Did You Know...

...that the image of Santa Claus known and loved for generations was created by an American illustrator of Finnish and Swedish descent?

Haddon "Sunny" Sundblom was born in Michigan in 1899 to immigrants, Swedish mother Karin Andersson and Finnish father Karl Wilhelm Sundblom. The artist first developed the jolly fellow in a red suit in 1931, for Coca-Cola advertising. He continued to create original art of Santa through 1964. 

Click here for fun facts about the artist and the Santa story, including a short video, from Coca-Cola. 

Click here for more about Santa from his home in Finnish Lapland.
Thanksgiving Greetings!

It's exciting to see so many activities filling the calendars of FFN chapters and other Finnish-American groups, from December 6 Finnish Independence Day celebrations to various holiday events.

Christmas markets and bazaars are loaded with decorations, wonderful imports and handcrafted gift items. There are concerts and tonttu- and himmeli-making craft sessions, plus parties for the children, with special holiday treats and a visit with Joulupukki. These make wonderful memories and help to preserve our traditions for future generations.

We are thankful for the many volunteers who are committed to keeping Finland in America, not only through the holidays but all year-round.

Wishing you and yours a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving,

Anne-Mari Paster
Last year at this time Finlandia Foundation premiered two exclusive interviews about the popular novel Ice, with author Ulla-Lena Lundberg, and with Jaakko Kuusisto, composer of the opera based on the book.

The story, about a young pastor and his family in Finland’s rugged outer archipelago, was awarded the 2012 Finlandia Prize for literature. Ice was adapted for the stage by the Finnish National Opera, and premiered 2019.

Sadly, Jaakko Kuusisto passed away several months following the FFN interview, but his program and that with Ulla-Lena Lundberg remain online for free viewing at the FFN YouTube channel; click their names above to view.

In honor of Finland's Independence Day on December 6, enjoy the concert recorded last year by pianist Ruusamari Teppo, accompanied by beautiful visuals. It also features soprano Maria Männistö, violinist Jiwon Kim and cellist Eric Smith. It's available online anytime; click here.

These are just two of the many programs you may watch, and share with family and friends, compliments of FFN.
A Gift to FFN Could Be a Win-Win
If you have a Required Minimum Distribution from your IRA, you may donate it to Finlandia Foundation National and save on your taxes.

At age 72, the IRS requires that you begin making withdrawals from your IRA or other employer-sponsored retirement accounts, or face costly penalties and fees. But many retirees don’t need the income to live and, by taking the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), they trigger higher taxes.

By donating the RMD directly to a 501(c)(3) organization, like Finlandia Foundation National, retirees can avoid these taxes and support their favorite non-profits. The dollar amount of the gift may be excluded from your taxable income up to a maximum of $100,000 annually. Eligible
accounts include:
·     Traditional IRAs
·     Rollover IRAs
·     SEP IRAs
·     Most 401(k) and 403(b) plans
There are no RMDs for Roth IRAs, unless they are inherited.

Unless they are donated to charity, the IRS will tax your RMDs as income. This means that these distributions will count toward your total taxable income for the year, which may push you into a higher tax bracket, impact the taxes you pay for your Social Security or Medicare, and may be subject to additional local and state taxes. So, if you don’t need the income to live, contact your tax advisor and consider donating directly through your retirement accounts to a charity like Finlandia Foundation National.
January 17: Grant application deadline; click here
January 24: Virtual Joint Chapter Meeting, 8 p.m. (Eastern)
February 1: Scholarship application deadline; click here
February 1: Lindfors Law Scholarship application deadline; click here
February 19-25: National Sauna Week; click here
Your Gifts Make It All Possible
November 29 is Giving Tuesday, "a day that encourages people to do good."

The worldwide day of giving launched in 2012 as a way to help non-profit groups, as well as individuals.

Please consider a Giving Tuesday gift to FFN. 

As an independent non-profit, FFN relies on your generous gifts to support the grants, scholarships, Young Leaders Board and all of our programs celebrating and promoting Finnish culture and Finland in America.
Your contribution is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Paloheimo Foundation (up to $100,000 annually).

Finlandia Foundation National, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Thank You! Kiitos!
February 19-25, 2023