UNA financial stability comparable with 25 leading U.S. life insurance companies

UNA financial stability comparable with 25 leading U.S. life insurance companies

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – An independent, comparative analysis of the Ukrainian National Association’s (UNA) key financial ratios as of December 31, 2022, prepared by Standard Analytical Service, Inc., concluded that, based on financial results achieved in the year ended in 2022, the UNA received a rating of “favorable” when compared to the aggregate averages of 25 of the leading life insurance companies in the United States.

The report focused on areas of solvency (assets for each $100 of liabilities), liquid invested assets (bonds, stocks, cash and short-term investments for each $100 of liabilities) and additional organizational strengths based on assets, reserves and surplus.

The UNA showed assets of $107.05 per each $100 in liabilities and $102.42 of liquid invested assets per $100 of liabilities. The average among the top-25 companies was $47.54.

Other ratios show further proof of financial strength and stability. For example, per $1,000 of life insurance in force, the UNA had $1,825.93 in assets, while the average among the 25 companies was $149.03, it had $1,642.62 in reserves, while the average for the 25 companies was $63.69, and it had $120.27 in surplus, while the average was $9.75.

The UNA’s financial statement summary, as of December 31, 2022, included the following financial metrics:

Admitted Assets – $180,887,413
Policy Reserves – $162,728,249
Total Liabilities – $168,972,379
Gross Surplus – $11,915,034
Insurance in Force – $99,066,000
Benefits to Policyowners – $15,764,368
Net Investment Income – $8,542,267
Total Income – $21,467,953
Insurance Issued – $1,071,000

“We are tremendously pleased with our numbers when compared to these leading companies in the U.S., which have been in business for an average of over 100 years and own a significant portion of invested assets and life insurance in force,” said Roman B. Hirniak, the UNA’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“When you examine those numbers, as against prior year 2021, you immediately notice that our assets increased by just under $2 million, our net gain from operations reflects a 93 percent increase in profit, our surplus increased by 2.1 percent and we were able to reduce operating expenses by roughly $56,000,” Mr. Hirniak said.

“When you couple those results with the attractive annuity products and crediting rates the UNA is offering, it’s clear to see that we’re singularly focused on earning the public’s confidence, while maintaining the fraternal nature of our organization and resultant membership benefits,” Mr. Hirniak said.




of the
will be held at
Soyuzivka Ukrainian Heritage Center in Kerhonkson, NY
Friday, May 13, 2022 – Sunday, May 15, 2022

In accordance with the By-Laws of the UNA, information about Branch elections of Delegates to the 40th Regular Convention, Delegate qualifications, number of Delegates that will represent each Branch, as well as information regarding the Credentials Form for Delegates, is provided below. The UNA General Assembly issues this call of the 40th Regular Convention (further Convention). The transition of the UNA from a General Assembly governing structure to a Corporate Board of Directors governing structure is effective as of July 1, 2022. In preparation for the Convention, please review the section “IMPORTANT INFORMATION” and act to meet the requirements.


UNA Governance and Membership:
UNA adopted new By-Laws that went into effect on January 31, 2020. However, not all elements of these By-Laws can be implemented until the Corporate Board of Directors (CBD) is elected and seated at the start of the next administrative year that begins July 1, 2022. Until July 1, 2022, UNA’s corporate governance remains in a transition phase between the existing governance structure, during which the General Assembly (GA) acts to accomplish UNA objectives, and the future governance structure, after which all executive powers will rest with the CBD. During the transition phase, the GA will continue to function as UNA’s governing body equivalent to the CBD. For purposes of the 40th Regular Convention to be held May 13-15, 2022, all references to Corporate Board of Directors (CBD) are changed to General Assembly (GA)

Consistent with New Jersey statutes, all Annuitants are now considered UNA Benefit Members. Annuitants can participate in UNA activities that include voting for Delegates to serve at the Convention and to represent their Branch. Given this new addition to of UNA membership, as well as the fact that we are in a transition phase, the UNA waives payment of dues to the Fraternal Fund for Annuitants through the current UNA administrative year ending June 30, 2022. Starting July 1, 2022, Annuitants will need to pay annual dues to the Fraternal Fund as established by the UNA.

Please note a one-time change to address the issue of UNA members with paid-up policies who reside in states where the UNA is not doing business currently. For purposes of the 40th Regular Convention these policyholders will be allowed to participate in the selection of Delegates and to stand for election as Delegates to the Convention. These policyholders will be considered UNA Social Members with payment of dues to the Fraternal Fund waived through the current UNA administrative year that ends June 30, 2022.

Important Dates:
The election of Delegates and Alternate Delegates must be held within 60 (sixty) days of the Announcement of the Convention. Since the Convention was announced on January 13, 2022, the 60-day term for election of Delegates and Alternates ends on March 14, 2022. Please hold Branch elections prior to this date.

Within 10 (ten) days of Branch elections, and not later than 60 (sixty) days prior to the Convention, March 14, 2022, the Branch shall submit to the National Secretary-Chief Operating Officer (COO) the Credentials Form listing the names of such elected Delegates and Alternate Delegates. This Credentials Form will be given to the GA for approval. Any Branch failing to comply shall be considered as having forfeited the right to representation and to vote at the Convention, except for good cause, which may be determined by the GA. Good cause shall be defined as the inability of Branch officers to comply in a timely fashion for demonstrable reasons beyond their control.

