (a stay at the 5-star Leopolis Hotel, a walk with Pavlo Gudimov, and a visit to UCU); a painting of Katerya Kosyanenko created for UCU’s official 2023 Christmas card; and two graphic works of Jacques Hnizdovsky. The most expensive lot was a gift from three UCU rectors: the book “Anna Yaroslavna,” signed by Archbishop Borys Gudziak (he is depicted in the book on a number of illustrations); a vase from a series of Kosiv ceramics from the collection of UCU Vice-President Fr. Bohdan Prach; and an incomplete collection of 25-cent coins with images of the American states and two books of one of UCU Rector Taras Dobko’s favorite authors.

A speaker on stage

Four embassies in Ukraine – the Canadian, French, Slovenian, and Lithuanian – donated items for the raffle, as did partners of the evening: the A-ba-ba-ha-la-ma-ha Press, Slow Food, the UCU Business School, Koza Dereza, Yevhen Klopotenko, Yarema Dental, Colonist, Fest Holding of Emotions, and others.

The evening’s musical guest was Yuriy Yosyfovych, a Ukrainian singer who revives little-known authentic songs from various regions of Ukraine.

The evening’s hosts were President of the US Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine and UCU senator Andy Hunder and TV host Olena Froliak.

Seated audience members at at table clapping

We asked our benefactors: Why is it important to support education in wartime, and how to grow wings for Ukraine?

“If we want Ukraine to exist as a country, then education and culture are the foundations about which we should not forget. Instead, we need to invest constantly, even during wartime, so that we will have a future.” Lyudmyla Pyshna, head of the Vidchui Foundation.

“Ukrainian Catholic University is a strong moral compass for students. It helps them understand that in life there is an important goal, not personal, or for the family, but much higher – skillfully governing Ukrainian society and the community with a common goal. And UCU’s special quality is that it shows young people this path.” Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Natalka Cmoc

“Ukraine’s defense is a complex technological process. So that the nation and country survive, we need intellect, because the enemy is much bigger and stronger. We need to defend ourselves with intellect, but not with gigantic human or financial forces. It is at this period that the requests for knowledge are great and crucial for the nation’s life.” – Vyacheslav Klymov, co-owner of Nova Post, co-founder and president of the Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs

“We need to think not only about how we can win this existential war but also about what Ukraine will be after the war. UCU is fostering a generation of students who are very oriented to values, patriotic, responsible, and decent, who are ready to take on more responsibility. It is they who will be able to give answers to these questions.” – Nataliya Popovych, founder and president of One Philosophy, UCU senator emerita

A group of attendees talking in the silent auction room

The Evening of Philanthropy in Support of UCU was possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors: Darnitsa Pharmaceutical Company, the Believe in Yourself charitable foundation, Nova Post company, OKKO network, Winner, Zagoriy Foundation, Grammarly, Agrosem, and Wolf Theiss Law Firm.

A presentation slide showing different sponsor logos

Drink sponsors: Morshynska, Carlsberg Ukraine

Media partners: Hromadske, Espreso TV, ICTV.

Informational partners: ACC and SUP

A full ballroom of attendees seated at tables raising numbered auction signs.

Auction of donations