The Most Important Source of Support for Finnish Culture in the United States

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In a virtual program on January 25, Finlandia Art Gallery Director and Curator Carrie Vander Veen chats with Finnish artist Marjo Levlin about her recent exhibit, Heading West, Coming Back, and documentary film Oblivion (above). See details below.

Did you know...

...that we are hiring?

Finlandia Foundation National recently acquired the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, including North Wind Books. 

We are now hiring a full-time bookstore manager!

Salary range is $35,000 to $40,000.

Deadline to apply is Friday, January 19, 2024.

Click below for details and job description:



We have started the year with exciting news!

First, we are now the proud owners of the Finnish American Heritage Center and North Wind Books buildings in Hancock (see below).

Additionally, we were humbled to have received the cornerstone gift in our Saving Finland in America campaign from Kerhotalo in Lake Worth, Florida (item below). Their dedication and leadership have been nothing short of admirable. The legacy of their hall and community lives on through the preservation and, indeed, advancement of Finnish-American culture in the United States. Because of the support we have received from people across the country we can say, “WE did it--together!” The words "thank you" don’t seem to express how much this contribution means to FFN and the Finnish-American community. Kiitos.

And, we have much to look forward to! In the next months, we will be announcing our 2024 grants and scholarship recipients, hosting our third annual National Sauna Week, launching our Soiva International Music Camp, sponsoring a Sibelius Academy and Juilliard collaboration, sharing programming for our Finnposium, announcing events and programs of the Young Leaders Board, and highlighting our 2024 Performer, Lecturer and Artist of the Year. This activity is possible only through the generous donations of Finnish-Americans and friends of Finland across the country.

We look forward to seeing you many of you at FFN programs and events. Don’t forget, we are always happy to hear from you.


Tommy Flanagan

Executive Director

[email protected]


In a live, virtual program at 1 p.m. (Eastern), Thursday, January 25, Finlandia Gallery Director and Curator Carrie Vander Veen chats with Finnish artist Marjo Levlin (left), whose work was recently featured in Heading West, Coming Back, a mixed-media exhibit at the Finnish American Heritage Center.

The talk will include screening of Marjo's 30-minute video, Oblivion.

Click here to receive the coordinates for the Zoom session.

Heading West, Coming Back tells the story of late 19th century migration from Finland to the United States. “It is also a journey from the village of my youth, Maalahti (Malax), in Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia, to California and Colorado,” says Levlin. “The exhibition is about dreams of a better life somewhere else, about memory and how very soon the history of ordinary people passes into oblivion... The past is so much like the present and contemporary immigration.”

Click here for more about the exhibit


The American Finnish Club of Lake Worth, Florida (known in the community as Kerhotalo) presented a gift of $1 million to Finlandia Foundation National on January 11, 2024. The monumental donation is the cornerstone contribution in the Saving Finland in America campaign launched in 2023 to preserve and protect the historical and cultural assets of the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock, Michigan.


Additionally, a part of this donation will be designated to establish the “Kerhotalo Fund” through FFN, which will enable and support scholarships, grants and programs that are connected with, or relevant to, the Finnish-American community and Florida. Both objectives represent a significant boost to Finnish America.


FFN President Anne-Mari Paster and Executive Director Tommy Flanagan, as well as FFN Trustee and Honorary Consul of Finland Peter Makila, accepted the ceremonial check. It was presented by Kerhotalo President Kaija Kalervo (fourth from right, above) and board members at the Annan Maja building at Finnish-American Village in Lake Worth.

“The contribution by Kerhotalo is significant and enabled us to reach our three million dollar goal,” says Paster. “It is humbling to know that the members of the organization have entrusted Finlandia Foundation with this new responsibility and opportunity in Hancock. With this gift, we will be able to ensure a future for these irreplaceable treasures of Finland and Finnish America.”


“This gift carries on the legacy of the founders of Kerhotalo in a very meaningful way,” says Kaija Kalervo. “Many of them came to Florida from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and their Finnish heritage was of utmost importance. The fact that we can help save the Heritage Center and its contents, and create a Kerhotalo Fund to help support current projects in Florida, is the best way we can honor the hard work of everyone who supported Kerhotalo over its 80 years. ”


Finlandia Foundation National is now owner of the Finnish American Heritage Center (above left) and North Wind Books store in Hancock, Michigan. The two buildings were formerly a part of Finlandia University.


The purchase is the next step in FFN’s mission to preserve the Finnish cultural institutions that faced an uncertain future when the school announced its closure in March 2023. These include the Heritage Center and bookstore, as well as the Finnish American Historical Archive, Finlandia Art Gallery, Finnish American Folk School, Price of Freedom Museum and The Finnish American Reporter.

To be successful in this effort, FFN launched a $3 million campaign to preserve these entities.

Thanks to the support of donors, FFN has been able to purchase two buildings, the archival material, artwork, artifacts, inventory and the resources related to the folk school. FFN has also secured the positions of the six staff members responsible for the ongoing programs, operations, and conservation of and care for the material assets.

“With the acquisition of these cultural institutions, FFN moves into the next phase of its overall plan to make them more accessible to the general public, including the digitization of many of the archival records and creating touring exhibitions of the contents. Additionally, the organization will create an endowment to ensure the future health of the FAHC and entities,” says FFN Executive Director Thomas Flanagan.

National Sauna Week Poster Winner

National Sauna Week celebrates its third year with a new look: the winning entry in the inaugural poster art competition. In February of 2022, Finlandia Foundation National launched the annual sauna celebration to increase awareness and appreciation of traditional Finnish sauna. Given Finland’s renown for the arts, it was a natural next step to express the importance of sauna through an artist’s eyes.


Debbie Paver of Calumet, Michigan, submitted the winning poster entry and says, “I am incredibly excited to be a part of this tradition!” The graphic designer grew up in lower Michigan, and loves calling the Keweenaw Peninsula home. She enjoys hiking, time with her dog and her “beloved Lake Superior,” rockhounding, photography, vinyl records and invitations to her friends’ sauna.

The judges---noted Vermont artist and FFN Artist of the Year Eric Aho and Finlandia Art Gallery Director and Curator Carrie Vander Veen---pored over the 15 entries from all corners of the United States. They were impressed by many of the designs submitted, and engaged in quite a bit of discussion before deciding on Debbie Paver’s interpretation, saying, “We liked the elegant, refined view of the winter palette of the Keweenaw and also the inviting warmth of the sauna, making the sauna experience welcoming to all.”


January 19: Application deadline for North Wind Books manager position; click here

January 24: 8 p.m. (Eastern) Virtual Joint Chapter Meeting

January 25: 1 p.m. (Eastern) Virtual chat and film screening; click here

February 1: Scholarship application deadline; click here

February 1: Lindfors Law Scholarship application deadline; click here

February 18-24: National Sauna Week; click here

April 30: Salolampi Language Village grant application deadine; click here

July 15-21: Soiva Music Camp; watch for details

July 25-28: FinnFest USA 2024 in Duluth; click here

Your Gifts are Appreciated and Needed

Your contributions make FFN programs possible. Your contribution to FFN is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Paloheimo Foundation (up to $100,000 annually).

Finlandia Foundation National, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation is tax deductible.

Please make your gift today.

Thank You!



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