Branch Elections of Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Convention:
Nominations for election of Branch Delegates shall be received from the floor or by electronic means. All candidates shall be presented to the Branch membership for a vote. The candidate(s) receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected as Branch Delegate(s). Branch Alternate Delegates shall be elected by separate vote in the same manner. All tie votes involving Delegates or Alternate Delegates shall be immediately resolved by another ballot for the candidates involved. Every Branch member in good standing shall be entitled to one vote for each Delegate and Alternate Delegate authorized to the Branch. No vote by proxy shall be allowed.

If a Delegate is unable to attend a Convention, an Alternate Delegate shall be seated, and shall remain seated for the duration of the Convention. If a Branch has more than one Delegate, the seats of the absent Delegate shall be occupied by an Alternate Delegate(s) in the order of the number of votes each person received during the Branch election.

Confirmation of the Delegates and Alternate Delegates:
Although duly qualified and elected by the Branch, no person shall be seated as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate until credentials have been approved by the GA. At least 30 (thirty) days prior to the opening of the Convention, April 13, 2022, the GA shall ascertain the qualification of each such elected Delegate and Alternate Delegate and shall have the names of all approved Delegates and Alternate Delegates published in UNA official publications.

In the event of the rejection of a Delegate, the Alternate Delegate, if qualified, shall serve for their Branch as a Delegate. If both the Delegate and the Alternate Delegate are not approved, then the Branch shall be notified immediately, whereupon, within 10 (ten) days from such notification, the Branch shall hold a Special Meeting to elect other members as Delegate(s) and Alternate Delegate(s) to replace the individuals who were not approved.

A new Credentials Form, reflecting the results of the Special Branch Election, shall be submitted to the National Secretary-Chief Operating Officer (COO). The Delegate and Alternate Delegate elected at the Special Meeting, likewise, shall be subject to approval by the GA, which shall retain such authority until, and throughout, the Convention.

Duly elected and approved Delegates and Alternate Delegates shall serve not only at the next Regular Convention, but also at any subsequent Special Convention following the Regular Convention, and until such time as their successor Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the next Regular Convention have been elected and approved.

Membership Categories:
The following members may be elected as Delegates:


  • Any individual age 16 or older.
  • Has been accepted for membership in accordance with UNA By-Laws and as determined by the GA.
  • Is current in paying premiums on a certificate of insurance or holds an annuity contract.
  • Currently, pays dues to the Fraternal Fund or as stated in “IMPORTANT INFORMATION.”
  • May participate in the affairs and activities of the local Branch in which they are a member.
  • Upon reaching the age of 18, a Benefit Member may:a) Be elected as a Delegate to the Convention,
    b) Hold office on local and national levels,
    c) Has the right to vote in the corporate and insurance affairs of the Association.
    d) Annuitant Members please reference “IMPORTANT INFORMATION.”

B) Senior Social Member

  • Is a person age 65 or older.
  • Has been accepted for membership in accordance with the By-Laws and as determined by the GA.
  • Has a paid-up certificate of insurance.
  • Pays dues to the Fraternal Fund.
  • May be elected as a Delegate to the Convention.
  • Hold office on local and national levels.
  • Has the right to vote in the corporate and insurance affairs of the Association.

C) Social Member

  • A policyholder in any state where the UNA is not currently doing business shall be considered a “Social Member” with dues to the Fraternal Fund waived through the current UNA administrative year ending June 30, 2022. Beginning July 1, 2022, Social Members will need to pay dues to the Fraternal Fund as established by UNA.
  • May participate in the affairs and activities of the local Branch in which they are a member.
  • May be elected as a Delegate to the Convention.
  • Hold office on local and national levels.
  • Has the right to vote in the corporate and insurance affairs of the Association.

Member in Good Standing

  • Is one who is current in paying their insurance premium and Fraternal Fund dues as defined in “Membership Categories”.
  • Senior Social Members and Social Members with paid up policies and are current with Fraternal Fund dues.
  • Annuitants who are current in their Fraternal Fund dues. Please reference “IMPORTANT INFORMATION”.

Branch Qualification for Members in Good Standing:
Only UNA members in good standing may be present at the Branch meeting and vote for Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the convention.

  • A Branch Member in Good Standing may vote only at the Branch where they pay dues to the Fraternal Fund.
  • A Branch Member in Good Standing has a certificate of insurance or annuity in the UNA on which dues are being paid.
  • A member may not be present at the meeting nor vote if they transferred to forbearance status, have paid-up insurance, and not paid fraternal dues, or are suspended.

Qualification for Branch Members as Delegates and Alternate Delegates in Good Standing:
Only those members may be elected as Delegates or Alternate Delegates who are in Good Standing and have all the following qualifications for an officer of the Branch:

  • A member of the UNA not less than one year and of their Branch not less than six months.
  • Pays dues to the Fraternal Fund. Please reference “IMPORTANT INFORMATION.”
  • Is over 18 years of age.
  • Is of Ukrainian or other Slavic heritage, or any person related through marriage to such a person of Ukrainian or other Slavic heritage.
  • Is not an officer or assembly officer, agent or salesperson of any other similar fraternal organization or life insurance company.
  • Is fulfilling all obligations toward the UNA, in particular, having shown active participation in organizational and promotional work for the UNA.
  • No person shall be eligible for Delegate or Alternate Delegate position who, at any time, unjustifiably or maliciously instituted or caused to be instituted any suit, action or proceeding against the UNA either on their own behalf or on behalf of any other member.
  • Is an American or Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident of the United States or Canada.
  • Is proficient in the English language.
  • Shall not have a felony conviction of record.

