CCJ Foundation Ukraine

The Independence monument and ukrainian flag in Kiev. Downtown of a capital


Dear CCJ traveler and friends of CCJF!

It feels like history is repeating itself.

In February of 1940, during the brutal invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union, my mother was born in the historic territory in those days known as Ingria. With roots in Finnish Karelia, the Ingrians spoke Finnish and identified as Finns, although they were citizens of the Soviet Union. During the war, they found themselves wedged between Stalin's Red Army and Hitler's Nazi Germany.

The initial part of this war lasted for 105 days, and was one of the most brutal, yet least documented part of the second world war....they fled to Finland during the Continuation War, and eventually landed in Sweden in 1946. They had some, but not much help along the way. Ingria disappeared from the map and their people were dispersed around the Soviet Union. Very few were able to ever return....

This time around, through social media and global news outlets, the world is watching in real time. We have a faster, more sophisticated way of responding and ability to directly support the Ukrainian people. CCJF has identified three different organizations who all directly support refugees with food, transportation, shelter and clothing.

World Central Kitchen is a world wide relief organization that specifically targets refugees on the move with healthy meals. Their program Chefs for Ukraine feeds thousands of Ukrainan refugees on the move in the neighboring countries.

UkraineNow is a global decentralized effort that organizes volunteers, drivers and temporary housing to the Ukrainians crossing the borders into surrounding countries.

CORE is a non-profit on the ground in Poland, distributing hygiene kits and thermal blankets, as well as emergency cash assistance to help families resettle.

CCJF will keep up with where funds are needed most, and make sure to update you as the situation changes. Thank you for your donation! Your support will make a difference.

Warm regards,
Cilla Utne (on behalf of the CCJF Board)

Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation (CCJF) was established as a 501(c)(3) public foundation in 1998 to promote global awareness and foster sustainable development in the countries where Cross Cultural Journeys visits. All donations to CCJF are tax-deductible.

The mission of CCJF is to “help create sustainable economic, educational, environmental and social development in underdeveloped countries of the world”. Since its establishment - apart from supporting Ukraine relief efforts - CCJF has developed and supported programs in numerous countries including Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Tibet, Myanmar, Nepal, Cuba and Guatemala.

You can support the important work of Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation by mailing us a check at:

Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation
321 Highschool Road, NE, Suite D3, Box 353
Bainbridge Island, WA, 98110


By credit or debit card: call our office: 1-800-353-2276

The Independence monument and ukrainian flag in Kiev. Downtown of a capital



Taltnamarte Village Preschool and Rug Co-op - The preschool was founded to promote and encourage access to formal education for young children in Taltnamarte Village, Morocco, especially for young girls. To make the project self-sustainable, seed funds raised in 2020 will support the foundation of a women’s rug cooperative that would ultimately fund the lasting expense of teachers' salaries of the preschool. While not an apprenticeship in lieu of formal education, the women who participate in the cooperative may be widows or divorced woman and/or other single mothers. The sales from the co-op will go towards:
1) income for the women of the cooperative (50%),
2) to pay the pre-school teachers’ salaries and any other expenses for the Taltnamarte Village Preschool pre-school (25%),
3) re-investment into the cooperative for capital expenses, e.g. buying wool and other materials for the making of the rugs (25%).

The idea for the co-op to fund the pre-school was developed in partnership with the CCJ travelers during their Spring 2019 tour.


Taa’ P’it - An after-school program in San Pedro La Laguna that provides local Tzutujil Mayan youth with computer skills training and teaches them about the ecology of Lago Atitlan, their “mother lake”. During 2020, the pandemic has stalled the in-classroom teaching, and instead, a successful in-home education of parents and children was launched to teach gardening and cooking classes remotely.

(NOTE: Because of the US embargo against the Cuban government, monetary donations are not allowed, but funds are raised for CCJF to be able to purchase goods to bring to Cubans in need).

  • Basic Household Goods to support Cuban families - While the Cuban government and rigorous medical system got a handle of the pandemic early on in Cuba, their economy relies heavily on tourism. The worldwide lockdown and a strict US embargo has in 2020 produced an ever growing chasm between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' in Cuba, and food and basic household goods are scarce. This fund is to buy and bring with us basic items like soap, shampoo and cooking oil that are not readily available.
  • Art Supplies to Muraleando - CCJ Foundation regularly brings paints, brushes, pencils, drawing pads, and other art supplies to Muraleando (mural-making), an amazing community folk-art project in one of Havana’s poor neighborhoods.
  • Youth Soccer in Havana - Cubans value athletics highly, but equipment can be hard to come by on the island. Since 2015, CCJF has brought several shipments of soccer equipment -- balls, pumps, cleats, practice cones and vests, referee’s whistles, etc. -- for a youth soccer league based in Havana.
  • Musical Instruments and Supplies - While it may seem like musical talent grows on trees in Cuba, musical equipment unfortunately does not. CCJF regularly brings musical supplies, like guitar strings, picks and saxophone reeds to give to Cuban musicians, and occasionally facilitates donations of instruments to Cuban music schools.
  • Medical Supplies to Hurricane Survivors - After Hurricane Matthew battered eastern Cuba in October 2016, CCJ travelers donated over $2000 to purchase medical supplies for residents of the affected area.


