History of the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center

The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural celebrated its 30th year anniversary on Saturday, September 25, 2010. The UECC is proud to have positively touched and affected many lives since 1980. We thank the countless suporters and volunteers who have, through the years, financially and physically suported our programs, events and our work for the Ukrainian community. We promise to continue working on our mission of serving the Ukrainian community in the Greater Philadelphia Area. 

The Early Years - 1980s

The Parents Committee of the Ukrainian Saturday School initiated a search for a permanent home.  An appropriate location, the Cedar Elementary School,was found by Mrs. Roma Salak and Mrs. Yaryna Telepko (Realtor).

Fall 79


Dr. Alexander Chernyk was asked to spearhead the project.



UECC was formally incorporated and received nonprofit status.



First UECC Board of Directors elected; Daniel Maxymuik Esq. appointed UECC's solicitor, serving for 20 years on a pro bono basis.



Official UECC dedication ceremony with Archbishop Metropolitan Stefan Sulyk providing the blessing.



16 Ukrainian organizations joined the UECC.



1st UECC Christmas Bazaar held with art exhibits of local artists



VISTA Social Services Federal Grant awarded for $65,000 due to the efforts of Vera Andryczyk, Orysia Hewka, Martha Tatunchak and Maria Kondrat



Ukrainian American Senior Citizens Association formed as a program of the UECC.  Social services of UECC obtained contract with Montgomery County Department of Aging to provide hot lunches for our seniors.



Social Services Bureau expanded to a facility at 1325 West Lindley Ave.in Philadelphia – the branch continued to operate until 1994



Lottery for Building Renovation/Expansion raised $112,000 – organized by Board Member Christine Kulchyckyj

‘82 - ‘83


UECC joined United Way



Mrs. Orysia Hewka appointed Executive Director by UECC Board



First UECC Newsletter organized by Dr. L. Onyshkevych and V. Andryczyk



Courses in folk arts offered at UECC



Dr. A. Chernyk “Roast” held to benefit UECC.

5th UECC Banquet - $300K Mortgage Burned



Sen. M. Joseph Rocks (PA-R) honored as Man of the Year at 6th UECC Banquet. He helped secure a $50,000 grant for UECC Social Services.



UECC & Ukrainian Community Committee took part in “We the People 200, Inc.”

Constitutional Bicentennial at Balch Institute presenting an exhibit of Ukrainian heritage and customs.



Celebration of the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine in the Capital Building Rotunda in Harrisburg, PA - UECC & Philadelphia Organizations



Construction of new wing and atrium began at a cost of $850,000.00 USFCU contributed $154,000.00 for renovating the Main Hall.

1985 - 87


Ribbon Cutting and blessing of New Wing dedicated by Dr. Chernyk



1st Phonothon held, organized by B. Zacharczuk to pay down UECC building expansion loan

Spring ‘89


Borys Zacharczuk elected president.


The 1990s  

At annual Banquet Dr. A. Chernyk was honored for bringing many organizations to the center



Spearheaded by the UECC, “Ridna Shkola” and “Nasha Ukraiinska Shkola” CYM united into one school “Nasha Ukrainska Ridna Shkola;” Alexander Lushnycky, Ph D. elected as 1st principal



Ukrainian Library (Plast - Chortopolokhy) became program of the UECC



11th UECC Banquet, Sen. Greenleaf named “Man of the Year.”

His efforts brought UECC a second $25,000 grant for Building Renovations.



UECC and other Ukrainian Organizations took part in “Neighbors in the New World,” annual “Columbus Day” Parade



Ukraine proclaimed Independence.  UECC staff under Mrs. O. Hewka organized a motorcade and rally from 60th Street to Philadelphia Art Museum



Philadelphia Electric Co. building proclaimed “Ukraine is Independent” on its rooftop lighted sign. The project was initiated by P. Sawchak and executed by Mrs. O. Hewka under the direction of Borys Zacharczuk.



Organized 1st performers from free Ukraine: Vika Rock group, Cultural Exchange, Leontovych String Quartet, etc

‘90 - ‘91


UECC second newsletter – Quarterly was published. 

Editors: Dzwinka Zacharczuk and Petrusia Sawchak

‘89 - ‘96


1st Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk visits Philadelphia and the UECC



UECC presents distinguished Service Award to Eudokia Dyczko Blawacka (Ukrainian Radio program from ‘52 - ‘92) at the 13th UECC



B. Zacharczuk initiates UECC Radio program at station WNWR 1540 AM



UECC TV Programs produced and aired weekly Produced by B.Zacharczuk

 ‘96 - ‘98


1st Annual UECC Report  prepared by O.Hewka. An annual report is now prepared before each Annual Meeting.

Fall ‘89


1st Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence celebrated at UECC



UECC honors UNA at Centennial Anniversary – Supreme President Ulana Diachuk honored at UECC's Banquet



UECC organized a protest against the defamation of Ukrainians in a CBS “60 Minutes” documentary called “Ugly Faces of Freedom.”  A monetary penalty was paid by CBS.

Fall 94


The Metropolitan Ballet Academy/School under the direction of Ms. Lisa Collins opened at the UECC.



16th Annual Banquet honored Dr. Julian Kulas and Pres. B. Zacharczuk.

Second Mortgage of $500,000. was burned at the banquet.



UECC honored Editor Zenon Snylyk of “Svoboda” at their 17th Annual Banquet with special exhibits by the state of Pennsylvania and the PA Dept. of Agriculture



UECC featured Ukrainian Culture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Community Outreach program (1500 people attended)



Mykola Lutyj elected 3rd UECC president



First One Hour TV program in conjunction with “KONTAKT” directed by B. Zacharczuk was aired.