Number of Branch Delegates:
Every duly established Branch in good standing, having 50 (fifty) or more eligible members, shall be entitled to representation and to vote on all matters to be acted upon at the Convention as follows:

  • Branches having 50 (fifty) to 99 (ninety-nine) members inclusive, 1 (one) Delegate.
  • Those having 100 (one-hundred) to 149 (one-hundred forty-nine) members inclusive, 2 (two) Delegates.
  • Those having 150 (one-hundred fifty) to 199 (one-hundred ninety-nine) members inclusive, 3 (three) Delegates.
  • Those having 200 (two-hundred) or more members, 4 (four) Delegates.
  • Each Delegate shall be entitled to 1 (one) vote.
  • No Branch shall be entitled to more than 4 (four) votes.
  • A Branch having less than 50 (fifty) members, for the purpose of representation at the Convention, may unite with another Branch also having less than 50 (fifty) members, and if, when combined, the aggregate of the two Branches shall be no less than 50 (fifty) members. They shall have the right to elect 1(one) Delegate. The unifying of Branches is subject to the approval of the National Secretary-Chief Operating Officer (COO).
  • Unless otherwise agreed by the mutual consent of both Branches, the Branch having the greater number of members shall be entitled to elect the Delegate, and the Branch having the lesser number of members, the Alternate Delegate.
  • The GA, when issuing a call for a Convention, shall, for the benefit of such Branches, make available a list of all the Branches having fewer than 50 (fifty) members and provide the contact information of their officers.
  • A member may vote for a Delegate to the Convention only once and only in the Branch where the member has paid dues to the Fraternal Fund, as explained previously.

Click here – Credentials Form:
The Credentials Form listing the names of elected Delegates and Alternate Delegates must be sent to the UNA Home Office within 10 (ten) days of the Branch elections, but no later than 60 (sixty) days prior to the Convention.

The Credentials Form is attached (Click Here).

GERALD TYSIAK, First Vice-President
EUGENE SERBA, Second Vice-President
EUGENE OSIDACZ, Director for Canada
YURIY SYMCZYK, COO/National Secretary

January 13, 2022, Parsippany, NJ

UNA’s New Jersey District holds fall organizing meeting virtually

UNA’s New Jersey District holds fall organizing meeting virtually

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The New Jersey District Committee of the Ukrainian National Association held its fall organizing meeting on November 16 via videoconference. It was the first virtual meeting ever for the district.

Participating were representatives of UNA Branches 37, 42, 76, 133, 171, 234, 269 and 287.

The meeting was chaired by Oksana Stanko, district chairperson. In attendance as a representative of the UNA Executive Committee was Yuriy Symczyk, UNA chief operating officer/national secretary.

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UNA Home Office mails ballots for special vote on amended UNA By-Laws

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The Ukrainian National Association’s Home Office on has mailed a voting package to all delegates to the last UNA Convention, held in May 2018, and to current members of the UNA General Assembly.

The package contains proposed changes to the UNA By-Laws and a ballot that is to be returned via the mail by January 21. Delegates and General Assembly members are being asked to vote on proposed changes to the UNA By-Laws, a draft of which was presented to delegates at the UNA’s 2018 Convention.

The voting takes place as the UNA celebrates the 125th anniversary of its founding. As noted in a letter from UNA President/CEO Stefan Kaczaraj that was sent with the ballots, “The passage of these By-Laws is an important and crucial step to ensure the UNA’s viability for the next 125 years.”

Also included in the packet sent by certified mail to convention delegates and General Assembly members were the Proposed Amended Charter and By-Laws of the Ukrainian National Association, Inc., as well as a summary of the key highlights of the proposed amendments.

In the event that any delegate or General Assembly member did not receive the packet, they are urged to phone the Home Office at 973-292-9800.

Ukrainian National Association holds 39th Convention

Ukrainian National Association holds 39th Convention

The newly elected General Assembly of the Ukrainian National Association. 
(Michael Gold/The Corporate Image)

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – Dozens of members of the Ukrainian National Association from across the United States and Canada gathered at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center on May 18-20 for the fraternal organization’s 39th Regular Convention. 

This year, the UNA marks the 124th anniversary of its founding in Shamokin, Pa., in 1894. Its official publications, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, this year celebrate 125 and 85 years, respectively.

The quadrennial convention is the highest governing body of the organization; during its business sessions, delegates review the challenges and necessary changes for the future and elect a new board of officers, auditors and advisors.

The three full-time executive officers of the UNA – President/Chief Executive Officer Stefan Kaczaraj, Chief Operations Officer/National Secretary Yuriy Symczyk, and Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer Roma Lisovich – were re-elected. The new first vice-president is Gerald Tysiak (New York), a former auditor, and the new second vice-president is Eugene Serba (Delaware), also a former auditor. Ewhen Osidacz (Quebec), a former advisor, was elected as director for Canada. 

