REFLECTIONS FROM FFN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TOMMY FLANAGAN
Lyhyt Suomen kesä on!
What a summer we have had!
Just about six months ago I became the first executive director of Finlandia Foundation National, and what a ride it has been! I plunged in during National Sauna Week, which was followed by the FFN trustees' decision to secure the Finnish-American cultural assets held by Finlandia University, when the school suddenly announced its closing.
I want to thank our Board of Trustees and our FFN staff for their dedication to making our summer a success. Most of all, I thank you, our friends, supporters and donors, for helping to make it all possible. Your continued support allows us to have a robust offering of online events, grants, scholarships and innovative and exciting programming. We can do this only because of our community.
Speaking of community, many of us had a chance to meet in July at FinnFest in Duluth. Hats off to FinnFest USA on a fantastically Finnish 40th anniversary celebration. From sessions about family genealogy and heritage to Ambassador Hautala speaking with US Senator Amy Klobuchar about NATO, this FinnFest was a great first one for me. Seeing many of you in the tori was wonderful. It will be hard to top this one, but something tells me, our friends at FinnFest are already on it.
FinnFest offered us wonderful opportunities, from the busy booth at tori to a collaborative children's music program with Sibelius Academy and more; click here for a brief overview of FinnFest events.
We also had the soft-launch of our initiative, “Saving Finland in America.” A capacity crowd of more than 200 learned about our successful effort to save the historical archives and collection of the Finnish American Heritage Center. However, there is much more to do to secure the fate of these treasures. Please stay tuned: in the month of September, we will launch this campaign full-scale. We will need your help.
In the meantime, we invite everyone to watch our recorded FinnFest session for “Saving Finland in America” at the FFN YouTube channel, here. Although the road ahead is long, we know that together, as a community, we can ensure that our Finnish-American heritage lives on for future generations to enjoy.