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                 Non profit organization
under Section 501.c.3 of the US Internal Revenue Code
Kipinästä Liekki – From Spark to Flame!

Welcome to the Home Page of Finn Spark, Inc.

About Finn Spark

The mission of Finn Spark, Inc. (Kipinä-Kerho) is to engage in charitable, educational, and cultural activities; to raise funds to benefit the elderly and children’s causes; and to give scholarships to educational and cultural institutions in Finland and in the United States.

Finnish Christmas Bazaar
The next Finnish Christmas Bazaar, the major fund-raising event organized by Finn Spark, will be held on Saturday, Nov 22, 2014.  This event attracts over 1500 people.  For further information about the Bazaar go to

Follow us on Facebook   (www.facebook.com/finnspark)

Finn Spark 65th Anniversary Gala

Gala Photos: Go to Members -- News

(photo links restricted to Members)

*Scroll down for history of Finn Spark

*Reflections on Finland Independence Day

        by Liisa Herweg, member and newsletter editor


n 1949, at the inspiration of Edith Hart, a unique Finnish-American club, KIPINÄ-KERHO, was founded in Washington D.C. by a group of women born in Finland, or of Finnish descent. The purpose was to keep Finnish culture and language alive and render material assistance to their war-torn homeland.  Initial efforts were directed toward collecting clothing and other necessities.  As time went on, these energetic womenand their spouses turned to raising money through popular Christmas bazaars at which Finnish delicacies, glass and books, etc. were sold. 
The proceeds from this undertaking have grown steadily, and go to fund medical,  educational, elderly care institutions and scholarships in the U.S. and Finland.  Donations are tax deductible under Section 501(C )3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The Association is incorporated as FINN SPARK, Inc. It meets on average once a month.  Come and join us! Puhumme suomea!


Vuonna 1949, Edith Hartin innoittamana, ryhmä Suomessa syntyneitä, tai suomalaiset sukujuuret omaavia naisia, perusti Washingtonissa ainutlaatuisen suomalais-amerikkalaisen yhdistyksen, KIPINÄ-KERHON.  Tarkoituksena oli ylläpitää suomalaista kulttuuria sekä suomen kieltä ja antaa materiaalista apua heidän sodan runtelemalle kotimaalleen.
Ensimmäiset ponnistukset pyrittiin suuntaamaan vaatteiden ja muiden välttämättömyystarvikkeiden keräämiseen. Ajan mittaan nämä energiset naiset ja heidän puolisonsa ryhtyivät keräämään rahaa suosittujen joulumyyjäisten avulla; myyjäisissä oli tarjolla suomalaisia herkkuja, lasia, kirjoja jne. Tämän hankkeen tuotto on kasvanut tasaisesti ja sillä rahoitetaan lääketieteellisiä, sivistyksellisiä ja vanhustenhoitolaitoksia sekä stipendejä Yhdysvalloissa ja Suomessa. Lahjoitukset ovat verovähennyskelpoisia Yhdysvaltojen verolain 501(C)3 pykälän mukaisesti. Yhdistys on rekisteröity FINN SPARK, Inc. nimisenä. Se kokoontuu keskimäärin kerran kuussa. Tule mukaan! Puhumme suomea!



Upcoming events

Sun, November 09, 2014 2:00 PM • NorthWest DC
Sat, November 22, 2014 11:00 AM • River Road Unitarian Universalist Church, 6301 River Road, Bethesda, MD 20817

      FINLAND Government Selected  "links"

      Finland Embassy DC Calendar 

      Finland Embassy DC via Twitter

      Finland Embassy DC Facebook


      Finlandia Foundation National Capital Chapter (FFNCC)

      Coming Events Calendar

      Finlandia Foundation (National)

      Events Calendar (2013)

      American Scandinavian Association

      Coming Events Calendar

      Nordic Dancers of Washington, DC




News items of interest those of Finnish heritage 

and to Finnophiles

(This section contains selected news items from the

"this is FINLAND" (www.finland.fi) web site and other news sources.

Finland Needs To Start Advertising How Great It Is
http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-finlands-marketing-problem-has-turned-into-an-economic-problem-2014-10#ixzz3HLbEQHYC      Oct 27, 2014
Finnish companies already produce quality products. The area where they are known to be weak is in marketing.