A new slate of auditors was elected: Andrij Skyba (Illinois), Luba Walchuk (New Jersey) and George Fedorijczuk (Pennsylvania). The following were elected as advisors: Lubov Streletsky (Pennsylvania), Olya Czerkas (Florida), Oksana Stanko (New Jersey), Nicholas Fil (New York), Irene Jarosewich (New Jersey), Gloria Horbaty (Connecticut), Bohdana Puzyk (Florida), Julian Pishko (Minnesota), Dr. Andrij V.R. Szul (Penn-sylvania), Oksana Koziak (Pennsylvania) and Michael Luciw (Pennsylvania). 

New this year, and as a mark of the UNA’s move toward incorporating cutting-edge technology for its business operations, delegates received the convention reports loaded on an Amazon Kindle Fire 7 tablet. 

Convention participants began arriving at Soyuzivka on Thursday evening, May 17, with registration and dinner in the Main House, followed by an orientation session for new delegates and a meet-and-greet social. 

The convention officially opened on Friday morning on the Veselka Patio with an introduction by the current first vice-president, Michael Koziupa, and the singing of the national anthems of the United States, Canada and Ukraine led by Advisor Luba Keske of Los Angeles. Ukrainian American Veterans Petro Polny and Hnatenko Zinchuk, as well as Myron Groch, UNA director for Canada, served as a color guard. This was followed by the singing of “Zapovit” (Testament), written by Taras Shevchenko, the patron of the UNA. Marika Oprysko, dressed in a traditional Ukrainian costume, greeted the delegates with bread and salt.

Women of the UNA General Assembly – Treasurer Lisovich, and Advisors Horbaty, Puzyk, Keske, Streletsky, Czerkas, Walchuk and Maya Lew – laid a wreath at the foot of the monument to the Rev. Hryhoriy Hrushka, the first president and co-founder of the UNA, and the first editor of Svoboda.

Friday’s business session was opened with a greeting by President Kaczaraj, who welcomed guests and delegates to the UNA’s 2018 Convention. In his statement, Mr. Kaczaraj recapped the previous four years’ work and outlined plans for the coming years, noting that the UNA – the oldest  and largest Ukrainian organizations in North America – will be marking its 125th anniversary next year. 

The Rev. Dr. Ivan Kaszczak, who was his branch’s delegate at the convention, led the participants in the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Mr. Kaczaraj then introduced the General Assembly members seated at the dais.

Bohdan Doboszczak, chairman of the Credentials Committee, reported on the delegate verification process. Once delegates were reviewed and verified, a voting quorum was established. 

A moment of silence was held to commemorate those UNA activists and executives, notably National Secretary Christine Kozak, who had passed away during the previous four years. Branch secretaries who were remembered included: Nicholas Bobeczko, Wsewolod Hnatczuk, Michael Sawkiw, Emilia Smal, Roman Kuropas, Stephan Chorney, Eugene Gulycz, Peter Pytell, Janet Bardell, Sofia Semanyszyn and Vera Banit.

Dr. Wasyl Szeremeta was elected as the convention chairman, Mr. Skyba was elected vice-chairman, and Dr. Szul was tapped as the convention parliamentarian. Recording secretaries for the Convention were Christine Syzonenko and Lydia Semanyszyn.

An 11-member Election Committee, chaired by Dr. Andrew Hrechak, was selected by the convention. Other committees selected included the Petitions Committee, Resolutions Committee, Press Committee, as well as sergeants at arms.

Selected prior to the Convention were the Committee on Revision of By-Laws and the Finance Committee.

Mr. Kaczaraj introduced the convention keynote speaker, Joseph Annotti, president of the American Fraternal Alliance, the umbrella organization of fraternal benefit societies in the United States and Canada. 

Mr. Annotti noted that one of the most important trends in our fraternal system is the regulatory emphasis on corporate governance. He emphasized that regulators believe there is a direct correlation between good decision-making (i.e., governance) and organizational sustainability.  The preferred governance structure, and one they believe has proven to be the most effective for both not-for-profit and for-profit corporations – is one in which a society’s members or delegates elect qualified board members and then the board is responsible for hiring a qualified CEO.  Then the CEO is charged with hiring a management team to assist him or her in managing the operations of the organization. 

This structure enhances the accountability of the CEO to the board, and the board to the members; enhances the ability of the organization to identify and retain the most highly qualified leaders; and results in the organization’s leaders making sound decisions for the benefit of its members – current and future.

Mr. Annotti further noted that most fraternals have implemented similar governance structures or are making progress toward doing so soon. Despite this fact, many society leaders still bristle at the notion of making such significant changes to their corporate governance, arguing: Our governance structure has served us well for more than 100 years. We are financially strong and don’t need anyone telling us how to run our organization. This attitude will negatively impact the long-term sustainability of these fraternals in the future as corporate governance laws are being adopted across all states, Mr. Annotti commented. 

Mr. Annotti also noted that essential to membership growth is the adoption of new technologies to appeal to the younger generation through online applications, text messages, e-mail, focusing on phone and web interfaces. “Youth do not attend lodge [branch] meetings,” he said.  Ultimately, Mr. Annotti noted, each fraternal society must consider that “to find your way, you must first find your why.” 

