FAMILY

David Leavitt heads to Ukraine to help donor find 500 families to support

May 10, 2022, 5:00 AM

Leavitt cannibalism criminal justice reform...

FILE -- Utah County Attorney David Leavitt speaks during a press conference at the Utah County Commission Chambers in Provo Wednesday January 23, 2019. Photo credit: Deseret News

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Utah County Attorney David Leavitt is heading to Ukraine to help an anonymous donor select 500 families to support for an entire year.

“He wants to be generous, but he doesn’t necessarily want the credit for it,” Leavitt said. 

Finding 500 families to support

To help with this generous donation, Leavitt will be on the ground in Ukraine trying to identify those 500 families. Once the families are identified, Leavitt says Visa gift cards will be provided to each family for immediate financial assistance until bank accounts can be set up.

“Really what we’re trying to do is humanize what’s going on in people’s lives,” he said. 

Leavitt is more than familiar with the war-torn country, it’s almost a home away from home of sorts for Leavitt and his wife. For 14 years (2004 to 2018), they worked in legal reform efforts in Ukraine as part of The Leavitt Institute for International Development.

“Our role was to teach the jury trial and American criminal law in 35 law schools throughout Ukraine and Moldova,” Leavitt said.

During their time there, the Leavitts made many friends, and even have a home there.

“Kyiv is as much a home city for us as Provo or Salt Lake is,” he said. 

Second trip to Ukraine

This is the second trip to Ukraine this year for Leavitt. He says he was there just before the Russian invasion to take care of some personal family issues, regarding their home.

“And now we’re going back to help our friends and others who are refugees,” Leavitt said. 

The process of identifying the families that will be supported figures to be a huge undertaking.

“We are taking applications and hearing stories and trying to identify people who have lost everything,” he said. 

Getting to Ukraine won’t be easy, however. Leavitt says he will first fly from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam. From there, he will fly to Romania, and will travel by ground the rest of the way into Ukraine.

Leavitt says he is accepting donations, and that can be done by clicking here.

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David Leavitt heads to Ukraine to help donor find 500 families to support