Finnish dads take the baby box global
http://www.goodnewsfinland.com/archive/news/finnish-dads-take-the-baby-box-global/                                                          Oct 4, 2014
For over 75 years, expectant parents in Finland have been given a maternity box stocked with all the essentials a newborn needs. Recently the baby box has become an international phenomenon after a BBC story about it became one of the most widely read on the site. Now, thanks to the entrepreneurialism of three Finnish dads, you won’t have to be a Finn to get one.

Finnish Prime Minister: 'Moscow Is Provoking a Number of Its Neighbors'
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/finnish-prime-minister-discusses-possible-nato-membership-a-994356.html            Sept 28, 2014
In an interview, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, 46, discusses relations with neighboring Russia and his country's flirtation with NATO. He says Finland will make a decision "without asking for permission."

How Finland inspired the Moomins
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p024096c        with video
This year marks the centenary of the birth of Tove Jansson – the creator of the Moomins – the hugely successful characters which featured in a series of children’s books and a comic strip.
The Travel Show went to their home country of Finland to discover what inspired their magical world

Helsinki Divided on Plan for a Guggenheim Satellite
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/arts/design/helsinki-divided-on-plan-for-a-guggenheim-satellite.html?ref=arts         July 15, 2014
HELSINKI, Finland undefined City boosters in this Nordic capital dream of a Guggenheim museum of Finnish wood rising near the Baltic Sea and one day drawing millions of tourists and cruise passengers. But the huge costs of the proposed development are stirring a backlash here against an institution that is ordinarily accustomed to eager suitors.

Global demand for rye products on the rise
http://www.goodnewsfinland.com/archive/themes/finnish-flavors-abroad/global-demand-for-rye-products-on-the-rise/    July 7, 2014
The health effects of rye have been studied for a long time, and consumers are also showing growing interest in them.
Alongside the traditional Finnish rye bread, new products are hitting the market at an increasing rate. Linkosuo’s crispy rye products, for example, are garnering interest in a number of countries.

This Untranslatable Finnish Word Takes Perseverance To A Whole New Level Business Insider June 17. 2014


 "The Finns have something they call sisu," the New York Times reported in 1940. "It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. The Finns translate 'sisu' as 'the Finnish spirit,' but it is a much more gutful word than that."

Kone wins order for the world's tallest building
The Finnish company Kone, global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, has been selected as the vertical transportation provider to deliver the world's fastest and highest double-decker elevators to Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Tower.
Kingdom Tower, owned and developed by Jeddah Economic Co and being built by Saudi Bin Laden Group, is expected to rise to the height of more than one kilometer upon completion in 2018.
The building will have the world's fastest double deck elevators with travel speed of over 10 m/s as well as the world's highest elevator rise at 660 meters. The building will be equipped with altogether 65 Kone elevators and escalators. The order includes Kone Double Deck MiniSpace elevators with revolutionary Kone UltraRope hoisting technology.

The Finnish 'rye-volution' begins in New York, without wheat or yeast
Simo Kuusisto is winning over health-conscious Americans with Nordic bread, while learning they can be more 'vocal with demand than their wallets.

Finnish education system receiving advice from the U.S.


Samuel E. Abrams, a researcher at Columbia University’s Teachers College, was awarded the Insignia of Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland at the residence of Consul General and Ambassador Jukka Pietikäinen in New York on May 12.

Finns are over-educated underperformers, renowned economist views


The three problems of the Finnish economy according to professor Bengt Holmström are over-education, the lack of new production methods and the scarcity of capital. “Finland needs more people like Antti Herlin [Kone] and Björn Wahlroos [Sampo-Nordea],” Holmström states. professor of economics at the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Holmström has lived and worked in the United States for four decades. His work has been published in all of the world's most important economics journals.   As a scientist, Holmström deems education as his most significant responsibility, which is expressly why he is concerned about higher education in Finland. Finnish basic and upper-secondary education systems, in contrast, are excellent, he says.

Helsinki as you’ve never seen it before http://finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=306769&nodeid=41818&culture=en-US

An instant hit on social media, an amazing video takes you on a bird’s-eye tour of Helsinki, swooping over rooftops and forests, all thanks to the ingenious use of a camera mounted on a quadcopter. We talk to the video’s creator.

Ambronite – food simplified

A real food drinkable meal that fulfills daily nutrition recommendations in 2 minutes


A Finnish startup cmpany that may have big potential

As Russia growls, Swedes, Finns eye defence options, NATO
Finland, which won independence during Russia's revolution of 1917 but nearly lost it fighting the Soviet Union in World War Two, kept close to the West economically and politically during the Cold War but avoided confrontation with Moscow.
Like Sweden, it joined the European Union only in 1995.
For all the skepticism about NATO, however, worries have been growing in Scandinavia since Russia's action in Crimea.
Russian troops held exercises on the Finnish border this week. A former aide to Vladimir Putin made waves by saying that, after ex-Soviet Ukraine, the president might eye Finland next.

