History

The founding of Finlandia Chapters throughout the U.S. was the idea of Consul Yrjö Paloheimo of California. He wanted to help Finland during World War II and the difficult years afterwards. He also wanted to promote Finnish culture in the United States. In 1953 Finlandia Foundation was started in Southern California. Today there are 49 chapters throughout the country. 

The Boston Chapter was founded when Consul Paloheimo started sending letters to Boston area Finns. Among them were Tyyne Saari, Lauri Lindell and Savele Syrjala. All three had been involved with aid to Finland during the Winter War. The Organizing Committee was founded and the Boston Chapter had its first organizing meeting June 2nd, 1955. Mr. Savele Syrjala served as President and Board Member for 25 consecutive years.

The Boston Chapter was very active from the beginning, and was able to get distinguished speakers to member events and to raise funds for the Sibelius Memorial Scholarship Fund. Local active Finns were also able to organize four Boston Pops concerts during the 50s and raise money for Helsinki Olympics Fund.

Today the Finlandia Foundation Boston Chapter is 60 years old and continues to be active. Our endowment has grown over the years, so we can give scholarships and organize member events for the benefit of Finns and friends of Finland in the Boston area.