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2024 Board of Directors Retreat

Velkommen! Tervetuloa! Velkominn! Velkommen! Välkommen,

Nordic Northwest is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors that currently includes 16 members led by me as President. The Bylaws vest the Board with the authority to “establish fiscal policy, and such other policies and procedures for administering the affairs of [Nordic Northwest].” The Board meets monthly (except August and December) to manage the affairs of Nordic Northwest. The responsibility to ensure that Nordic Northwest remains financially strong and able to serve the community for generations to come requires that we stand back from time to time and consider our future.

The mission of Nordic Northwest is to highlight, honor, educate, communicate, promote and celebrate Nordic culture and traditions, ancestral, modern and contemporary.

Facts & Figures

  • Over 150 programs in 2023, with an estimated 51,300 people attending and visiting the campus.

  • Fiscal Year 2024 revenue: $1.7 million – top 8% of Oregon non-profit organizations

  • Membership: 1,463

  • Volunteers: 300+ volunteers and more than 14,000 volunteer hours in FY 2023

  • Over 2,250 guests attended Midsummer at the Nordic Northwest Campus

  • Viking Beer Fest expanded to two days and earned over $190,00 in revenue

  • ScanFair had another record year of attendance – 8,000+ -- in its second year at the Oregon Convention Center.

One of the ways we do that is through an annual Board Retreat, held this year in late January at the Portland Art Museum. We started our consideration of the future with a reflection on the past. After 38 years, Nordic Northwest (originally the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation) has grown from a focus on support of Scandinavian language and culture instruction at Portland State University into a leading cultural organization in Oregon with a broad mission.

At an informal gathering amidst the exhibit on the traditions of Finnish Sauna, the board heard from several of the influential Founders and Builders of Nordic Northwest, of the dreams and struggles, the successes and challenges, prior leaders have experienced over our 38 years. This provided perspective on where we have been and where we might go in the future.

Nordic Northwest has never been stronger nor had greater impact on our community. Our participation in the Northwest Nordic Trolls: The Way of the Bird King: exhibit by the internationally renowned Danish recycled materials artist Thomas Dambo is bringing thousands of new visitors to our shaded campus to see Ole Bolle, one of Dambo’s own favorites, peer into Troll Hus looking for something for his belly. Many of you now reading this were introduced to Nordic Northwest through our 19-foot troll – and you have stayed to enjoy the many opportunities we offer for cultural enrichment and entertainment.

We stand at an inflection point with an opportunity to evolve in a way that ensures we remain as relevant for the next 40 years as we have been for the prior four decades. The Board retreat began development of a three-year vision for Nordic Northwest and identified the actions we must take in 2024 to make progress towards defining that vision further with our membership and the community and how we will make progress towards achieving it.

Our challenge is how to remain relevant as myriad changes impact the Nordic community in Oregon and the world. We see an increasingly pluralistic and multi-cultural world; how do we maintain our commitment to the Nordic heart of our mission in this environment of continuous change? How do we continue to grow while retaining the sense of community that gives that mission life and strength?

In the next newsletter I will discuss how we plan to meet this challenge and answer these questions that will impact the future of Nordic Northwest.

Med venlig hilsen | Ystävällisin terveisin | Með kveðju | Med vennlig hilsen | Med vänliga hälsningar

Peter Loop

Board President


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