Fall ‘97


The first contribution from Ann and James Ganley, non-Ukrainians from St. Louis, Missouri who became very generous donors to UECC, contributing more than $85,000.00 over a number of years.‘97      


UECC Scholarship Pageant held. Natalka Sendecki was crowned “Miss Ukraine” of Greater Philadelphia



UECC held a reception for Rep. Jon D. Fox who was instrumental in securing $225 million in foreign aid to Ukraine. Vera Andryczyk chaired the effort.



18th UECC Banquet, Pres. Mukola Luty welcomed and honored Ukraine’s  Ambassador  to the U.S. Anton Buteiko10.98


Untimely death of UECC President Mykola Lutyj; Alexander Mychaluk became interim President.

 Spring '99


Patricia Sawchak elected as 3rd UECC president


The 2000s

UECC 20th Anniversary Banquet held - Amb. Kostiantyn Hryshchenko & wife Natalia attended - Service awards presented to Borys Zacharczuk, Eudokia Sorochaniuk, and Senior Citizens Association



1st annual UECC Easter Bazaar held.       



UECC Social Service Bureau under direction of Mrs. O. Hewka assisted Ukrainians forced to work in Germany during WWII in claiming reparations.  More then 350 were interviewed and assisted.

2000 – 2002


The UECC welcomed the crew of Ukrainian “Tall Ship” “Bat'kivschyna”

Spring '01


At UECC 21st Banquet, President P. Sawchak presented recognition award to John (Ivan) Hynansky for his generous contributions in USA and Ukraine



P. Sawchak achieved sales tax exemption for the UECC and established a website and an email address.



15th Anniversary of Chornobyl disaster commemoration held at UECC – proceeds earmarked for orphanages in Ukraine



UECC organized (P. Sawchak and O. Hewka) and presented “The Brave Rooster” a children’s operetta and political satire. 6.9.01


UECC sponsored 2nd Mosaic of Ukrainian culture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art



Gallery renamed in honor of Alexander Chernyk at a special dedication ceremony.



Borys Zacharczuk elected President of the UECC for a second time.



UECC Banquet held to honor Archbishop - Metropolitan Stefan Soroka of Ukrainian Catholic Church, chaired by UECC Director Mrs. T. Katruk.



Concert and tribute reception for Roma Pryma – Bohachevsky



UECC organized (Mrs. O. Hewka) 3-day HIV/AIDS awareness in Ukraine with the participation of Miss Universe, Justine Pasek

Spring 2010


Sculpture of Taras Shevchenko by Vitaliy Simianciw unveiled during commemorative concert. It now stands in the UECC lobby.



UECC 24th banquet honored the continued support of Ukrainian Self Reliance Federal Credit Union and Ukrainian Heritage Foundation (1st Security Bank)



UECC joined in co-sponsoring a Banquet and organizing a choral performance at the Philadelphia

Constitution Hall to honor Pres.Viktor Yushchenko in receiving the coveted Philadelphia Liberty Medal



UECC 26th Banquet lauded Ukraine’s new Trade relationship and celebrated the Jackson-Vanik Trade Amendment. Sen. Rick Santorum and Ukraine’s  Ambassador to the U.S. Oleh Shamshur were honored



Borys V. Pawluk elected President of UECC



First Cabaret-style night organized by Ms. L. Krywusha featuring Ukrainian born virtuoso Vasyl Popadiuk & his band “Papa Duke”



First “Meet & Greet” Festival organized by Mrs. Natalka Firko, UECC Program VP



English as a Second Language (ESL) classes organized by UECC and funded by Western Union

Fall ‘08


First Malanka Cruise (7 day) to the Western Caribbean organized and chaired by Mrs. A. Zharovsky. More than $25,000.00 was raised for the UECC.



Two new events organized for children - Den Ukrainskoyi Dytyny and a Cartoon Festivalchaired by Mrs. A.Zharovsky and Mrs. N. Firko



Ukrainian Greenhouse Association of Kyiv welcomed and hosted by Ukrainian Federation of America and UECC directors.     

Fall ‘08


UECC 25th Anniversary Banquet with the Honorable Judge Bohdan A. Futey as a keynote speaker.



UECC took part and assisted in commemorating the 75th anniversary of Ukraine's Famine 1932 – 33, and passed the Ukrainian International “Torch of Remembrance Day” to Mayor Michael Nutter.



Tribute luncheon for Dr. Eugene Novosad for twenty-five years of service as president of the Ukrainian American Senior Citizens’ Association



Ukrainian Selfreliance Federal Credit Union local branch opened at the UECC



UECC assisted the Ukrainian community in Philadelphia in voting in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada elections by organizing buses to New York City.



Ukrainian American NASA Astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper honored at UECC banquet – met Ukrainian children/hromada over a two day



Grant Committee reactivated – received $6,000 Grant from Western Union for ESL classes and $5,000 Grant from Congressman Josh Shapiro – initiated by Mrs. P. Sawchak

Spring 2009


Ukrainian Library celebrated its 50th anniversary with UECC and the Heritage School

Fall 2009


Mrs. Orysia Hewka, Executive Director of the UECC for over 25 years retired.Announcement and accolades presented at the 29th Annual UECC meeting   



Theater group formed by new Ukrainian immigrants presented the first of a series of Cabaret-style shows   “Lvivsky Vechir – Yazykata Dzhezva” chaired by Mrs. A. Zharovsky

Fall 09


Committee formed to celebrate the 30 year Anniversary of UECC chaired by Ms. Talia Firko. A sub-committee, chaired by Mr. L. Pyrih,  was formed to prepare and publish a 30 Year Commemorative Book of the UECC’s

Fall '09


“Schedryj Vechir” co-sponsored by the UECC and New Ukrainian Wave Organization



Mark Tarnawsky hired as New Executive Director.



30 Year Anniversary Gala Celebration held


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