Our Accomplishments

November 1989

In response to an urgent appeal from Deputy Volodymyr Yavorivsky, Dr. Zenon and Nadia Matkiwsky organize a committee to provide the first medical relief cargo to travel with the Deputy back to Ukraine. That committee eventually becomes the Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund with its mission to save the lives of children in Ukraine.

February 1990

February 14: CCRF launches its first major airlift valued at $4,500,000 from JFK International Airport. The Ukrainian-American community, playing an instrumental role throughout CCRDF’s existence, gathers to bid farewell to the medical cargo they helped collect.

April 1990

The Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund is officially incorporated as a tax-exempt charity.

March 1991

CCRF launches its 5th major airlift from Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

July 1992

CCRF founder Dr. Zenon Matkiwsky testifies as an expert witness in U.S. Senate hearings on the Chornobyl aftermath chaired by Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Bob Graham (D-FL). Dr. Zenon challenges the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for their cover-up of Chornobyl’s long-term effects.

August 1992

CCRF launches its ninth of 32 airlifts from Rickenbacker Air Field in Columbus, Ohio. The world’s largest cargo plane, the AN-225 Mriya, delivers $3,000,000 of medical cargo, including Ukraine’s first flow cytometer.

September 1992

The World Health Organization confirms an 80-fold increase in thyroid cancer in children exposed to Chornobyl fallout, effectively supporting CCRF’s position at Senate hearings six weeks earlier.

October 1992

CCRF establishes a permanent office in Kyiv, Ukraine to monitor all in-country activities. The country director is Oleh Deyneko.

June 1993

CCRF hosts its second National Convention with keynote speaker Deputy Yavorivsky and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ).

June 1994

CCRF airlifts an MRI to the Kyiv City Emergency Hospital & Trauma Center on the U.S. Military cargo plane. Over the next 6 years, the MRI provides diagnostic tests for over 10,000 patients, enabling doctors to treat cancers and traumatic injuries.

July 1994

CCRF is awarded a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. In August 1995, CCRF delivers $4.5 million dollars worth of medical aid. USAID Director Greg Huger hails CCRF for leveraging $16 worth of aid for every dollar it received in federal grants.

January 1995

In partnership with the Ukrainian Women’s League of America, CCRF establishes a complete state-of-the-art Blood Diagnostic Laboratory at Lviv Regional Specialized Pediatric Clinic, which the European Review team ranks as the finest laboratory in Eastern Europe.

February 1995

CCRF hosts President Kravchuk during a visit to the U.S. and is greeted by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman who honored CCRF with the New Jersey Governor’s Volunteer Award.

November 1995

CCRF receives $263,000 from the Monsanto Corporation to launch its Women’s & Children’s Health Initiative in Dnipropetrovsk and Vinnytsia.

December 1995

CCRF delivers medical aid worth over $10,000,000 this year. The total amount of medical assistance over 5 years of the Fund’s service amounts to over $32,000,000.

February 1996

CCRF and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster with U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and actor Jack Palance.

April 1996

April 9: Covered by ABC News and The New York Times, the anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster is commemorated at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University with over 500 dignitaries and politicians in attendance.

April 1996

April 26: CCRF organizes the official national commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of Chornobyl at the Kyiv National Opera Theatre.

May 1996

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore host the 10th Anniversary of Chornobyl and honor CCRF at the White House. Young leukemia survivor Vova Malofienko and CCRF Executive Director Alexander Kuzma are guest speakers.

August 1996

President Leonid Kuchma honors CCRF Founders Dr. Zenon and Nadia Matkiwsky, the first Americans to receive the Presidential Medal of Honor.

August 1997

The John Deere Foundation awards a grant of $350,000 to CCRF.

September 1997

CCRF hosts its third National Convention with health experts and dignitaries from the U.S., Canada, and Ukraine. Featured speakers include Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and CNN Correspondent Martin Savidge.

November 1997

CCRF wins praise from First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during her goodwill mission to Ukraine; Mrs. Clinton witnesses the delivery of a CCRF ambulance to our partner hospital in Lviv.

December 1997

CCRF publishes the 10th edition of the Chornobyl Chronicle, a quarterly report of CCRF’s work sent to over 10,000 households in the USA. This issue is edited by CCRF Director Alexander Kuzma.

November 1998

CCRF launches its 20th medical airlift which provides emergency aid to flood victims in the Carpathian Mountain region

February 1999

U.S. State Department cites CCRF as an exemplary humanitarian organization: “The service you perform is one of the most efficient uses of U.S. government funds that can be envisioned.” [Charles Hardesty, Director of Humanitarian Assistance to the NIS]

April 1999

April 19: CCRF Nadia Matkiwsky and Tanya Vena honor First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her humanitarian work in Eastern Europe. Mrs. Clinton hails CCRF as a “remarkable organization” that embodies the very finest American values of compassion and caring for others. Actor Alec Baldwin attends the ceremony.

