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UNA mourns passing of Christine E. Kozak

The Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Association regrets to announce to the members of the General Assembly and to the UNA membership at large that our beloved colleague, Christine E. Kozak, who has served as UNA National Secretary since 2002, passed away Monday, June 27, 2016 at the age of 62.

The Executive Committee and the entire UNA membership wish to express their condolences to her daughter, Irene Yorey and her husband Mike; her mother, Lydia Kozak; her brother, Andriy Kozak and his wife Chrystia and family; and her beloved grandsons, Justin, Connor and Tyler Yorey.
The entire UNA family send condolences to the bereaved family and wish Christine eternal peace in the Lord. We have lost a very good friend and colleague.
Vichnaya Pamiat

Ukrainian National Association holds 38th Convention

by Matthew Dubas

KERHONKSON – N.Y. – Scores of delegates gathered for the Ukrainian National Association’s 38th Regular Convention held at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center on May 15-18. This year marks the 120th anniversary of the UNA’s founding in 1894 in Shamokin, Pa., and its publications, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, have served to inform the Ukrainian community for more than 120 years and 80 years, respectively.

The convention is the highest decision-making body of the UNA and meets on a quadrennial basis. The delegates discuss the previous four years’ work, break-out sessions of various committees make recommendations on what steps should be taken in the future by the UNA, and the delegates elect a slate of candidates for the General Assembly posts for the next four-year term.

Re-elected by acclamation, following overwhelming support in the primary round of elections, the six-member Executive Committee officers remain: President Stefan Kaczaraj, First Vice-President Michael Koziupa, Second Vice-President Eugene Oscislawski, Director for Canada Myron Groch, National Secretary Christine Kozak and Treasurer Roma Lisovich.

The three-member Auditing Committee – Slavko Tysiak, Eugene Serba and Dr. Wasyl Szeremeta – was also re-elected by acclamation following the primary election results.

The UNA Convention elected 11 advisors to the General Assembly: Nicholas Fil (New York), Ewhen Osidacz (Quebec), Andrij Szul (New York), Andrij Gavdanovich (New Jersey), Gloria Horbaty (Connecticut), Maya Lew (New York), Julian Pishko (Minnesota), Lubov Streletsky (Pennsylvania), Luba Poniatyszyn Keske (California), Bohdanna Puzyk (Connecticut) and Maria Luba Walchuk (New Jersey). New to the assembly are: Mr. Gavdanovich, Mr. Pishko, Ms. Puzyk and Ms. Walchuk.

The official opening ceremonies on Thursday morning, May 15, which are traditionally held at the Taras Shevchenko monument on Soyuzivka grounds, were held in the Veselka Hall due to rain. The ceremony included a color guard by members of the Ukrainian American Veterans and the singing of the American, Ukrainian and Canadian national anthems by Swiatoslava Kaczaraj.

In his opening remarks, President Kaczaraj noted that this was the third consecutive time that the UNA convention was held at Soyuzivka. Mr. Kaczaraj noted: “I see many familiar faces, smiling faces, as the UNA celebrates its longtime service to Ukrainians and Ukraine, especially in these troubling times facing Ukraine. In those 120 years the UNA has worked for the good of its members and the Ukrainian community at large. Our work continues as do opportunities for new perspectives.”

“The Maidan revolution in Ukraine and the new elections are such an opportunity where our strength should be used to support the rebirth of Ukraine, not only its political development, but in cultural, religious and social spheres. In the UNA’s next four years, keep this in mind in shaping our work,” he added.

An invocation was offered by the Rev. Dr. Ivan Kaszczak, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Kerhonkson, N.Y. Following the singing of the Easter hymn “Christ is Risen,” the Rev. Kaszczak petitioned for God to “grant wisdom and courage in our discussions at this convention.”

Bohdan Doboszczak, representing the Credentials Committee, presented its report that 54 delegates had been officially registered for the 38th UNA Convention.

During the opening session the convention elected its co-chairmen, Raymond Komichak and Roman Hawryluk, to direct the proceedings in Ukrainian and English according to the UNA By-Laws and Roberts Rules of Order. Dr. Andrij Szul was appointed as parliamentarian. The secretaries recording the minutes of the convention in English and Ukrainian were Irene Jarosewich and Nina Bilchuk, in addition the convention was video recorded by Vlodko Artymyshyn.

