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UNA awards scholarships for 2023-2024 academic year

UNA awards scholarships for 2023-2024 academic year

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – After thoroughly reviewing student applications for the 2023-2024 scholarships of the Ukrainian National Association (UNA), the UNA Scholarship Committee met on August 8 here at the Home Office to make its final determinations.

The credentials of the applicants were excellent, and some students applied for more than one scholarship for which they were eligible. Thus, the decisions of the Scholarship Committee were challenging. The criteria used by the committee included academic achievement; community and college activity; awards and honors; and content of essays submitted with the application.

This year, there were 44 applicants from 23 UNA branches throughout the United States and Canada for the scholarships and awards.

Special scholarships awarded by the UNA include the following for undergraduate students, funded by generous benefactors: the Joseph and Dora Galandiuk Scholarship ($2,000) for a student excelling in accounting or the sciences; the newly established Orest and Lidia Bilous Family Foundation Scholarship ($2,000) for a student who is studying political science; the Dmytro and Slava Jarosewycz Memorial Scholarship ($1,000) for a student of Ukrainian heritage excelling in his or her studies; the Maria and Taras Slevinsky Scholarship ($1,000) for a student studying nursing; the Philadelphia UNA District Committee’s Stefan Hawrysz Scholarship ($1,000) for a student from one of the district’s nine branches; and the Danylo Andrii Demidenko Scholarship ($500) for a student studying in the medical field.

The UNA also sponsors five UNA Heritage Scholarships of $1,000 each for undergraduate or graduate students enrolled on either a full- or part-time basis. These scholarships – which focus special attention on community involvement – were established in 2019 to coincide with the UNA’s 125th anniversary.

In addition, all student members of the UNA can receive monetary awards for their college studies. These awards are granted upon completion of the senior year of high school and during the students’ college and post-graduate years. This year’s awards once again ranged from $125 for incoming freshmen to $250 for graduate students.

The following students are recipients of special scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year:

Galandiuk Scholarship – Mark Rokycky, UNA Branch 277, who is entering his sophomore year at the University of Connecti-cut;

Bilous Scholarship – Matthew Manas-terski, UNA Branch 120, who is entering his senior year at the University of Pittsburgh;

Jarosewycz Scholarship – Darij Kulchyc-kyj, UNA Branch 83, who is entering his senior year at Franklin & Marshall College;

Slevinsky Scholarship – Alexandra Soltys, UNA Branch 88, an incoming freshman at Stockton University;

Hawrysz Scholarship – Joseph Stefurak, UNA Branch 501, who is entering his sophomore year at Pennsylvania State University; and

Demidenko Scholarship – Natalia Skyba, Branch 399, who is entering her junior year at Dominican University.

UNA Heritage Scholarship recipients for 2023-2024 are the following:

Sophia Kowal, UNA Branch 27, a junior at Northeastern University;

Maria Kulchyckyj, UNA Branch 83, a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University;

Kaitlen Telepko, UNA Branch 234, a senior at Seton Hall University;

Paul Williams, UNA Branch 37, a senior at Wake Forest University; and

Adriana Zaviysky, UNA Branch 155, a junior at Rutgers School of Pharmacy.

The UNA is grateful for the continued support of all benefactors who fund scholarships for our community’s students. The UNA processes, evaluates and handles the administration of the scholarships they fund based on criteria they establish. Individuals or organizations interested in sponsoring a scholarship are advised to contact UNA President and CEO Roman B. Hirniak at the UNA Home Office, 800-253-9862, extension 3016.

In order to apply for a UNA scholarship or award, a student must have an active, premium-paying UNA insurance policy during the previous two years, with a minimum value of $5,000 (term life policies excluded). The UNA offers a variety of qualifying policies at competitive rates.

For more information about UNA insurance and endowment policies, as well as annuities, IRAs and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, readers are advised to contact their branch secretary or the UNA directly at 800-253-9862.