April 1999

April 27: CCRF organizes the first neonatal conference during which the Neonatalogist Association of Ukraine is established in Kyiv.

September 1999

CCRF launches a major campaign to improve conditions at the Poltava Maternity Hospital. With technology provided by CCRF, the hospital achieves a 90% reduction in infant mortality within one year.

September 2000

Edited by CCRF’s Alexander Kuzma and Olena Welhasch-Nyzhnykevych, CCRF publishes its 20th edition of the Chornobyl Chronicle.

October 2000

The Volyn Regional Children’s Medical Center in Lutsk reports a 50% reduction in infant mortality since the introduction of technology provided by CCRF thanks to the many private donors, such as the Bakum family.

March 2001

CCRF and Olympic and World Skating Champion Viktor Petrenko organize their first Figure Skating fundraiser, entitled “Viktory for Kids,” which raise $220,000. In October, Mr. Petrenko visits the modernized neonatal department in his home city, Odesa.

July 2001

Photographer Joseph Sywenkyj, then a CCRF intern and now a New York Times photographer, exhibits his photos at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC to draw attention to the plight of children living in Ukrainian orphanages.

August 2001

Archbishop Antony, Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, begins the orphanage program to improve the living conditions in two orphanages for severely disabled children located in the Ivano-Frankivsk and Kirovohrad regions. In 2007, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church adopts their third orphanage located in the Zhytomyr region.

April 2002

CCRF translates, prints, and distributes the first edition of “Manual of Neonatology” which becomes the official medical text sanctioned by the Ministry of Health for use in Ukraine’s medical schools.

October 2002

October 22: The Chornobyl Museum in Kyiv acknowledges CCRF’s work with an exhibit “Mission Continues. 1989-2002” as part of the series of exhibitions called “World for the Children of Chornobyl.”

April 2003

CCRF launches its 14th sea shipment, which includes a heart-lung machine and other critical supplies for the creation of a new infant cardiac surgery center in Lviv, and critical supplies for hospitals in Rivne, Chernihiv, Kyiv and Uzhorod. Nearly $52,000,000 worth of medical aid delivered.

June 2003

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA initiates its first mission trip to orphanages in Znamyanka and Zaluchya. This way, begins a volunteer program for young adults from the USA who come to Ukraine every summer, and spend a few weeks in CCRDF’s partner orphanages helping the disabled children.

May 2004

Edited by CCRF Director of Procurement Lisa Milanytch-Mykyta, CCRF publishes its 30th Chornobyl Chronicle.

October 2004

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst and CCRF host the first annual fundraiser in the Ambassador’s private residence in Kyiv to raise funds for CCRF partner hospitals.

November 2004

November 12-14: During CCRF’s 4th National Convention, the Board of Directors and delegates officially change the organization's name to the "Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund" (CCRDF) to more accurately reflect the long-term mission of the organization – to pursue a policy of sustainable development and improvements in health care beyond the realm of emergency relief.

May 2005

May 17: CCRDF and Ruslana, winner of the 2004 “Eurovision” Song Competition, join forces for a Charity Concert during Eurovision 2005 and raise $38,000 for Kyiv City Children’s Hospital No. 2, Dnipropetrovsk Children’s Hospital No. 3, and for Ruslana’s charity of choice: the Dzherelo Rehabilitation Center in Lviv.

November 2005

UMC (Ukrainian Mobile Communications) raises $416,000 during their charitable telethon and donates it to CCRDF which procures a complete neonatal intensive care station for Chernivtsi, a “urodynamic” diagnostic system for use in Dnipropetrovsk, a variety of medical equipment for Lviv, and, in July 2006, an advanced cardiac ultrasound for Kherson, and neonatal equipment for Uzhorod.

January 2006

CCRDF launches the 20/20 Campaign inviting contributors to donate a dollar for each year since the Chornobyl catastrophe and, in return, distributing wristbands to raise awareness and to educate the public about the Chornobyl disaster amongst the global public.

April 2006

April 5: CCRDF organizes a press conference to launch the 20th Anniversary Commemorative Airlift at the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, DC. Under Secretary of State Dr. Paula Dobriansky, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Dr. Oleh Shamshur, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chornobyl survivors, and representatives of the US Department of State attend the event.