The Elections Committee, Committee on Petitions, Secretaries Committee, Resolutions Committee, Press Committee and Sergeant of Arms were elected by the convention delegates. Elected prior to the convention were the Credentials Committee, Committee on Revision of By-Laws and Finance Committee.

The convention heard reports from the UNA executive officers, auditors and advisors, as well as the editor-in-chief of Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, Roma Hadzewycz. Nestor Paslawsky, general manager of Soyuzivka, reported on its activities.

Following the reports, UNA National Secretary Kozak recognized the UNA’s top performers. Top UNA Sellers: George Fedorijczuk, Lubov Shumylov; Natalia Shuya, Alice Olenczuk, Joseph Chabon (posthumously), and Joyce Kotch (posthumously); UNA Branch Builders: Stephania Hawryluk, Nicholas Fil, Nick Diakiwsky; Most Insurance Sold: Lubov Streletsky, Eugene Oscislawski; Most Members Signed Up: Mr. Oscislawski and Ms. Streletsky; Most Annuities: Steven Woch and Oksana Stanko.

Following break-out sessions of the committees, which included delegates as well as members of the outgoing General Assembly, reports were heard from the Secretaries Committee, Finance Committee, Petitions Committee and Resolutions Committee.

Presentations were made by: Oksana Stanko on  “Customer Service,” by Yuriy Symczyk on “Life Insurance” and by Ms. Lisovich on “UNA Moving Forward.”

When the rains cleared on Saturday, members of the General Assembly laid a wreath of flowers at the monument to the Rev. Hryhory Hrushka, first editor of Svoboda and founder of the Ukrainian National Association.

During the four days of sessions, participants enjoyed a variety of events, including a Ukrainian-themed dinner, an evening sing-along with Stan Kosiw on accordion, a concert featuring members of the Toronto Bandurist Capella under the direction of Dr. Victor Mishalow with a meet-and-greet with the performers after the concert, and the convention banquet.

At the convention banquet, Mr. Kaczaraj delivered the keynote address after Ms. Kaczaraj, with accompaniment by Dr. Szul on piano, sang the anthem of the UNA. The banquet’s entertainment was provided by Mr. Kosiw on keyboard and accordion. Members of the new General Assembly were officially sworn in during the banquet.

On Sunday, many delegates had to depart for flights early or had long drives home, and the brief session heard reports from committees. The complete election results were presented by the Election Committee, resolutions were voted on, and recommendations were made by delegates of the convention. The convention closed with a statement by Mr. Kaczaraj and the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem.

The committee for the 38th UNA Convention – Stefanie Hawryluk, Roman Hawryluk, Gloria Horbaty, Bohdanna Puzyk, Sonia Semanyshyn, Nestor Paslawsky (Soyuzivka manager) and Oksana Trytjak (committee chair) – were instrumental in the convention’s success.

Soyuzivka has hosted the UNA convention three consecutive times, and its staff, including Mr. Paslawsky (general manager), assistant manager Stefko Drabyk and chef Andrij Sonevytsky, ensured that each guest had a memorable experience.

Recent events in Ukraine have initiate telephone calls from our members.

February 25, 2014

We, in the United States, have been following the events in our ancestral homeland with grave concern. We are deeply saddened at the loss of innocent people. The people of Ukraine have expressed their desire to live in a free and democratic society and we applaud their efforts.

We encourage our members to participate in the many community events, fund raising drives and aid efforts that are being organized to assist the Ukrainian people during this difficult time.
In answer to several inquiries we have received, the Ukrainian National Association, Inc. is a fraternal society established in 1894 in the United States, which offers life insurance, endowments and annuities to its members. Our business operations are limited to the United States and Canada, in those states and provinces in which we are licensed.

UNA General Assembly meets

Committees lay the groundwork
for 2013 and beyond

by Roma Hadzewycz

Members of the UNA General Assembly at Soyuzivka for their 2012 annual meeting. (Photo: Roma Hadzewycz)

Members of the UNA General Assembly at Soyuzivka for their 2012 annual meeting. (Photo: Roma Hadzewycz)

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – The Ukrainian National Association’s General Assembly convened at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center on Friday, November 30, through Sunday, December 2, for its regular annual meeting to review the fraternal benefit society’s activity for the past year and to adopt a plan of action for 2013 and beyond.
Six committees deliberated during the sessions: Organizing/Fraternal, Soyuzivka, Publications, Canada, Financial and Advocacy. The latter was a new creation, as the UNA seeks to articulate its concerns on the federal, state and local levels.

