Mar-Jun 2020: The Coronavirus Campaign

As COVID-19 hit the world, 40 RUF volunteers worked day and night, adding in 2,400 volunteer-hours in April alone. RUF's Coronavirus Campaign raised over $800,000. The proceeds were immediately sent to the most affected areas and to over 1,000 institutions in Romania that needed urgent help. Over 300,000 face shields were produced from plastic purchased mostly through the efforts of Romanian United Fund, covering every doctor, nurse, ambulance worker, and policemen in Romania and the Republic of Moldova with a free face-shield sponsored by the diaspora. Hundreds of thousands of masks and tons of protective equipment were delivered all over the country as a direct result of our fundraising campaign. 

Dec. 2019: The "Via Transilvanica Gala"

One of the most successful fundraisers ever in the Romanian Diaspora, RUF's Via Transilvanica Gala (2019) gathered 340 prominent members of the Romanian community in Chicago to raise over $100,000 for Via Transilvanica. Also known as the "Camino the Santiago" of Romania, Via Transilvanica is a 1,000-kilometer trail spanning Romania from North to South. In the process, RUF became a strategic partner to Tasuleasa Social and financed 10% of this magnificent nonprofit project which one day we hope will bring millions of people to visit Transylvania and Romania.

Sep. 2019: Romanian United Fund

In September 2019, Romanian United Fund was incorporated as an International Charity Grantmaking Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization registered with the IRS in the state of Illinois. The Board of Directors was formed and Mihai Lehene was elected President. The new organization started on solid ground, as a result of a $50,000 financial commitment from Mihai Lehene, and his promise to continue bootstrapping the organization as Main Sponsor for up to five years, during which RUF plans to become 100% self-sustainable.

May. 2019: "Asa a Zis Bunica" - our first project

Inspired to speak up against insidious and corrupt political leaders in the home country, the Romanian Diaspora stood up en-masse to vote for Democracy. Romanian United Fund partnered with Declic and Mircea Bravo to create the "Asa a Zis Bunica" viral video clip, which sent a message for the younger generation to get out and vote. With over 12 Million views, the fun and witty creation of the famous vlogger Mircea Bravo was the most shared Romanian video in 2019.

Feb. 2019: A New Direction

Navigating into 2019, it has started to become more clear that the Romania 100 civic movement was losing steam, some of its energy being redirected to other causes. Our small group of volunteers started thinking for the first time about the possibility of creating a brand new organization. After months researching the Irish, Polish, Jewish and Italian communities, it became clear that a Funding organization (similar to Ireland Funds and Jewish United Fund) was something that would largely benefit the Romanian diaspora.

Dec. 2018: Yada, yada, what do we do?

Our first large meeting took place on December 5th, 2018 in an upscale office building downtown Chicago. The main question on everyone's lips: we're all here, we all have various commitment and availability, and we all want to help. Yet, how do we do that? With that, the stage was set. Our goal was to make sure as many people as possible can get involved.

Aug. 2018: Famous startup stories start in a garage. Ours starts at a public library.

At the initiative of Tudor Ancas, a small group of volunteers got together at a local library in Chicago, to learn how they could get involved in a civic movement called Romania 100. Enthusiasm was high, and they decided to get all their friends together in one large event and talk about the multiple opportunities to get involved.