The UNA’s structure has not changed since 1894, and today, Mr. Annotti said, the organization must focus on flexibility, adaptability and a good governance structure. These will help to ensure that good decisions are made by the UNA leadership and secure the organization’s future.

Following a break for lunch, Mr. Kaczaraj delivered his “State of the UNA Address,” with a focus on the slogan “Success by Design.” He noted that he was proud to announce significant positive financial results for the period since the previous convention in 2014. Five years of both significant capital surplus and net income growth are evidence of the UNA’s continued success. The UNA continues to thrive, thanks to prudent financial management and an adaptable business model. As of December 2017, “UNA’s total net admitted assets stand at $187.8 million, and our surplus stands at $10.6 million, a milestone event, and our net operating income reached $1.3 million,” he said.  

Mr. Kaczaraj also cited the sale of Soyuzivka in 2015 to the Ukrainian National Foundation, an affiliated company that performs charitable activities on behalf of the UNA. 

Mr. Kaczaraj stressed that the UNA must continue to grow both its life insurance and annuity products in the future.

National Secretary Symczyk highlighted the reasons for choosing the convention theme “Success by Design,” as success isn’t something achieved by accident, but rather by design. The UNA’s achievements over the past four years were accomplished following a carefully designed strategic plan, he said. New regulations, industry experience and adapatability will need to guide the UNA’s vision for the future.

Mr. Symczyk also recalled his journey across the U.S. to visit UNA districts, branches and members.  The UNA looked to partnering with other organizations in community events to broaden its membership outreach and increase the UNA’s visibility. Community breakfasts were only one type of the successful events that helped expand the UNA’s prominence and role in the community. Another successful effort was the UNA’s “Ridna Shkola” program, used as a means to educate the community about the UNA and interact with potential members.

The UNA has significantly increased its online presence with social media through sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as LinkedIn. Mr. Symczyk also informed the convention that the UNA has launched a new modern website with interactive online tools for members. More information will be released by the UNA as it becomes available.

Partnering with other fraternals to minimize costs is another avenue the UNA has pursued.  For example, the UNA is one of the fraternals that joined efforts to engage a marketing PR company to develop a branding and marketing campaign. The UNA launched its latest “Guide to Life” magazine, which outlines UNA products in Ukrainian and English. Both an online interactive edition and print copies are available. 

Mr. Symczyk thanked UNA employees who collaborated on the content and design of the website and the new magazine, adding that more additions are in the works. Mr. Symczyk explained how he and Ms. Lisovich have represented the UNA at American Fraternal Alliance events in New Jersey and nationally, where the UNA has cultivated a network of fraternal leaders who share their experiences with issues and industry challenges. Mr. Symczyk cited the work and example of his predecessor, the late Christine Kozak, and the support he has received from the staff of the Home Office during the difficult time after her death.

Treasurer Lisovich welcomed the delegates and noted it had been a challenging, yet rewarding four years. She said there was much good news to report as 2017 was a milestone year for UNA. The UNA’s financial capital surplus, which is the fiscal bedrock of every insurance company, has more than doubled since the 2014 Convention, to $10.6 million as of December 31, 2017.  This is a significant improvement from the $4 million achieved as of 2013 yearend.  Not since 1993 has the UNA stood on such a solid financial foundation, she underscored.

Strong and profitable operating results, as well as strong investment returns, continue to bring about positive results, even though, industry-wide, annuities (the main revenue generator for insurance companies) and life insurance products were experiencing a downtrend.  She emphasized that success rarely happens at random.  Successes happened with a combination of hard work – the efforts of many, a dedicated staff and the implementation of a strategic plan.  

Also, through the period 2014-2017, the UNA achieved a solid financial performance with annual net profit gains of an average of $1 million-plus during each year.  The UNA has not had five years of consecutive net profits since the late 1980s, Ms. Lisovich observed. On the other side, careful expense management has resulted in a significant reduction in fraternal benefit expenses – and overall general administrative expenses were below projections. 

Lastly, she reported that the UNA will need to continue to build upon the outstanding performance record of the past four years to ensure the UNA’s corporate sustainability as an insurance company for the next 100-plus years. 

On the regulatory front, by 2020 the UNA will need to change its corporate governance structure.  This will be a milestone change for the UNA that will help ensure its future. 

The UNA’s publications were covered in the report given by Roma Hadzewycz, editor-in-chief of Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly. She stressed the important role of the newspapers in the UNA’s marketing and communications. Ms. Hadzewycz acknowledged the employees of the newspapers present at the convention, including Petro Chasto (Svoboda), Matthew Dubas (The Ukrainian Weekly) and Christine Syzonenko (The Ukrainian Weekly). 

The advisors, who had submitted their reports to all delegates prior to the convention, had an opportunity to add to their reports.  Messrs. Groch and Oscislawski, outgoing director for Canada and second vice-president, respectively, thanked the UNA for allowing them to serve and to represent the UNA. They opted to retire and have been elected as honorary members of the UNA General Assembly.

The Auditing Committee noted that there was an addendum to their report, with print copies to be made available to the delegates. The convention body agreed that the Auditing Committee’s reports that were made throughout the four-year period and the Executive Committee’s responses would be mailed to the delegates.