Reports were delivered by the three full-time executive officers of the UNA: President Stefan Kaczaraj, National Secretary Christine Kozak 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. Soyuzivka Manager Nestor Paslawsky also delivered a report.

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 members Slavko Tysiak (chairman), Eugene Serba and Dr. Wasyl Szeremeta; and Advisors Maya Lew, Andrew Futey, Ewhen Osidacz, Nicholas Fil, Stephanie Hawryluk, Gloria Horbaty, Andrij Szul and Olya Czerkas. Unable to attend the meeting were Advisors Lubov Streletsky and Luba Poniatyszyn Keske.

Also participating was the editor-in-chief of the UNA’s publications, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, Roma Hadzewycz.

Reporting on the year ended December 31, 2011, and the first nine months of 2012, President Kaczaraj stated, “Even though we have been living through a turbulent economic storm – and turbulent weather, that is, Hurricane Sandy – the UNA continues to move slowly in the right direction.” He pointed to decreased expenses due to successful cost-cutting measures at the UNA, as well as an increase in the UNA’s assets. Nonetheless, financial difficulties continue as the Soyuzivka Heritage Center recovers from an oil spill and the UNA’s two newspapers, plagued by poor postal delivery, experience a decrease in subscribers.

Treasurer Lisovich presented an overview of the UNA’s financial performance in the first three quarters of 2012, pointing to net income trending upward and predicting that the UNA will meet its profit goals for 2012. She cited the challenge presented by the present economy and expressed concern about the strong regulatory requirements now being imposed on fraternal societies, as well as threats to their historic tax-exempt status.

National Secretary Kozak focused her report on the UNA’s life insurance business and commended the top producers, Advisors Oscislawski, Streletsky and Hawryluk. She also cited the increase in life insurance sold by the UNA’s field agents. Ms. Kozak reported that the UNA held continuing education courses for all its Home Office employees who are licensed insurance professionals, as well as courses for UNA branch secretaries and organizers. The UNA currently comprises 149 branches in North America, the vast majority of them (134) in the United States.

Editor-in-Chief Hadzewycz, who prepared an extensive written report about the UNA’s two weekly newspapers, underscored that 2013 will mark the 120th anniversary of Svoboda and the 80th anniversary of The Ukrainian Weekly, and she displayed a copy of the just-published history of Svoboda – “Vilne Slovo Amerykanskoyi Ukrainy” (The Free Press of Ukrainian Americans) – by one of its editors, Petro Chasto. She also reported that The Weekly had started a Facebook page in July, noted an increase in donations to the press funds of the two papers and cited donations totaling $26,250 from Ukrainian credit unions to the Svoboda Digital Library Project. Ms. Hadzewycz asked General Assembly members to help promote the UNA’s newspapers and extend their reach.

Soyuzivka’s manager, Mr. Paslawsky, reported on a very successful year of summer camps: over 600 children participated and several camps had waiting lists because they were filled to capacity. He highlighted the Soyuzivka Heritage Center’s strong ties with Ukraine’s Consulate General in New York and the Embassy of Ukraine, adding that the Embassy is a co-sponsor of the annual Ukrainian Cultural Festival.

The Organizing/Fraternal Committee focused its attention on branding and how to market the UNA to potential members, and suggested that the UNA needs to have a more interactive presence online, including on its Facebook page.

The Advocacy Committee, under the leadership of Mr. Futey, took a look at three main topics: the poor postal delivery of the UNA’s publications, efforts to safeguard the non-profit status of fraternals like the UNA, and promoting Soyuzivka’s involvement in regional economic development initiatives.

The Publications Committee discussed how to mark the anniversaries of Svoboda and The Weekly, ideas to increase the number of subscribers to both newspapers and fund-raising possibilities for an endowment fund for the two UNA publications.

The Soyuzivka Committee focused on how to create a positive image of the Soyuzivka Heritage Center and discussed the need to conduct targeted fund-raising for specific projects and to regularly report donations to the Soyuzivka Fund that is under the aegis of the UNA’s Ukrainian National Foundation. In addition, the committee suggested that a Soyuzivka Development Committee should be established to function as a standing committee.
The Canada Committee took another look at the status of the UNA in that country and alternatives for the future, which are to be further examined by the UNA’s executives.

The Finance Committee reviewed the proposed budget for the UNA, which was subsequently approved by the full General Assembly.

