Jan 26, 2023 11:47 AM ET

To most people in the commercial real estate industry, Russ Krivor is best known as president and CEO of New York real estate development firm Sovereign Properties. But real estate means something different to those currently living in war-torn Ukraine. As a Tikva Odessa board trustee, Krivor works with the non-profit organization to help secure another type of real estate for these individuals – shelter, food and other essential services for adults and children who reside in OdessaUkraine.


A native of Ukraine, Krivor’s interest in Tikva Odessa is highly personal. Launched in the early 1990s, the organization provides housing, education and assistance to Odessa’s abused and abandoned Jewish children. As the largest Jewish orphanage in Ukraine, Tikva Odessa helps these children gain self-sufficiency and skills.


Krivor had been involved with the organization—”on the periphery,” he said—for several years. Then, he told his friend, Yanna Begelman, Tikva Odessa’s Director of Development, that he was interested in a more active position on the board.

“Because I was from Odessa, I wanted to be more involved,” Krivor said, adding that he came to the United States when he was three years old. “I had a family who loved me and parents who provided [for] me,” Krivor added. “I knew this was my moment, and I needed to step up.”

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Tikva Odessa’s mission expanded. According to Krivor, Tikva Odessa’s Ukraine facility became a refugee facility to aid not just at-risk children, but the entire Odessa Jewish population.

“We have families living on our campus,” Krivor said. “We also have a food kitchen for Odessa residents who have nothing to eat.” Other services offered include an adult daycare component for the elderly, an education center for both children and adults, and a bomb shelter. Tikva Odessa also has an on-site center in Romania that aids Ukraine’s Jewish refugees.

Mr. Krivor was recently honored at Tikva Odessa’s Journey of Hope Gala in New York City, an event that generated approximately $1.65 million in donations, a portion of which Krivor raised from within the New York real estate community and from Mr. Krivor’s own friends and family.

“Given the situation there, I want[ed] to do what I could to support this organization,” Krivor explained. “I’m very thankful that the business community came together; everyone I know has been so incredibly generous and willing to help.”

And help is definitely needed. Tikva Odessa’s monthly budget is $2.5 million and is liable to grow as the RussiaUkraine war continues. “We’re currently housing and feeding 3,500 people, providing clothing to Ukraine refugees in Romania and are taking care of a massive community in war-torn Odessa,” Krivor said. “Every little bit helps the population there; they need our support.”

To learn more about Tikva Odessa and to donate, visit the website at

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