Debating Fate of Leadership at Minnesota Orchestra --and its Finnish connection


The announcement late Thursday that the orchestra’s president, Michael Henson, would step down at the end of August prompted a flurry of speculation about what might be next for the ensemble, which returned to work last month after a bitter 16-month lockout. Mr. Vanska, who resigned in frustration last year as the lockout dragged on, let it be known after the lockout ended that he believed that for the orchestra to heal, Mr. Henson would have to leave.

The musicians, many fans and some critics have been clamoring for the return of Mr. Vanska, the Finnish conductor who led the orchestra to new artistic heights and won a Grammy Award with it in January for a recording of Sibelius symphonies. 

Fans who organized themselves during the lockout as a group called Save Our Symphony Minnesota are organizing a “Finnish It!” campaign when Mr. Vanska returns to conduct the orchestra next week. They are urging people to wear blue and white, the colors of the Finnish flag, to send the message that they want him to return. “We are calling on the board to ‘finish’ the task by reinstating our beloved ‘Finnish’ music director!” its website said.

Tove Jansson: Love, war and the Moomins


This year Finland is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins, and one of the most successful children's writers ever. Her life included war and lesbian relationships - both reflected by the Moomins in surprising ways.

The Jews who fought for Hitler: 'We did not help the Germans. We had a common enemy'


They fought alongside them, healed them, and often befriended them. But how do Finland's Jews feel today about their uneasy - and little mentioned - alliance with the Nazis?

The [Finnish] Oracle of Ice Hockey


How a 70-year-old Finnish goalie coach is transforming a global sport

'The grim truth behind the Scandinavian miracle' – the nations respond 
When Michael Booth wrote about the Nordic nations last week, he did not expect the furore that followed. Here, he defends his stance, and writers from the five countries have their say

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle by Michael Booth – review
This enjoyable survey of all things Nordic finds that our friends in the north are as flawed as we are, admits our Oslo-born reviewer

Dark lands: the grim truth behind the 'Scandinavian miracle'

I have contributed to the relentless Tetris shower of print columns on the wonders of Scandinavia myself over the years but now I say: enough! Nu er det nok! Enough with foraging for dinner. Enough with the impractical minimalist interiors. Enough with the envious reports on the abolition of gender-specific pronouns. Enough of the unblinking idolatry of all things knitted, bearded, rye bread-based and licorice-laced. It is time to redress the imbalance, shed a little light Beyond the Wall.

How accurate is the PISA test?


The Pisa league table which ranks test results of students from 65 countries is taken very seriously by policymakers and the media, who celebrate a good performance and bemoan a poor one. But how accurate is it?


No bad schools only poorer neighbourhoods


Differences among schools in Helsinki are rooted outside school walls, not in the classroom, as is commonly assumed. A doctoral dissertation by Helsinki University urban geographer Venla Bernelius argues that variations in the quality of education available in the capital are on the rise because of social and economic gaps.

Americans Are Rich but Not Very Competent http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-09/


Here are the OECD countries in the study with a bigger share of
adults aged 16 to 64 in the top two levels of literacy, listed from
the top down:
Japan, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Norway, Estonia,
Slovenia, Flanders (part of Belgium), Canada, Czech Republic,
Denmark, South Korea, England and Northern Ireland, and Germany.
Then comes the U.S. After that are Austria, Poland, Ireland, France,
Cyprus, Spain, and, in last place, Italy.
In numeracy the U.S. comes out even worse, ahead of only Italy and
Spain. And when the OECD breaks down the numeracy of just
16- to 24-year-olds, the U.S. is in last place.
Remarkably for the nation that’s home to Silicon Valley, the U.S. was
also last (among countries for which there were complete data) in
“proficiency in problem-solving in technology-rich environments
among young adults.” South Korea and Finland were Nos. 1 and 2.



Why Finland Loves Saunas


The only Finnish
word to make it into everyday English is "sauna".
But what it is, and how much it means to Finns,
is often misunderstood - and it's definitely not
about flirtation or sex.
For many Finns the sauna was the holiest room in
the house and the one
most closely associated with their wellbeing.
"Finns say the sauna is a poor man's pharmacy,"
says Pekka Niemi, a 54-year-old from Helsinki,
who spends about three hours a day in the sauna,
six days a week. "If a sick person is not cured
by tar, spirits or sauna,then they will die,"
he adds, quoting a Finnish proverb. ("Spirits"
here meansstrong alcohol, while tar wa
s historically used as an antiseptic.)