Also during the General Assembly meeting, Dr. Szeremeta showed a PowerPoint presentation about “redesigning” the UNA, including its insurance, publishing and cultural arms, via which he hoped to set the stage for the strategic planning session of the General Assembly that will be held in the spring of 2013. That session, it was agreed, should not be afraid to look at transformational change that will benefit the UNA, its subsidiaries and its members.

The date of the next annual meeting of the UNA General Assembly was set for November 22-24, 2013, at Soyuzivka.

Insurance Matters

by Irene Jarosewich

So that members and non-members alike can become more familiar with our products and understand how the UNA can better fit into your personal financial planning, our colleague Irene Jarosewich developed a series of articles that was published in The Ukrainian Weekly to kick off National Life Insurance Awareness Month at the UNA. Managing personal finances is becoming more complex in today’s world and we sincerely hope that you find these articles to be helpful.

UNA General Assembly meets at Soyuzivka

KERHONKSON, N.Y. – The Ukrainian National Association’s General Assembly convened at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center on Friday-Sunday, November 4-6, 2011, for its regular annual meeting to review the fraternal benefit society’s activity for the past year and set the stage for its further development

Substantive reports were delivered by the three full-time executive officers of the UNA: President Stefan Kaczaraj, National Secretary Christine Kozak and Treasurer Roma Lisovich. All other General Assembly members, 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.

Four committees were established to work during the sessions: Organizing/Fraternal, Soyuzivka, Publications and Financial. In a departure from the usual format, the committees did not meet separately in smaller groups, but during plenary sessions of the General Assembly that promoted brainstorming and out-of-the-box creativity in a collegial atmosphere. The result was a fruitful strategic planning session for the UNA and its subsidiary operations that laid the groundwork for the months and years ahead.

The pending USA default—Will it impact UNA?

The news of a pending default of the US Government on its obligations occupies the politics, the news and conversation.  People are prudently curious about what that might mean for their policy with us.  We would like to offer you our expectations.

As a democracy, we place great faith in our elected representatives to accomplish the difficult task of governing.  We trust that they are aware that their actions have far-reaching consequences.  While the debt-ceiling limit is making the news, it is bringing much-needed focus to our failed budget process.  We are hopeful this will cause voters to understand and make a priority of controlling and ultimately eliminating our deficit.  It seems to be on more minds than ever.  That’s not a bad thing.

Your policy is backed by an investment portfolio that is broadly diversified.  This served us well in 2008; this discipline will serve us well again.  Our exposure directly to the US Treasury is minimal and our regular review of cash flows puts us in the enviable position of being able to weather liquidity freezes as occurred beginning in 2008.  No one can say with certainty the outcome of the ripple effect the financial world would experience given a default (technical or otherwise) of the US Treasury.  Clearly, the impact would be significant.

We will be monitoring the events surrounding this situation for the duration.  If you wish to provide us with an email address, we’d be pleased to provide updates as we receive them.

Thanks for your trust and your confidence.  We’re on it.

UNA General Assembly Meeting

Members of UNA’s General Assembly, gathered at their special meeting over the weekend of December 4-5, 2010, heard the good news from the executive oficers that the UNA’s financial condition continues to improve.  They also participated in planning sessions related to the UNA’s core business, as well as its fraternal activities, including the Soyuzivka Heritage Center and its two newspapers, Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly.

“The UNA continues to head in the right direction,” noted President Stefan Kaczaraj, pointing to increasing sales of insurance products and higher incomes from investments, plus a significant increase in the UNA’s assets during the first nine months of 2010.

November 2010

At the 37th Convention of the UNA in May 2010, a new course was set for the future of the Association.  The UNA resolved to provide customers with an uncomplicated assortment of products and easy access to information.  With this in mind, the UNA analyzed its image and determined that a fresh look was needed to accompany its new perspective on customers, markets, and way of doing business.

The most noticeable herald of the updated look for the UNA is its revised logo.  While staying true to the roots of the organization and not discarding any of the vital elements that have defined the UNA for over 100 years, the new version of the logo is simplified, with cleaner lines and an updated feel.  To be consistent, the UNA has also amended its official letterhead, business cards, and all other corporate materials.

The next major development was the total revision of the UNA website.  This site has been under construction for awhile.  Besides incorporating the new look, the primary purpose of the renovation was to simplify the navigation, allowing users easy access to pertinent information.  In addition, most of the information is provided in English and Ukrainian.

This website is designed to be constantly updated with relevant information.  Therefore, please be sure to visit frequently to view the evolution of this site with the inclusion of new material and updates.