Following discussion and questions from the delegates, the convention unanimously accepted the reports of officers, auditors and advisors.

The Secretaries Committee discussion on “Roadmap for the UNA,” led by Mr. Symczyk and Oksana Stanko, focused on increasing the UNA’s membership and highlighted the recommendations from the previous convention. The UNA has developed classes for branch secretaries and invited them to be guests at the UNA Convention. 

The committee recommended that the UNA annually host a one-day meet-and-greet, and that branch secretaries work to encourage youth to become officers, learning about the work of the Home Office and attending courses for UNA secretaries and organizers. Mr. Symczyk added that the UNA continues to investigate options and opportunities for new products, including a webinar service. 

Friday’s business session concluded with the Election Committee reading off the names of candidates entered in the primary round of elections to the General Assembly. Each candidate then had to accept or decline the nomination.

That evening, a “Vyshyvanka Dinner” was hosted on the Vorokhta Lawn under a tented canopy. The UNA anthem was performed by soprano Swiatoslava Kaczaraj with accompaniment by Dr. Szul on electric piano. Awards were presented to UNA secretaries, district chairs and General Assembly members, as well as Home Office staff, for their years of service to the UNA.

After dinner, guests enjoyed Lvivska Kava dessert and coffee, followed by a lively sing-along session accompanied by a trio of accordionists – Mr. Koziupa, Alex Chudolij and Mr. Dubas.   

As delegates gathered for the Saturday session, a group photo was taken by a professional photographer in the Veselka Hall. The convention resumed business with a comprehensive presentation by Dr. Shul, chairman of the By-laws Committee, on proposed amendments to the current UNA By-Laws, which forsee a corporate governance structure that replaces the Executive Committee with a new Corporate Board of Directors, with the financial competencies and fiduciary responsibility to run insurance operations in accordance with new with regulatory mandates. A separate Fraternal Advisory Board is being proposed to handle the fraternal side of the UNA’s activity. 

Delegates approved an amendment to the By-Laws, whereby UNA’s three full-time executive officers will now be known as President/Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer/National Secretary and Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer. 

Another amendment approved by the required two-thirds majority vote provided for the appointment of four standing committees of the General Assembly: Finance Committee, Governance and Compliance Committee, Nominations Committee and By-Laws Committee.

In addition to corporate governance, the discussion at the convention concerning the proposed new UNA By-laws also included the important topic of succession planning, both in terms of nominees for election to UNA offices and the filling of vacancies, due to disqualification or disability, death or resignation, on the UNA’s General Assembly.

The final round of elections was held after each candidate presented a statement. When the session reconvened after lunch, the By-Laws discussion continued with voting taking place on two motions. 

The Finance, Petitions and Resolutions committees also presented their reports and recommendations, and the Election Committee announced the results of the final vote for General Assembly positions.

On Saturday evening, a fund-raising gala banquet for Soyuzivka was hosted by the UNA inside the Veselka Hall. 

Master of ceremonies Roman Hirniak invited re-elected UNA President Stefan Kaczaraj to be sworn in by newly designated Honorary Member Oscislawski. The remainder of the new General Assembly was sworn in by Mr. Kaczaraj, who administered the oath of office.

Mr. Hirniak welcomed the newly installed consul general of Ukraine in New York, Oleksii Holubov, Consul Denys Semenovych, Judge Bohdan Futey, and the Rev. Dr. Kaszczak of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Kerhonkson. Guests included Christine Bihun, Ukrainian American Youth Association; Stepan Kaczurak, chairman of the Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union, and his wife, Natalya, as well as Zenon Halkowycz, CFO of the credit union, who was joined by his wife, Olenka; and Walter Zarycky, president of the Center for U.S-Ukraine Relations.

The banquet’s keynote address was delivered by Andrew Futey, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. Mr. Futey noted the illustrious history of the UNA since its founding in 1894 in Shamokin, Pa., and pointed out that next year the UNA will celebrate its 125th anniversary. In the course of its history, he said, the UNA has made lasting impacts and contributions to the community, “by publishing two of the most important newspapers in North America – the Ukrainian-language Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly in the English language – an outlet that has allowed our community to keep abreast of Ukraine-related news, but even more importantly, to be informed about the work and accomplishments of our organized Ukrainian American community.” 

Other notable contributions of the UNA included its role in the formation of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America in 1940 and the creation of the Ukrainian World Congress (known previously as the World Congress of Free Ukrainians) in 1967. Also noteworthy, Mr. Futey continued, was the UNA’s purchase of the property today known as Soyuzivka Heritage Center, which is now owned by the Ukrainian National Foundation. 

Mr. Futey went on to explain the role that the UCCA serves in the community. He spoke also about his visits to Ukraine, where he met with high-level officials and government representatives, as well as religious hierarchy and representatives of various NGOs. Through these trips to Ukraine, the UCCA has gained a solid understanding of the situation on the ground in Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression and has been able to communicate that reality to U.S. government officials to foster cooperation in economic sanctions against Russia as well as continue support for Ukraine by supplying lethal defensive weapons. Mr. Futey noted that Javelin anti-tank missiles and anti-sniper equipment had already arrived in Ukraine.