To learn more about the UNA’s scholarship program, readers may visit the website

In the more than 129 years of its existence, the Ukrainian National Association has always supported young people in their pursuit of higher education. In fact, the first UNA scholarships were actually small stipends awarded to promising students to help them attain a better future. The formal scholarship program, established in 1964, has awarded scholarships to thousands of young men and women – a legacy of which the UNA is justifiably proud.

2023 Ukrainian Cultural Festival

2023 Ukrainian Cultural Festival

Famed Ukrainian folk quarter DakhaBrakha headlines Soyuzivka Ukrainian Festival


Photo credit: Andrew Nynka

Ukrainian National Foundation President Roman Hirniak spoke during the evening gala.

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – The Soyuzivka Ukrainian Festival at the Ukrainian National Foundation’s (UNF) Soyuzivka Heritage Center took place over three days from July 14 to 16 with the famed Ukrainian folk music quartet DakhaBrakha headlining the festival’s Saturday night performance in front of several thousand guests.

The festival attracted visitors from many states to the daily exhibits and events, as well as enthusiastic audiences for the afternoon and evening stage shows. Arts and crafts vendors exhibited their wares on the plaza.

The festival kicked off with an evening concert at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 14, as individuals gathered in front of the event’s main stage to enjoy performances by Korinya, Roman Karpishka and Irina Petrik, Inessa Tymochko-Dekajlo and Ihor Dekajlo, Christina Yavdoshnyak and the Roma Pryma Bohachevsky Ukrainian Dance Workshop. Andrij Dobriansky emceed the evening concert.

Other festival guests took part in a gala and fundraising dinner at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 14, that included performances by Adrian Pysariwksy, Slau Halatyn, Ms. Yavdoshnyak. That gala was emceed by Roman Wasylyk. During the gala dinner, Soyuzivka Managing Director Stephen Barankewicz outlined a vision for a new outdoor dining area.

View: The Ukrainian Weekly: PHOTO REPORT: 2023 Ukrainian Cultural Festival

UNF President Hirniak addresses  gala attendees, highlights  Soyuzivka’s revival and growth

UNF President Hirniak addresses gala attendees, highlights Soyuzivka’s revival and growth

The following is the full text of the speech given by Ukrainian National Foundation President Roman Hirniak at the gala dinner on July 14 during the Soyuzivka Ukrainian Festival that was held at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center in Kerhonkson, N.Y., on July 14-16.

It seems that the father of a bright young son went to a wise friend for advice as to what profession the youth would be fit for.  The sage was brusque.  “Let the boy choose for himself,” he said.  “But,” protested the father, “he’s too young.”  “Well,” responded the wise man, “put him in a room alone with a book on theology, an apple, a knife and some small change and see what he makes of it.  If he chooses the book, make a minister of him. If he takes the knife, make him a surgeon. If the apple, he will make a farmer. And if he chooses the money, a banker.”  Much relieved, the father went away but returned in a few days complaining that the plan hadn’t worked at all.  “Why not?” demanded the wise man. “What did he do?”  “When I went in,” said the father, “he was sitting on the book, with the knife in one hand and the money in his pocket and [he was] eating the apple.” “Ah!” said the sage, “that’s easy. The boy is a natural-born lawyer.”

