May 23, 2024

How Baltimoreans Can Support Aid Efforts in Ukraine

March 22, 2022
Flag of Ukraine.

Baltimore is a city filled with kind-hearted people who have historically stepped up in times of crisis to support their community members in need. To that end, the horrific situation that is actively unfolding in Ukraine — as a result of the Russian invasion — has no doubt struck a chord with many of us in the city. As we sit and watch from a distance in our comfortable homes, many of us are left searching for ways to get involved and support.

Today’s post is made possible through contributions by Karina Mandell, Chair of the Baltimore-Odesa Sister Cities Committee (BOSCC), and Alexander Chizhik, CEO of Global Operations Group Ukraine Aid, Inc. Both Ukrainian immigrants and panelists on a recent episode of the Downtown Download Webinar, where we discussed this exact topic. If you missed the episode, you can watch the recording here.

Karina and Alex have done a great job of outlining how Baltimoreans can directly support Odesa and Ukraine as a whole. Keep reading for their recommendations.

About Baltimore-Odesa Sister Cities Committee

Learn More

Many people do not know this, but Baltimore and Odesa, Ukraine have been sister cities since 1974.  The Baltimore-Odesa Sister Cities Committee is a non-profit, volunteer organization that aims to promote mutual economic development, educational, cultural, health/environmental, and other cooperation and exchanges between Baltimore City and Odesa. The relationship is managed by ‘The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore’. In coordination with The Associated, BOSCC has recently been formed under the auspices of the Baltimore Sister Cites organization to broaden the relationship.

About Global Operations Group Ukraine Aid, Inc.

Learn More

Global Operations Group Ukraine Aid, Inc., is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3)* charitable non-profit foundation with a mission to support the Ukrainian people during the current military attack by Russia. Their fundamental goal is to rapidly provide funds and supplies for humanitarian and survival needs to those who need them the most.

How To Get Involved

Recommendations from Karina and Alex

Supply donations Odesa Ukraine. Baltimore's Sister City

As an Individual

See what your business or employer can offer by sector

Some Ideas

  1. Businesses can sponsor upcoming events in and around Baltimore, or host their own.
    • Ukrainian Independence Day is August 24th
  2. Health: Ukraine Ministry of Health has reached out to Maryland Government officials seeking support with trauma response to mass casualty events
  3. IT: Lend your tech companies to the Ukraine IT army fighting cybersecurity battle or support your local Non-Profit’s online needs. More Here 
  4. Fashion: Wedding Gown Manufacturer starts producing gear for soldiers. Read More
  5. Manufacturing: Lego Figure of President Zelensky – sells out and raises $160,000. Read More
    Use a laser cutter or 3D Printer for the Ukrainian coat of arms as a fundraiser

Aid directly into Ukrainian citizens and/or military

  1. Speaking to the Mayor of Odesa’s office every day to access their needs – BOSCC has an itemized list of things they’ve asked for.
  2. World Central Kitchen made it directly to their city to provide food by rail and many pounds of food – 5 dollar donation gives a refugee a hot meal – Learn More
  3. Several businesses or individuals making personal donations and holding fundraisers. BOSCC is coordinating with several partners to discuss the logistics of shipping aid to Poland and Ukraine by land/air. BOSCC is always open to new partners.

Aid to refugees fleeing Ukraine

Aid to refugees bound for the US

  1. Have calls with Senators and Delegates at the State level to discuss not only direct aid to Ukraine, but securing resettlement funds for future refugees once they arrive and a pathway directly to citizenship and reunification with family members.
  2. Speak with Catalina Rodriguez from MIMA (Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Migration Affairs
  3. Lawyers can volunteer through the American Immigration Lawyers Association
  4. Immigration Lawyers can cost $100,000 -$200,000, donate directly to the replenish this fund that helped Afghan refugees
  5. Start discussing plans with your family members about the best was to help refugees bound for Baltimore.


How other sister cities are stepping up for Odesa, our sister city of 48 years

  • Tallinn, Estonia sent $50,000
  • Klaipeda, Lithuania gave $150,000 and is preparing to send $500,000
  • Constanta, Romania received more than 20 families (women with children)
  • In addition to aid from Poland, Germany, Romania, Austria  are all helping
  • Marseille, France gave 5 ambulances and 1 firetruck


BOSCC needs help making connections to build a coalition of businesses, as there is no “Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce”. Help us highlight these individuals!

Connect us to the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce, EAGB, BBB, etc. Asking for a call to reach Ukrainian affiliated small businesses businesses and promote them so we can list their items and promote them in our local economies, no doubt some of those funds will be sent back to family and friends in Ukraine. 


This unfortunate situation has mobilized all of us. Karina and Alex are offering themselves and their organizations to this humanitarian cause, but are also asking for any resources that you, your businesses, or your stakeholders might be able to lend from your networks. Please feel free to reach out to them directly if you would like to get involved.

Contact Karina

Contact Alex


Baltimore-Odesa Sister Cities Committee meet with Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott to present him with a gift from the Mayor of Odesa Ukraine.