The City of Rockford announced last week the creation of a Brovary Relief Fund to help support humanitarian aid for our Sister City in Ukraine. Rockford has enjoyed a Sister City relationship with Brovary since 1995, just four years after Ukraine declared independence from the former Soviet Union.

As the crisis began to unfold in recent days, officials in Brovary reached out to contacts in Rockford to request humanitarian aid; specifically asking for assistance with medicine, medical supplies, food, generators, clothing and sleeping cots for shelters and medical facilities.

In an email on Thursday to Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, Brovary Mayor Igor Sapozhko wrote, “Today is exactly a week since Ukraine accepted the battle with the Russian occupiers. Cities and villages are on fire, civilians are dying, and hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless.

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defense, volunteers, ordinary people and all the Ukrainian people are defending their land. Today there are no borders between our friendly countries.

“Today, Ukraine’s victory is security for the whole of Europe as well as for the whole world! We are aware of your sincere intentions to help us, so we appeal to your community. If you want to help Brovary, the Brovary Territorial Community, the Ukrainian people in our just struggle, respond. We need both funds and any material support.”

At the same time, local residents are expressing a desire to help. “At the City, we’ve been overwhelmed by calls from the community asking for ways our residents can help support Brovary,” says Mayor McNamara.

“I’ve spoken with the Mayor’s Office of Brovary to let them know our community is thinking of them and to assure them that our local fundraising efforts will directly support the needs of their city and its residents.”

Monetary donations can be made through two local organizations

Kids Around the World and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Charitable Foundation have pledged lead, matching gifts of $5,000 each.

To donate, people should visit or, where they can give securely online. Or checks can be made out and mailed to either organization with a note that the funds should be used for the Brovary Relief Fund. All contributions will be used to purchase and deliver goods and supplies either through trusted, verified international aid organizations and trusted contacts or donated directly to the City of Brovary for their use on critical humanitarian needs.

“I’d like to thank our partners for quickly coming together to launch this campaign, specifically, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kids Around the World and Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, as well as our aldermen,” says Mayor McNamara. “The horrific attack that is happening in Ukraine has really brought out the best in people of our community and around the world. It’s heartwarming to see organizations and residents coming together to support a city and a country in need.”

The relationship between the City of Rockford and Brovary began in 1995 after a soccer team from Kyiv visited Rockford and suggested a sister city arrangement with Brovary, a Kyiv suburb of 110,000. As a gift to Brovary, a Rockford group traveled to build the first of two playgrounds for Brovary’s children. They did not use wood, because of the risk that it might be stripped to heat homes during the harsh winters amidst a long and brutal recession. These two projects were the beginning of Kids Around the World, a Rockford organization that builds playgrounds for children in poverty-stricken and war-torn foreign cities.

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