  • Queen of Sheba Tearoom - The  CCJ Foundation began with a small grant in 1997 to fund the roof of a tea house near Lalibela, Ethiopia, being built by a nine-woman co-op. The women were destitute widows and single mothers. Travelers from Cross Cultural Journeys continue to visit the now highly successful Queen of Sheba Tea House. The daughters of the original 9 co-op women are running the tea house and now saving to start a grocery store.


  • Nepal FREED - Working with the NGO Nepal FREED in the building of three rural schools and libraries and hiring teachers in the Sherpa region of Nepal. These schools had to be re-built by Nepal FREED after the earthquake, with infrastructure to withstand future earthquakes.  
  • Springdale School - Working with U.S. Springdale School team in the funding and construction of the building of a school in Bhaktapur, Nepal.


  • Scholarships and facilities for the children of a local orphanage in Tiruvannmalai, India, so they can complete their schooling at an English speaking school which prepares them for University studies.
  • 10 year commitment for scholarships through a local Indian NGO, for young village girls in India so they can complete their schooling at an English speaking school which prepares them for University studies.



Foundation projects and programs have included:


  • An embroidery co-op for young women to earn funds for their education and teach their craft to younger girls so that they might become employed.
  • Local crafts are purchased from subsistence level craftswomen and brought to the U.S. for sale; the proceeds are used to purchase more crafts to sell for them.
  • Funding a rural community medical and medical education clinic in Northern Ethiopia staffed by a local health care nurse with basic medicines and a visit monthly from a doctor from Addis Ababa.
  • A micro lending project overseen by local community elders with all repayment funds going back to the loan pool.
  • A small grant to fund the roof of a Tea House being built by a nine-woman co-op. The women were destitute widows or had been abandoned by their husbands. Travelers from Cross Cultural Journeys visit the now highly successful Queen of Sheba Tea House. The co-op of women are now saving to start a grocery store.
  • A grant was given to a 17 year-old woman to sponsor her tuition and living expenses while she attended a six-month tailoring training in Addis Ababa. Upon her return to Lalibela she established a tailor shop and taught 8 other young women tailoring skills. Their most recent grant was given for rent to open a store front shop.
  • A grant was made to fund the start up of a small restaurant where a number of local members of the community are employed. The proprietor has applied for a grant for a new refrigerator so that she can serve cold beverages to her patrons.
  • A grant was given to a Maasai woman who was starting a school for rural Maasai children to learn in their own language. The school is now self supporting.
  • A grant was made for a program to help build wells in villages where women traditionally have walked ten miles for daily water.


  • Funding the building, libraries, and teachers for rural schools in the Sherpa region of Nepal with the NGO Nepal FREED
  • Ongoing support for children at a Tibetan orphanage which teaches the children the traditional craft of paper making.
  • 10 year commitment for scholarships for young girls in India so they can complete their schooling.
  • Funds for supplies for a community project in Mongolia to rebuild a monastery. Travelers provide a day of service.
  • Provided books for rural schools in Mongolia.


  • Cuba – Medicines; glasses for elderly; bilingual books for schools, maternity clinics and NGO’S; sports equipment for schools; clothing
  • Ecuador and Peru – fair trade craft projects



The Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation board of directors:

  • Chair: Leif Utne - A long-time activist, journalist, musician and social entrepreneur, Leif is the co-owner and CFO of Cross Cultural Journeys.
  • Secretary: Cilla Utne - An expert in intercultural communication and a native of Sweden, Cilla is the President and CEO of Cross Cultural Journeys. She holds an MBA from Presidio/Pinchot University.
  • Treasurer: Carole Angermeir - Founder of Cross Cultural Journeys and the CCJ Foundation. Carole retired in 2015 after running CCJ for 24 years.
  • Shelley Morrison - Intercultural educator, journalist, and marketer.
  • Wilford Welch - Author, teacher, activist, retired executive and diplomat.

You can also support the important work of Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation by mailing us a check at:

Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation
321 Highschool Road, NE, Suite D3, Box 353
Bainbridge Island, WA, 98110


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