April 2006

April 20: With multinational media coverage, CCRDF welcomes the 20th Anniversary Commemorative Airlift at Borispol Airport. Present are Ambassador John Herbst, First Lady of Ukraine Kateryna Yuschenko, and representatives of the U.S. State Department. This 32nd airlift, valued at $2,800,000, is distributed to CCRDF partner hospitals located throughout Ukraine.

April 2006

April 24: CCRDF’s President Dr. Zenon Matkiwsky speaks at the plenary session of the combined Scientific and Humanitarian International Forums held to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster in the Taras Shevchenko National Opera Theater.

April 2006

April 25: CCRDF organizes the official 20th Anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster event, “Rebirth, Renewal, and Human Development”, endorsed by First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko, at the National Philharmonic Hall to examine the long-term health consequences of the disaster.

June 2006

June 1: The official opening of the first “Cradles of Hope” center in Chernihiv, the first of eight beneficiary hospitals. The program, funded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, is a multiyear program aimed to reduce infant mortality rates and improve the quality of medical assistance.

October 2006

October 27-28: CCRDF organizes the second National Neonatal Forum, “Treatment of Cardiac Birth Defects,” at the Pediatric Cardio-Vascular Center of Excellence for Cardiac Surgery. Over 300 cardiac surgeons and physicians from throughout Ukraine attend lectures given by Dr. Steven Lipshultz of University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and Dr. Illya Yemets of the Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Centre in Kyiv.

November 2006

November 3: CCRDF presents the Pediatric Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology with a vital piece of medical equipment, a respirator, purchased with funds provided by the Kyiv Lion’s Club. This is the second time that the KLC supports CCRDF’s medical mission.

June 2007

June 18-19: CCRDF organizes the first of five practical training programs for the “Cradles of Hope” partner hospitals. In Chernihiv, as part of the training, Renell Leichty, RN, of Fort Wayne, IN, instructs the nurses on resuscitation protocols of the internationally accredited S.T.A.B.L.E. program.

September 2007

CCRDF launches the “Healthy & Happy Building Renovation Campaign,” to establish a family medical center in Volodymyrets, Rivne region, which serves to educate expectant parents, diagnose fetal complications, and reduce infant mortality. The center opens in June 2008 and in the first year, 120 expectant couples benefit from the school.

October 2007

CCRDF arranges for surgeons of the Chernivtsi City Children’s Clinical Hospital to train with laparoscopy experts in Germany and delivers a laparoscopic surgical unit to the hospital.

May 2008

May 17: CCRDF hosts the 3rd International Gala Fundraiser supported by Ambassadors to Ukraine, chaired by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor; $72,000 is raised for the purchase of an ultrasonic dissector for the National Cancer Institute in Kyiv.

July 2008

July: The Victor Pinchuk Foundation awards CCRDF the final “Cradles of Hope” grant. Since 2005, CCRDF implements a total of $2,850,000 worth of medical programs for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in 18 hospitals throughout Ukraine.

December 2008

Winter: Edited by CCRDF Country Director Alexa Milanytch, CCRDF publishes its 40th Chornobyl Chronicle.

April 2009

April 23: CCRDF holds a press conference in the Chornobyl Museum to launch “Protocols for High-Risk Pregnancies.” This is the eighth book CCRDF translated, printed, and distributed throughout Ukraine.

June 2009

June 6: CCRDF hosts the 4th International Gala Fundraiser supported by 25 Ambassadors to Ukraine and raises $67,000 to purchase life-saving medical equipment for the Chernivtsi City Children’s Clinical Hospital.

August 2009

Since the initiation of the orphanage program in 2001, missionaries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, lead by Bishop Daniel Zelinsky, arrive to Ukraine annually to work and interact with the children.

October 2009

Beyond its Hematology Program, Philip Morris expands grant funding to support an Infant Survival Program aimed at decreasing infant mortality in Kharkiv Oblast. To date, Philip Morris contributed $500,000 to saving lives in Ukraine through CCRDF.

January 2010

CCRDF prepares its 19th sea shipment of medical equipment and supplies valued at $800,000.

April 2010

April 24: CCRDF celebrates its 20 years of humanitarian service to the children of Ukraine at the InterContinental Kyiv. $171,000 raised support the Kyiv City Children’s Clinical Hospital #2.

April 2010

The Chornobyl Museum in Kyiv updates CCRDF exhibit to reflect the 20 years of the organization’s activities.

July 2010

CCRDF translates into Ukrainian and published the 6th edition of the “Neonatal Manual” This is the third Ukrainian edition of the “Neonatal Manual”, translated, published and distributed free of charge by CCRDF.