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.
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.
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.
Recommendations from Karina and Alex
How other sister cities are stepping up for Odesa, our sister city of 48 years
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.