He said the UCCA invites all of its members and member organizations to join them on July 18 in Washington for its Ukrainian Day advocacy event, and he thanked the UNA for its continued advocacy for Ukraine and support of the UCCA. He urged members of the community to become involved, from festivals to bazaars, politics to cultural events – there are many ways for people from all walks of life to be active. Mobilizing the community is important now more than ever, Mr. Futey underscored, as the world wakes up to the reality of the Russian menace and formulates a response. 

Mr. Futey added: “Here I would like to emphasize the importance of our Ukrainian American mass media – in particular Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly – these newspapers provide forums for our community to not only be informed of what’s going in Ukraine, but more importantly, what is happening within our organized Ukrainian American community. And they deserve our support – so if you do not subscribe to these papers, I implore you to do so as soon as possible. By subscribing, you will not only become plugged in to our efforts to support our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, but will learn about the various endeavors to maintain and strengthen our vibrant Ukrainian American community.” 

Consul Holubov, in his statement of greeting, noted that the UNA is a global example as the oldest and largest Ukrainian organization in North America. “As Ukraine defends itself against Russian aggression, Ukraine thanks [you for] the support of the UNA and wishes the UNA continued success as it celebrates its 39th Convention,” he said.

Yuriy Vitrenko, deputy permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, wished the UNA and its convention participants continued success in the realization of the organization’s plans and goals. He thanked the UNA for its support as one of the oldest Ukrainian diaspora organizations. 

Dr. Szeremeta, president of the Ukrainian National Foundation, also greeted the banquet guests. He noted how through Soyuzivka there is an integration into various facets of the Ukrainian community, such as credit unions and various other organizations, and he reminded guests to respond to the call to action to preserve this Ukrainian diaspora treasure. He called for support of Soyuzivka’s capital improvement needs, saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

Walter Kozicky of SUMA Yonkers Federal Credit Union explained the longstanding history of cooperation between the UNA and SUMA Yonkers, as the two organizations continue to work together toward shared goals of supporting Ukrainian youth. As the UNA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2019, I wish “eternal youth for Batko Soyuz” and peace for Ukraine, he said.

Marianna Zajac, president of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, recognized the work of the UNA’s publications, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, and congratulated them on their work as part of the longstanding history of the UNA. She said she looks forward to continued cooperation between the UNA and the UNWLA.

Guests enjoyed their dinner, prepared by Chef Andrij Sonevytsky. Headlining the evening was the renowned Taras Chubay of Ukraine, who sang songs while accompanying himself on guitar. Singer Pavlo Tabakov from Ukraine entertained with ballads and pop tunes, as well as duets featuring vocalist Anya Kosachevich of New Jersey.

The 39th UNA Convention was successfully concluded with delegates bidding farewell to one another on Sunday morning following breakfast served in the Main House. Special thanks went to the 39th UNA Convention Organizing Committee: Myron Kolinsky, Nestor Paslawsky, Ms. Puzyk, Ms. Walchuk, Mr. Symczyk and Oksana Trytjak. In addition, Soyuzivka General Manager Paslawsky, Assistant Manager Stefko Drabyk and the entire Soyuzivka staff were cited for their hard work in helping to make the convention run as smoothly as possible. 

The participants of the UNA’s 39th Regular Convention, held on May 18-20 at Soyuzivka Heritage Center.
(Michael Gold/The Corporate Image)

UNA General Assembly

Stefan Kaczaraj 

Gerald Tysiak 

Eugene Serba 

Ewhen Osidacz 

Yuriy Symczyk 

Roma Lisovich 

George Fedorijczuk
Andrij Skyba
Luba Walchuk

Olya Czerkas 
Nicholas Fil 
Gloria Horbaty
Irene Jarosewich
Oksana Koziak
Michael Luciw
Julian Pishko
Bohdana Puzyk
Oksana Stanko
Lubov Streletsky
Andrij V.R. Szul 

UNA General Assembly holds its 2017 annual meeting

UNA General Assembly holds its 2017 annual meeting

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – The Ukrainian National Association’s General Assembly convened its 2017 annual meeting here at Soyuzivka Heritage Center on Friday and Saturday, November 17-18. It was the last meeting of the General Assembly elected for the 2014-2018 term before the 2018 convention of the UNA is convened in May.

The meeting’s business sessions were marked by good news about the UNA’s continued progress, as for the fifth straight year the fraternal organization has enjoyed net profits and its surplus has surpassed $10 million.

Reports on the UNA’s finances and activity were delivered by the full-time executive officers of the UNA, President Stefan Kaczaraj, National Secretary Yuriy Symczyk and Treasurer Roma Lisovich. All other General Assembly members – executive officers, advisors and auditors – as well as the editor-in-chief of the UNA’s official publications, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, had the opportunity to deliver addenda to their written reports.

During the UNA General Assembly sessions (from left) are: President Stefan Kaczaraj, First Vice-President Michael Koziupa, Second Vice-President Eugene Oscislawski, Director for Canada Myron Groch, National Secretary Yuriy Symczyk and Treasurer Roma Lisovich.

