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Our Ukrainian friends need our help NOw


Our Mission Statement

The goal of the Ashland/Sviatohirsk Sister City Project is to promote, foster and maintain a mutually beneficial and rewarding collegial relationship with a city in Ukraine on a long term basis. This kind of relationship traditionally includes reciprocal activities in the areas of education, the arts, and business and may include student and teacher exchange programs, scholarship funds, cultural events, language training programs via zoom, and potential business partnerships and promotions. Ashland has maintained such a relationship with Guanahuato, Mexico for over 50 years.


However, it is the sad reality that in the short-term, Ukrainian cities are under siege  by an aggressive, genocidal neighbor and need help in ways they cannot immediately reciprocate. Our intention, therefore, is to offer support now to a sister city that’s shown itself to be courageous and resilient in the face of unimaginable suffering, in the confidence that when the war is over, our partner city will regain its strength and capacity to be a full and generous partner in an ongoing and mutually supportive relationship.

Our motto is: we cannot hope to save the whole country of Ukraine, but we can, with good will and some collective hard work, help  one small town at a time.

The development of
our project

The project began with establishing communication between Tonya Graham, the mayor of Ashland and Volodymyr Ribalkin, the interim mayor of Sviatohirsk. They spoke by zoom for the first time on May 30, 2023. Mayor Ribalkin described the extensive damage done to his town by Russian shelling and a subsequent occupation for 7 months. He also gave us a breakdown of what was needed to restore critical infrastructure and begin the process of rebuilding the town. Our priority was to identify equipment and supplies that would be useful and purchase them  through our partner, Ukraine Aid International, rather than send money to track the usage of our donations and avoid corruption.


Here  in Ashland, a steering committee was formed to promote the sister city initiative.  The board presently has 6 members: Jim Nagel, Ben Stott, Paul Sheldon, Louise Paré, Paul Heard, Betsy Bishop, Jeff Dahle and Nikita Bazarsky. There is also a larger advisory group made up of volunteers who have skills and expertise to share and a commitment to support Ukraine.


On June 20, 2023, the Ashland City Council unanimously passed the resolution to adopt Sviatohirsk as our sister city with the aim of helping it, and by extension, all of Ukraine recover from the devastation and horror of the Russian invasion.


Since that time, ASAPAshland (the new name of our sister city initiative) has held two large fundraising concerts and raised enough money to purchase a large dump truck, assist in the installation of a large water filtration system, and do a pilot window restoration project. Our current project is to promote and help finance a micro-loan credit bank in Sviatohirsk to provide low cost loans for citizens to rebuild their small businesses. This we hope will provide jobs and essential services and be a key factor in restoring Sviatohirsk so that displaced town members will be attracted to return and participate in its rebirth. Our work in helping Sviatohirsk is also a template for other cities and NGOs looking for practical ways to help Ukraine.


Our Sister city's Story

Six ways you can help

1. Collect things to donate - high value medical supplies, cooking stoves, hand warmers, generators, power banks, solar chargers, etc. We can help you assemble and ship pallets of needed supplies.

2. Join protests and write to politicians  to “stay the course” and not give in to Putin's nuclear blackmail.

3. Sponsor and/or host a refugee or volunteer at a refugee center. Learn more here and here.

4. Hire Ukrainians

5. Volunteer your professional skills, IT, medical, de-mining, business/financial on-line or in country

6. Donate money
Money you donate to ASAP is used to improve the lives of the citizens of our sister-city, Sviatohirsk. Our partner, Ukraine Aid International  also supports five other similar projects and needs our support as well. We could not manage without their help.

Donate Now

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