Update on May 13, 2022:

Ukrainians coming to Alaska through efforts organized by New Chance Inc. will be arriving on commercial flights rather than chartered planes.

They are being processed for entry into the United States through the new Uniting for Ukraine program of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That is a change from the original plan and will require longer up-front processing times but may ultimately even more Ukrainians than the original 600 will make it to Alaska.

Instead of three chartered flights, small groups will fly commercially as soon as paperwork is in order. Each will be connected with a host family when they arrive.

For more, go to: https://ukrainereliefprogram.com/

New Chance media contact:
Mike Robbins

Original press release:

For immediate release
May 11, 2022
Contact: Lisa Demer, 907-545-3555 (cell)

Anchorage, AK – Rasmuson Foundation’s board has approved emergency assistance to help 600 Ukrainians fleeing the war resettle in Alaska.

New Chance Inc., a nonprofit affiliated with New Chance Christian Church, is chartering three flights from Poland to Anchorage, each carrying 200 Ukrainians. Rasmuson Foundation is contributing $150,000 toward the $750,000 total cost. Alaska businesses and individuals have contributed generously, including $150,000 from Weidner Apartment Homes to match the Foundation award.

The first flight is this week, and the others will arrive later this month. Most of those coming have strong family ties to Alaska. About 150 are children.

New Chance, with Ukrainian clergy and membership, already has been helping Ukrainians displaced by the war with food, clothing and employment in Alaska. About 50 have made it here so far. The work has expanded to help Ukrainians living in camps in Poland and still in Ukraine. In March, Rasmuson Foundation provided a $25,000 grant to help with local efforts.

“Our board is unanimous in the desire to help,” said Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation president and CEO. “Those escaping the horrors in their homeland will be our neighbors in Alaska. We are glad to do what we can to support those who have lost so much get to a safe and welcoming place.”

Businesses already have expressed interest in the skillsets they will bring. New Chance, family members and other volunteers all are providing help in housing, feeding and employing the new arrivals. Those interested in donating or volunteering can do so through New Chance at UkraineReliefProgram.com.

“We are humbled Rasmuson Foundation came alongside our effort to better the lives of these arriving Ukrainians and grateful to the entire Alaskan community for their incredible support,” said New Chance program director Zori Opanasevych.

Zori Opanasevych and her sister, Oksana Vakulich, organized a fundraiser lunch to help bring Ukrainians to Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Zori Opanasevych)

One of the donors came to the United States 47 years ago with the help of an anonymous contribution. Today he is one of Anchorage’s most successful businessmen and told New Chance this is “a life I would have not been afforded otherwise.”

The support will help “give the same opportunity to future Alaskans,” said Opanasevych, who previously worked for Catholic Social Services providing refugee assistance.

“We are so grateful that New Chance organized humanitarian flights to help those who have lost their homes and family members as a result of the war,” said Robin Dempsey, CEO of Catholic Social Services. “We fully support this effort.”

[Download Press Release_Ukraine resettlement_051122_FINAL]


About the Foundation

Rasmuson Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans. Main funding areas are solutions to homelessness, health care, the arts, organizational and community development and human services including projects to address domestic violence, child abuse and services for seniors and people with disabilities. The Foundation was created in 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson, a Swedish missionary, to honor her late husband, banker E.A. Rasmuson.