Всечесніший отче доктор парох [most reverend doctor father], ladies and gentlemen, добрий вечір [good evening].  As Роман [Roman] mentioned, my name is Роман Гірняк [Roman Hirniak] and I have the privilege of being the president of the Ukrainian National Foundation.  I’ll be returning to the underlying message buried in the earlier joke in a moment, but first I’d like to answer two questions that many of you may be asking yourselves: What exactly is the foundation and what’s its relationship to Союзівка [Soyuzivka].  As I think you all know, last year [2022], Soyuzivka celebrated 70 years of ownership in the hands of Ukrainians.  Now, while it was purchased by the Ukrainian National Association [UNA] in 1952, based upon guidance from its outside professionals, ownership of Soyuzivka was transferred by the UNA to the Ukrainian National Foundation in January of 2015.  Incorporated by the UNA in New Jersey in August of 1992, the UNF (i.e., the foundation) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable foundation and can most easily be understood by citing its Certificate of Incorporation: “The objects and purposes of the foundation shall include, but not be limited to, to cultivate, promote, sponsor and encourage appreciation and public interest in the rich cultural heritage of Ukrainian Americans; to produce cultural presentations, including festivals and educational events, relating to Ukrainian cultural heritage; to provide a forum for sharing Ukrainian cultural resources and to provide the Ukrainian-American community and other persons interested in Ukrainian cultural heritage with recreational, sport and cultural facilities.”

Pursuant to its bylaws, the UNF is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, which I’m honored to chair.  I’d like to take a quick moment to introduce my colleagues on the board, all of whom are here this evening.  Let’s first start with our treasurer, Slavko Tysiak, moving on to our secretary, Bohdanka Puzyk, and wrapping up with our four directors: Valentyna Tabaka, Andrij Cade, Volodya Krul and our newest director, Ariana Babczenko.  Collectively, we provide oversight, advice and guidance to Soyuzivka Managing Director Stephen Barankewicz and his leadership team, on making our оселя [Soyuzivka Heritage Center] bigger, better, stronger and more efficient.

If this all sounds to you like the hallmarks of running a business, then you happen to be correct.  However, the business model which we have here in Kerhonkson is not one of selling widgets.  Rather, it’s one of providing an experience.  One of facilitating, as our Certificate of Incorporation outlines, an appreciation of and public interest in the rich cultural heritage of Ukrainian-Americans.

About a year ago, at roughly the same time, Stephen and I stepped into our respective roles as stewards of Soyuzivka.  Not surprisingly, we viewed the proverbial big picture from an identical vantage point, having both worked here as young fellas many years ago.  We found ourselves, as well as others who were cut from the same cloth, using a singular catchphrase when referring to our vision of Soyuzivka at that time: 2.0.  In other words, the new model.  Over time, as with all catchphrases, ours underwent some massaging and is now one that you have begun hearing and seeing more and more of: revival.  That concept, which Stephen will be speaking to during his remarks, envisions an improvement in the condition or strength of something.  What I mentioned earlier, as making our оселя [Soyuzivka Heritage Center] bigger, better, stronger and more efficient.

Put simply, folks, it’s our turn to shape the legacy of Soyuzivka.  It’s our time to take what our predecessors began seven decades ago and steer it on the right path for at least the next 70 years.  That, ladies and gentlemen, with respect, is where you come into the equation.  Our doctors, our bankers, our theologians, our attorneys, our businessmen and businesswomen, each and every professional community which is represented in this room and in our broader громада [community].  Future generations will judge us on whether we took the baton and ran with it, or let it drop onto the track.  My colleagues and I on the UNF Board are solidly in the former category.  We plan on running with it.  And, in all candor, I absolutely realize that in sharing these words of encouragement with you, I’m preaching to the choir.  You are all here for the same reason that the seven of us are.  You intend to run with the baton, cement our legacy as one of growth and prosperity and leave our Soyuzivka better than it was when we found it.  As the young kids say, you folks “get it,” and for that, ladies and gentlemen, we are deeply and most sincerely grateful.

Along the lines of folks, or better yet, institutions who also “get it”, are our Кредитівки [Ukrainian credit unions], whose leaders for years now have rolled up their sleeves when asked to invest in our оселя [Soyuzivka Heritage Center], by donating funds in recognition of what they, to their absolute credit, understand as their singularly important position.  They are givers and we should do our part in supporting each of them and the financial products and unique membership benefits that they offer.

