A Letter From the Chair Leslee Lane Hoyum

Your Humanitarian Fund Expands its Compassion

In this difficult time of COVID-19, it is easy to understand why our founding members banded together to provide financial support to one another and their families should trouble befall them. Now, 125 years later, Sons of Norway not only has wonderful financial products to help you, but also has a very compassionate Foundation.

The Sons of Norway Foundation Board of Governors (BOG) felt the Foundation could offer even greater care through the Humanitarian Fund—and now it has. The Helping Hands for Members section now has a revised Disaster Relief Assistance grant and a new Medical Relief Assistance grant.

The changes were prompted in response to members who suffered unusual property loss not covered under previous Foundation Humanitarian Fund guidelines, and those who had incurred expenses for extreme medical illness or injury that went unreimbursed. The BOG determined that the Humanitarian Fund needed to be amended to fulfill the original humanitarian intent of Sons of Norway’s founding members. In April 2020, the BOG voted to amend the fund guidelines to expand the scope of the expenses it covers.

Sons of Norway members now have increased access to financial assistance through grants for land and property damage caused by natural disasters: No longer must the president have issued a formal declaration of a natural disaster, nor is FEMA registration required. Furthermore, applicants may be eligible for up to $5,000 in aid, rather than the previous limit of $1,000.

Relief provided by the Foundation is for expenses not fully reimbursed by insurance or other sources, such as personal fundraising events, government assistance or other charitable organizations. Applicants must demonstrate that they have sustained damage to their land or to structures permanently affixed to their land.

The BOG also voted to create a new Medical Relief Assistance Fund. It will reimburse out-of-pocket medical expenses for up to $5,000 for members who have experienced severe financial hardship from extreme illness or personal injury. The Foundation may provide aid for expenses not fully reimbursed by insurance or other sources, such as those outlined above in the Disaster Relief Assistance information.

Only Sons of Norway members or their legal designees are eligible to apply. Applicants must have been Sons of Norway members for at least one year prior to application and must apply within 24 months of the property disaster or onset of the extreme illness or personal injury.

The chair of the Foundation Board, in cooperation with the executive committee, annually appoints committees to review grant applications. The committees have the authority to request additional information from applicants if necessary. The committees make their recommendations to the BOG for a final decision. If the BOG denies any aid request, the applicant will be notified in writing.

To find out more about the revised and new grants under the Humanitarian Fund, go to sofn.com/foundation/grants or call 612-827-3611 or 800-945-8851. Applications are expected to be available Sept. 1, 2020.

District Six Education Fund: A Foundation Partnership Success Story

By Jon Tehven, Foundation Secretary

Prior to the District Six Convention in June 2016, the District Six Scholarship Fund—approximately $80,000 at the time—was kept in a “passbook savings” account, which drew minimal interest. In 2016, the District Six Convention voted overwhelmingly to transfer $50,000, or about 63% of the account’s total, to establish the District Six Education Fund within the Sons of Norway Foundation. It was a bold move that soon paid off.

A time of change and careful planning

In 2016, the Foundation was marking its 50th anniversary, and former Foundation Governor Carl Peter Ingvoldstad had just been appointed District Foundation Director while continuing to serve as District Six Scholarship Committee Chair.

Transferring the scholarship fund to the Foundation was the culmination of six months of discussion and planning among Carl Peter, District President Mary Beth Ingvoldstad and Treasurer Bob Sather, along with then–Foundation Director Corrie Maki Knudson. At the District Convention, a resolution prepared by Carl Peter was introduced to establish the District Six Educational Fund and to transfer $50,000 to the Foundation.

Wise words helped pave the way

According to the 2016 District Six Convention Report Book:

The concluding remarks prior to the vote on Resolution #12, International President Jon Tehven helped ‘seal the deal’ when he mentioned — ‘the safety of the money invested (in Foundation).’ He concluded with this statement: ‘Remember this—an endowment is for good and it is forever’.