During the UNA General Assembly sessions (from left) are: President Stefan Kaczaraj, First Vice-President Michael Koziupa, Second Vice-President Eugene Oscislawski, Director for Canada Myron Groch, National Secretary Yuriy Symczyk and Treasurer Roma Lisovich.
Present at the meeting in addition to the full-time executives were three other executive officers, First Vice-President Michael Koziupa, Second Vice-President Eugene Oscislawski and Director for Canada Myron Groch. Also attending were Auditing Committee member Eugene Serba and Advisors Nicholas Fil, Ewhen Osidacz, Andrij Szul, Gloria Horbaty, Maya Lew, Julian Pishko, Luba Poniatyszyn Keske, Bohdana Puzyk and Luba Walchuk. Advisors Lubov Streletsky and Olya Czerkas were unable to attend, but sent in their reports.

The annual meeting began with the traditional opening ceremony during which the Canadian, Ukrainian and American national anthems were sung, as was the “Testament” (Zapovit) of Taras Shevchenko, whom the UNA reveres as it patron. A prayer for the success of the meeting and that of the UNA was offered by Mr. Groch; next came a moment of silence in honor of UNA activists who had passed away since the 2016 annual meeting.

Once the formalities of the meeting – the approval of the agenda, the acceptance of the minutes from the previous annual meeting and the calling of committees – had taken place, President Kaczaraj began the series of reports to the General Assembly, the UNA’s highest governing body between quadrennial conventions.

Mr. Kaczaraj underscored that the state of the UNA is strong as its surplus has been consistently going up for the past four years. This year, he said, the surplus grew by $850,000 as of September 30; it is anticipated that the surplus will grow by $1 million by December 31.

Participating in the annual meeting (from left) are: Luba Walchuk, Bohdana Puzyk, Eugene Serba and Andrij Szul.

Participating in the annual meeting (from left) are: Luba Walchuk, Bohdana Puzyk, Eugene Serba and Andrij Szul.
National Secretary Symczyk focused his report on his visits to UNA districts near and far, and his contacts with local UNA members. He noted that this year the UNA has visited more districts than in recent years – even those that were previously inactive. Community outreach, he said, is the key to growth in membership, and that is why the UNA has been sponsoring events, such as wellness seminars and community breakfasts, in various locales. Mr. Symczyk cited the “very positive responses we’ve received from communities visited” and the eagerness of people to become involved and sell UNA products.

Treasurer Lisovich stated that the UNA’s biggest accomplishment of the year was reaching $10 million in surplus. Other highlights of the “solid financial performance” noted by this executive officer were: five consecutive years of net profit of $1 million annually; total net admitted assets of $186 million; expenses that were below projections; and a strong investment portfolio.

The last report of the day was delivered by the editor-in-chief of the UNA’s two official publications, Roma Hadzewycz, who noted that while the number of subscribers to the print editions of both papers was down, the number of online subscribers is steadily growing, albeit significantly more so for The Ukrainian Weekly. On the Svoboda side, she cited more bylines from more diverse venues, for example, the Ukrainian communities in Portugal and Italy. “Our goal continues to be to get more news from diaspora communities worldwide in order to make Svoboda a global newspaper,” Ms. Hadzewycz said.

On Saturday morning, General Assembly members heard the report of the Auditing Committee, as delivered by Mr. Serba, who spoke on behalf of his absent colleagues Slavko Tysiak and Andrew Gavdanovich. In 2017, he said, the auditors examined the UNA’s employee benefits.

Afterwards, GA members also heard a presentation by Advisor Szul, a lawyer, who updated them on the corporate governance structure that is to be implemented by the UNA. He provided details on the General Assembly that, if the proposed by-laws changes are enacted, would be composed of a Corporate Board of Directors, Audit Committee and Fraternal Advisory Board.

The final sessions of the annual meeting were devoted to the reports of the Organizing/Fraternal, Publications and Financial committees, which had met during the course of the two days.

The Financial Committee (Ms. Lisovich, Messrs. Kaczaraj, Koziupa, Groch and Serba) reviewed the projected budget for 2018 and presented it to the General Assembly, which voted its approval.

Seen during the business sessions are: Nicholas Fil, Ewhen Osidacz, Julian Pishko, Gloria Horbaty, Luba Poniatyszyn Keske and Maya Lew.

Seen during the business sessions are: Nicholas Fil, Ewhen Osidacz, Julian Pishko, Gloria Horbaty, Luba Poniatyszyn Keske and Maya Lew.
The Publications Committee (Mmes. Lisovich, Horbaty, Puzyk, Lew and Hadzewycz, Messrs. Koziupa, Symczyk, Serba and Pishko) recommended ways to increase renewals of subscriptions and attract new subscribers to the UNA’s newspapers; proposed starting a Facebook page for Svoboda; and suggested hiring additional personnel to solicit advertisers for the newspapers. The committee also recommended that a standing committee on the UNA’s publications be formed to work year-round on the delineated tasks and recommendations.

The Organizing/Fraternal Committee this year included all the members of the General Assembly. Among other things, it recommended that: the upcoming UNA convention should include a training program for branch secretaries; the UNA’s online resource center be updated to allow communication among branches and sharing of information; the UNA Manual on Branches (an appendix to the UNA By-Laws) be updated to reflect current practices and needs; and that holiday cards be sent to Ukrainians serving in the armed forces.

After adjournment of the meeting, the UNA General Assembly enjoyed an elegant dinner prepared by chef Andrey Sonevytsky and staff.