Please join me in taking a moment to recognize some of the individuals who are here with us this evening, as representatives of various credit unions.  On behalf of the Selfreliance Chicago Federal Credit Union Foundation, Dr. Andrij Hrechak.  Representing the SUMA Federal Credit Union, Treasurer and COO Ihor Makerenko and his lovely wife, Mariola, as well as Board Member Stefan Kapitula and his lovely wife, Teresa.  From the Nova UA Federal Credit Union, please join me in welcoming Chief Executive Officer Valeriy Bogattchouk and his lovely wife Ivana Lotoshynski, Supervisory Committee Chair Helen Newmerzyckyj, Supervisory Committee Member Irene Lesiw, and Board Member Pawlo Figol and his lovely wife, Olia.  And representing the Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union, Board Vice Chairman Stepan Kaczurak.

In conjunction with this year’s festival and this evening’s gala fundraiser, the foundation has been blessed to receive added and significant financial support from other credit unions and business entities, including Self Reliance New York Federal Credit Union, Rochester-headquartered Ukrainian Federal Credit Union and Winner Group Ukraine.  Ми всім вам сердечно дякуємо [We sincerely thank all of you].

As was stated by the founders of the UNA nearly 130 years ago, “In unity there is strength and it is not easily defeated.”  I invite you to continue exhibiting that unity by joining my colleagues and me in all of our efforts to preserve Soyuzivka’s legacy, to continue making investments in our future and continue advancing the betterment of the lives of our children … who will in their own time take the baton from us and run with it.  Let’s fulfill our obligation, meet our responsibility and feel the satisfaction of knowing that the heart of our Ukrainian culture will continue to beat loudly throughout these mountains.  Always remember … нема то як на Союзівці [There’s no place like Soyuzivka!].

Thank you for providing me with a brief moment of your attention.  May the lord god bless and preserve Ukraine at all times protecting her from malice.  Glory to Ukraine! Слава Україні!

Publish: The Ukrainian Weekly

Ukrainian National Foundation charts course for extended future of Soyuzivka

Ukrainian National Foundation charts course for extended future of Soyuzivka

NORTH PORT, Fla. – The Ukrainian National Foundation, Inc. (UNF), organized and incorporated in August 1992, has as its primary mission the promotion and cultivation of the rich cultural heritage of Ukraine.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable corporation, the UNF is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, which reorganizes at the beginning of each calendar year. Traditionally, the Board has worked to provide a structure for the growth of Ukrainian cultural resources within the Ukrainian-American and Ukrainian-Canadian communities. The following is a review of what the UNF does and has done:

  • Approved funding for the publication of a colorful Ukrainian children’s storybook called “Ivasyk Telesyk”;
  • Sponsored the English Teachers for Ukraine Program, to teach conversational English to students in Ukraine;
  • Promoted and organized fundraising efforts for the Lviv-based Vasyl Stefanyk Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine;
  • Continually aided in fundraising efforts for the National University of Ostroh Academy;
  • Managed a Publications Endowment Fund for the benefit of Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly;
  • Has owned the Soyuzivka Heritage Center since January 2015.

At present, the UNF Board includes President Roman B. Hirniak, Treasurer Gerald (“Slavko”) Tysiak, Secretary Bohdana Puzyk, as well as Directors Valentyna Tabaka, Andrij Cade, Volodya Krul and Ariana Babczenko.

Collectively, the members of the Board have vast experience in the business world and the greater Ukrainian community, with each member bringing to the table a wealth of knowledge and expertise in philanthropic work.

An attorney who has handled myriad legal matters regarding insurance, financial institutions and corporate law, Mr. Hirniak is also the president and chief executive officer of the Ukrainian National Association, Inc. (UNA). He is an active member of the Ukrainian diaspora, having served in leadership roles in many Ukrainian organizations and assumed senior positions in schools and various youth organizations. He is also the former mayor of Randolph Township in New Jersey.

Mr. Tysiak is the founder of E-3 Financial Solutions, an audit services firm. He has provided both audit-related services to local governmental entities and economic impact analyses for commercial development projects. Mr. Tysiak has also served on the Audit Committee of the UNA and is a former first vice president of that corporate entity.

