When Temple University Board of Trustees member and three-time Temple graduate (BA ’85, JD ’88, LLM ’95) Marina Kats heard about the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the war felt personal. Originally born in Kyiv, Ukraine, with friends and family still there, Kats felt compelled to help in any way she could. Also, her values and experience as a personal injury lawyer made providing help second nature to her.
“As an attorney and person, our job is to help those who are less privileged and troubled,” said Kats. “It’s difficult to celebrate and enjoy your life when you know there is so much suffering going on,” she added.
Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, Kats began dedicating herself and her law firm, Kats Jamison & Associates, to providing relief for Ukraine. Initially, her firm was fully occupied with the relief effort. Currently, in the midst of her practice, she continues to do this important work for three-to-four hours a day.
As a long-time active member of the Philadelphia Ukrainian community, this was not her first time helping her native community. Marina Kats is the president of the Eurasian American Chamber of Commerce, a group which promotes the businesses of Greater Philadelphia’s Russian-speaking community, a group Kats also has enlisted to help with providing relief to Ukraine.
The aid Kats and her firm are providing, with the help of local Ukrainian groups, includes collecting donations of medical equipment, bulletproof vests, new and slightly used clothing for babies and children, and more, and sending them to Ukraine. For example, one shipment consisted of 20 bulletproof vests, 10 full suitcases of supplies, and tourniquets.
While most of this aid is outgoing to Ukraine itself, after the Biden administration agreed to accepting over 100,000 refugees, Kats is also helping Ukrainian refugees who have relocated or are relocating to the United States and to Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia is expected to be one of the “main arrival and resettlement cities, because of the size and strength of its Ukrainian community.”
Kats’ firm is helping the incoming refugees obtain temporary protected status, which is critical to their ability to find work and transition from Ukraine. Since some of those refugees are students, she has also been working with Temple to have some of these student refugees accepted.
To support her efforts, Kats has been hosting events such as benefit concerts in Philadelphia, to help raise money for Ukraine.
“I follow the Temple University Owl philosophy: It’s not what you get, it’s what you give that counts,” said Kats.
As the number of refugees increases and the ongoing need for aid continues, Kats is hoping that this cause will keep on resonating with many others at Temple and beyond. She stresses that maintaining momentum is imperative to maintaining adequate resources for both the needed money and volunteers.
Separately, Temple’s Office of Global Engagement and its Task Force on Students and Scholars in Distress have begun to assist currently enrolled students affected by the crisis in Ukraine and in other nations in crisis (for example: Afghanistan).
If you want to volunteer to assist Marina Kats’ relief organization to assemble packages, help plan one of her group’s fundraising events or by giving a donation, please contact her and her firm at 215-396-9001. Her relief organization is also in need of Russian speakers to help Ukrainian immigrants acclimate.
Other ways you can help
If you want to get involved, here are the efforts of some other organizations with suggestions of how you can help:
- The United Nations World Food Programme – Provide donations for food emergency boxes to Ukraine
- UNICEF – Provide donations to help protect children refugees
- Ukrainian Federation of America – Provide donations that support shipping aid items to Ukraine
- The Ukrainian League of Philadelphia – Attend volunteering opportunities in Philadelphia to help support Ukraine
- United Ukrainian American Relief Committee – Provide donations for medical supplies and equipment
- Welcome.US – Sponsor Ukrainian refugees coming to the United States
- Razom for Ukraine – Attend events to help benefit the Ukrainian community
By Jadyn Amelia Howard, communications intern ’22-’23
Photo courtesy of Marina Kats