Katie Goes to Ukraine!

To my family, friends, and community at large:

As many of you know, I discovered and confirmed through a DNA test last October that I am Jewish. As one friend put it, “But… I always thought you were Jewish…” so this is more of a revelation to me than to some of you.

This knowledge and my participation in the Jewish community in Seattle has been a homecoming. I continue to research and work on the collection of essays for my memoir-in-progress that centers around this discovery. Many of these essays are published , and others are forthcoming or in the submission process. There’s more to write and this trip is the final missing piece. I plan to complete a draft of this memoir by June of 2017, which is why I'm coming to you.

This June, I am traveling to Lviv and Bolgrod, Odessa, Ukraine for ten days to meet with archivists and rabbis, and visit sites my family left four generations ago. Thanks to funding from local and international Jewish organizations, the flight is paid for. Housing, travel, food, and the essential need for a translator are not yet covered.

Just $12 from everyone on this list will cover the costs while in Ukraine.

My total budget is $2850.

My local synagogue where I have been taking classes on Judaism and attending Shabbat services has generously offered to cover the cost of a translator. A translator will help me read through documents and communicate with staff in government and archival offices, and will also serve as a travel partner (Everything is Illuminated, anyone?), as travel will be complicated.

Ukraine is a country still at war, with a population that does not speak English and is unfamiliar with foreign travelers. What’s more, I will be exploring Jewish communities that still suffer the effects of anti-semitism. Your funding will provide a degree of safety I cannot provide for myself on a tighter budget.

Of the remaining costs for all ten days, the following is still needed:

$1200 housing for myself and translator
$250 cost of travel within Ukraine (buses, trains, etc.)
$600 for food

I want to thank you so much in advance for any support you can provide. No matter how much or how little, your dollars will help me tell my story.

Donations (0)

  • Kate Mehta 
    • $25 
    • 41 mos
  • Abraham Hmiel 
    • $29 
    • 41 mos
  • Jeff Jones 
    • $12 
    • 41 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $12 
    • 41 mos
  • Tori Lo Mellin 
    • $15 
    • 41 mos
See all


Katie Lee Ellison 
Seattle, WA
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more