After all the legal documents were approved, $50,000 was transferred to the newly established District Six Educational Fund on June 1, 2017.

By the end of 2019, it had grown to more than $90,000, while the remaining balance in the old District Six Scholarship Fund account remained unchanged at $30,000.

Advice for future partnerships

When asked what advice he would give to districts considering transferring funds to the Foundation, Carl Peter offered this:

  1. Hold discussions with the Sons of Norway Foundation Director and the District Foundation Director along with the District President, Treasurer and Scholarship Chair.
  2. Develop a comprehensive transfer plan:
    • Target an initial transfer of $50,000, which is the Foundation’s required initial amount;
    • Prepare a resolution to present to the District Convention; and
    • Establish realistic fundraising goals and strategies for the next 3-5 years.

The District Six Treasurer recently predicted that their ultimate goal of $100,000 could be reached very soon!

The Dan and Betty Rude Endowment—A Legacy Founded in Love

By Leslee Lane Hoyum

Dan and Betty Rude

Dan and Betty Rude are longtime Sons of Norway members who, since 1972, have given innumerable volunteer hours to their local lodge, Normanden, in Missoula, Montana. Dan not only held local lodge offices but also held offices in District 4 and eventually became International President of Sons of Norway. It appears that wasn’t enough for him, however, because he then became a productive member of the Sons of Norway Foundation. Then, the pièce de résistance, Betty and Dan created an endowment fund within the Foundation.

A gift that keeps giving

“From the time we married 53 years ago,” Dan said, “Betty and I started putting away money for emergencies and, someday, way in the future, our retirement. At that time, IRAs were the thing. When it came time to start taking our annual required distributions, we decided to give the money away, since we really didn’t need it to live on.”

The Rudes liked the idea of endowments, which Dan describes as “a gift that keeps giving.” They liked that only the interest earned on their gift would be spent to fund an annual scholarship, allowing the principle to continue to grow.

Continuing a lifelong labor of love

Dan and Betty settled on three organizations as recipients, and among them was the Sons of Norway Foundation. “Betty and I decided that the Foundation gave us an opportunity to do something for the profession to which we dedicated our lives, public school teaching. Betty taught grade school for 33 years, and I taught for 40 years in elementary and middle school. We decided a scholarship for young people pursuing a degree in elementary education would help us do our small part in shaping the most valuable resource we have on this earth—the children.”

According to the Rudes, “We will continue to donate to the endowments and have also provided for it in our wills.” The Sons of Norway Foundation is extraordinarily grateful to the Rudes for their generosity.

Learn more

The Sons of Norway Foundation is primarily an endowment foundation. Grant and scholarship payouts are based on a percentage of the total assets, not on annual donations. The Foundation’s commitment is to maintaining and growing the charitable assets entrusted to it in a fiscally responsible way. For more information about creating an endowment, call 612-821-4632 or email: [email protected]

Learn more about the Dan and Betty Rude Scholarship.

New Director for Sons of Norway Foundation

In January 2020, the Sons of Norway Foundation announced Anne Olson as its new director. Anne graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and has worked in the nonprofit field since 2012, primarily in fundraising and marketing, and most recently as the Development and Public Relations Director at COA Youth & Family Centers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which focuses on early child and youth development, as well as direct services and partnerships throughout the community.

Anne grew up in Minnesota with Scandinavian roots: her paternal grandfather emigrated from Sweden at a young age, and most of her family tree originates in Sweden and Norway. She is excited to be with Sons of Norway and to work with lodges and members everywhere to further the mission of the Foundation. Please feel free to reach out to her with any questions or thoughts at

[email protected] or 612-821-4632.

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Sons of Norway Foundation in Canada

The Sons of Norway Foundation in Canada provides scholarships for post-secondary education in Canada for Canadian residents. Makes available bursaries and grants for Norwegian heritage activities and cultural exchanges as well as humanitarian causes. For more information, visit: http://www.sonfic.ca/