The Most Important Source of Support for Finnish Culture in the United States
iittala glass photo by Elina Sirparanta courtesy

Did You Know...

...that you can hear 15 Finnish songs that were recorded in California in 1939 as part of a Works Progress Administration project? 

Sidney Robertson Cowell (above), an ethnographer and collector of traditional American music recorded, on acetate discs, American folk songs and those of 15 ethnic groups.

The collection, California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties, is available at the Library of Congress online.

In Central Valley, Shasta County, she made audio recordings of vocalists Celia Koljonen, Fina Petersen and Mary Salonen, who contributed five songs with titles like “Saturday Night,” “Rocky Hills” and “Deep in the Forest.”
In Berkeley, John Soininen belted out “Sailor’s Drinking Song” and nine other tunes including “Don’t Cry, Mother.”
To download or listen to the music and read more about the project, click here.

Library of Congress photo
Happy Spring!

We are learning from Finlandia Foundation chapters that there is a sense of optimism and a hope that they will be able to return to in-person gatherings in the not-too-distant future. While many have turned to virtual meetings and programs, nothing compares to getting together to socialize and enjoy music, films, lectures, craft fairs, language classes, pannukakku brunches and Midsummer celebrations.

During this time of separation, we have been concerned about the segment of our membership that may not have internet access or aren’t comfortable using it, and have not been able to stay connected. We hope that there is outreach to members to involve as many as possible.

Are you a Finnish-American or individual who is interested in Finnish culture, but do not belong to a chapter? Please click here for a list of organizations that are affiliated with FFN, or consider joining FFN as an individual member; click here for details.
Be sure to follow FFN on social media; click here: Meet FFN on Social Media

We would love to know which organizations currently have oral history programs to preserve the knowledge and stories of Finnish America, or are planning to record these stories when it’s safe to do so. Please email us at the address below with the status of your project.

We are offering a robust variety of virtual, free events in addition to our traditional grants and scholarships, Soiva Music Camp and financial support for students attending Salolampi Finnish Language Village. And we have exciting, new programs coming soon (see below).

Fortunately, your financial support indicates that these efforts seem to be appreciated. Your gifts are essential to our ability to share the rich history and contemporary culture of Finland and Finnish America.

With sincere thanks,

Anne-Mari Paster
ampaster @ rcn. com
My American Dream and the Grammy Connection
In the monthly FFN program My American Dream, tech investor Michel Wendell chats with Finnish and Finnish-American entrepreneurs who are pursuing success in the U.S.

On Thursday, March 25, Michel and Eero Teerikorpi talk about entrepreneurship.

My American Dream has a Grammy connection! The program's intro and closing music was written by Finnish songwriter and producer Jonas W. Karlsson---now of LA---who produced and was a writer on "U Move, I Move" on the 2021 Grammy-winning John Legend album Bigger Love.

Check out his MAD music at the FFN YouTube channel.
Chapter Spotlight: Copper Country, Michigan

Home of Heikinpäivä

Finnish migration to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula began in the late 1800s, when men came to work in the booming copper and iron mines. The Finns were the largest of several ethnic groups in “Copper Country,” and remain a presence today; the region claims the highest population of people of Finnish descent in the U.S.

That heritage is evident in the City of Hancock, the gateway to the Keweenaw Peninsula and the once-rich copper mining area. It's also home of Finlandia University, which was founded as Suomi College in 1896. Street signs are in Finnish and English and the major annual festival is January’s Heikinpäivä, an indoor-outdoor celebration featuring traditional foods, music, tori, sports and parade.

Hancock has hosted FinnFest USA three times---in 1985, 1990 and 2013---and is a Sister City to Porvoo, Finland. Kivajat, a folk dance group of the Theme Committee with about 40 youngsters ages 5-17, performs in costume throughout the area. Kivajat has also traveled to Finland, and Finlandia Foundation happily assisted with grant funds.

Finnish Theme Committee
of Hancock

The Finnishness of the area wasn’t always as visible or something widely celebrated. Finnish American Heritage Center Director James “Jim” Kurtti, who is also Finland’s Honorary Consul, explains that in the 1980s there was grant money available to small cities to develop programs along themes.

“There were public meetings to get input from the community, and only Finnish people showed up. That’s why we have the peculiar name (Finnish Theme Committee of Hancock).”

Joint Chapter Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday, April 27
Leaders of Finlandia Foundation's affiliated organizations are invited to attend the quarterly virtual Joint Chapter Meeting via Zoom at 8 p.m. (Eastern), Tuesday, April 27.

If you have a specific topic you'd like to discuss, please forward it to Maria Voltaine at and watch for an email with details about the meeting.
FFN Hosts New Monthly Interview Program
For her new program In Conversation, Maria Voltaine of Finlandia Foundation National chats with Philip Bailey, a robotic systems engineer with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Phil is on the Flight Systems team supporting the robotic arm of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. The Finnish-American grew up near Boston and has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Watch for an email announcement of the In Conversation YouTube launch date!
FFN's Soiva Music Camp, usually held at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, will this year host online classes for instrumental students over three days in June.

Details are still being finalized; watch for updates at:
FFN is offering financial assistance to students attending virtual or residential Salolampi Language Village this summer.

For details:
Coffee Concert March 27
In the next Finlandia Foundation Coffee Concert, violinist Liisa Makkonen (far left) joins cellist Jussi Makkonen and pianist Nazig Azezian in a selection of "Hungarian Dances."

The lively program will launch on the FFN YouTube channel Saturday, March 27. Watch for details in an email soon. To view previous concerts click below.
Photo by Pekka Varonen
Through your generous donations, Finlandia Foundation is able to offer scholarships to students like Dylan Koski (above), and grants to support projects related to Finnish culture. Your gift is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Paloheimo Foundation (up to $100,000 annually). FFN is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Thank You! Kiitos!
Music, Books, Food, Discussions & More

Finnposium is Finlandia Foundation National's virtual symposium featuring a variety of online chats, webinars, cooking, musical and other presentations related to Finland and Finnish culture in the U.S.

Find the entertaining and informative programs at the FFN YouTube channel.
PO Box 92046
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: 626.795.2081