Finns Mourn Loss of Icon Nokia as Microsoft Takes Over 



Finland shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet, Europe Minister Stubb said.

“Never underestimate the implications of the Finnish sisu, in other words

 Finnish perseverance and courage,” he said yesterday. “There is huge

 potential in Finnish engineering and you will see that blossoming within the

 next few years.”


‘Smartest Kids in the World’

“If you want the American dream, go to Finland.” These blunt words from a

 British politician, quoted by Amanda Ripley in “The Smartest Kids in the

 World,” may lead readers to imagine that her book belongs to a very

 particular and popular genre. We love to read about how other cultures do it

better (stay slim, have sex, raise children). In this case, Ripley is offering

to show how other nations educate students so much more effectively than

 we do, and her opening pages hold out a promising suggestion of

 masochistic satisfaction. “American educators described Finland as a silky

 paradise,” she writes, “a place where all the teachers were admired and all

 the children beloved."


Can the Finnish educational model become an export product?



How could Finnish education be exported? By supplying entire schools

 to Africa? Yes, for instance, says Minister of Education Krista Kiuru.

This weekend, she is heading to Asia on her first trip aimed at promoting

 Finnish educational exports. She will meet with ministers in Malaysia,

 Singapore and Indonesia


The Secret to Finland's Success With Schools, Moms, Kids undefined

 and Everything




The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms,

 better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower

student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change.

        (The Atlantic  July 11, 2013)


The Unbearable Beauty of Finnish Grammar

“Many people think better when they have had some coffee.” This good

 advice for Finnish learners is found in a translated example sentence in

 Fred Karlsson’s classic book “Finnish: An Essential Grammar.”
You’re pretty good at Finnish, but do you know it inside out? Dive fearlessly

 into declensions and traverse verb conjugations valiantly, and you’ll emerge

 with newfound confidence. One classic grammar book and two newer

 volumes help pave your way.

Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes
For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state.

 It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as

a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant

 mortality rates.

 Finnish rye-bread revolution hits the US


At barely 19 years of age, Simo Kuusisto left his home in the northern

 Finnish town of Oulu to explore the world. He never imagined he would

 end up baking rye bread for New Yorkers and carrying out a “ryevolution.”

 Organic Finnish Ruis Bread can be found in places such as New

 Amsterdam Market or Whole Foods in New York, or it can be ordered

 directly from Nordic Breads. 


Move over, Mediterranean diet: The Nordic diet is also good for your heart
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/move-

Finnish scientists studied the benefits of a traditional Nordic diet rich in

 game meats, berries, root vegetables and legumes, and concluded it can

 help lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.

Finland in Word War II (49 selected photos from collection of 160,000)
Last month the Finnish Defence Forces put an archive of 160,000 WWII-era

 photographs online. The images record the war years from 1939 to 1945,

 spanning three conflicts the Finns recognize as the Winter War (against an

 invading Soviet Union), the Continuation War (striking against the Soviets

 alongside the Germans) and the Lapland War (against the Germans for

 control of Lapland). After spending hours poring through this fascinating

 archive, I've gathered this collection, just a glimpse of what was made

 available. A couple of notes on the images -- the swastika was used as the

 official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Tank Corps between

 1918 and 1945, and all captions were relatively brief, and written in Finnish,

 so please let me know in the comments if there are any mistakes, or if you

 can elaborate on what is pictured. See also World War II in Photos on in

 Focus. [49 photos]


Watch video (about an hour) of Pasi Sahlberg speaking Dec. 9 on

 "Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change

 in Finland?"

Uploaded on Dec 16, 2011.    Video talk by the author of the book on the

 Finnish educational system presented at Vanderbilt University.


Finland has an education system the US should envy - and learn from     

by Linda Moore    (founder and executive director of the 

Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington DC.)


A new book has attracted much interest in the Washington DC,

 especially on Capitol Hill, Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn From

 Educational Change in Finland? The book arrives after Finland scored first in

 science and second in reading and math on the standardized test

 administered by the Program for International Student Assessment.

[Web editor's note:  Finn Spark Inc. will be distributing copies of the book by Pasi Sahlberg to charter schools and other educational institutions in 2013]

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