Ms. Puzyk is a long-time volunteer at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center with various camps, programs, the Adoptive Families Weekend and has been a judge for the Miss Soyuzivka Pageant. She is currently a member of the UNA’s Corporate Board of Directors and serves as its secretary. She is also president of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) Branch 56 in North Port, Fla.

Ms. Tabaka is a department manager at RWJBarnabas Health’s Jersey City Medical Center, a comprehensive integrated health care system in New Jersey. She has been on the Board of the UNF for over five years and has been instrumental in organizing the Soyuzivka Festival for the past three years. She also serves on the Executive Board of the UNWLA.

Mr. Cade is an information technology specialist with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, where he develops and optimizes systems with corporate and consultative settings. He has an extensive knowledge of the Soyuzivka Heritage Center, having been a part of the previous management team. He is also a current member of the UNA’s Corporate Board of Directors and serves as one of its directors.

Mr. Krul, who has many years of experience in the hospitality and hotel management fields, has worked for the largest hotelier in the world. His expertise in digital marketing and e-commerce adds an extra level of knowledge to the UNF Board. He is also a former member of the band Svitanok, confirming his dedication to the promotion of Ukrainian heritage through music.

Ms. Babczenko is a manager at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) within the organization’s customer transformation practice. She is actively involved in the Ukrainian community and is passionate about promoting and preserving Ukrainian culture. In 2022, she drove awareness at PwC of the war in Ukraine, which led to nearly $3 million in donations to directly counter the effects of the war. She is an active member of the Plast Spartanky sorority.

At its core, the UNF is dedicated to ensuring the future of Soyuzivka Heritage Center, the UNF’s cultural gem. In their capacity as stewards of a nonprofit charitable foundation, the Board members strive to ensure that the Soyuzivka Heritage Center will expand beyond even what was envisioned by those individuals who purchased the property back in 1952. With the recent addition of Managing Director Stephen Barankewicz leading a revival at Soyuzivka, the course forward has been set.

The 15th annual Ukrainian Festival at Soyuzivka will take place between July 14 and July 16. All members of the UNF Board will attend the festival, participating in both the Friday evening gala and the weekend-long festival. They will each be available to answer any questions individuals may have.

source: The Ukrainian Weekly

UNA receives award from commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces

UNA receives award from commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces

Photo courtesy of the National University of Ostroh Academy

The state award “for assistance to the military” from the Armed Forces of Ukraine Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi was presented to President and CEO of the Ukrainian National Association Roman B. Hirniak.

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ukrainian National Association President and Chief Executive Officer Roman B. Hirniak received a state award from the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The award was presented by Prof. Eduard Balashov, rector’s assistant for international relations and fundraising at the National University of Ostroh Academy.

Mr. Balashov, in a letter to Mr. Hirniak, wrote: “We all thank you personally for your longstanding and selfless support of Ukraine, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National University of Ostroh Academy! We sincerely hope and believe in a quick victory over the enemy, and we will be happy to welcome you personally to the halls of Ostroh Academy and solemnly present you with this award from the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Mr. Hirniak accepted the award on behalf of the Ukrainian National Association, which since its founding in 1894 continues to support Ukrainians in their homeland.

“It is indeed a great honor for me to receive this distinguished award and on behalf of the entire Ukrainian National Association I humbly accept it,” Mr. Hirniak said. “I sincerely hope that I will soon have the opportunity to visit the Ostroh Academy in person.”

The National University of Ostroh Academy is located in Ostroh, a city in western Ukraine. Founded in 1576, the university is considered to be the first institution of higher education on the territory of present-day Ukraine.

The award, dated January 19, 2023, was presented “for assistance to the military.” The medal features the Virgin Mary holding a veil of protection over two crossed sabers, surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves.

Source: The Ukrainian Weekly