Minneapolis Sister Cities Day 2013 (set for 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at the Nicollet Island Pavilion) won’t be the same without our dear friend Jerry Beltt. In recent years the Minneapolis Kuopio Partnership could always count on Jerry to find ways to make our exhibit meaningful. He was a gifted story teller. He always engaged visitors to our Kuopio table with wonderful facts and stories about Finnish heritage and the Finnish American community of Minnesota … of which he was part.
On January 18, Jerry died unexpectedly from cardiac arrest at age 65.
In the months that followed, our Minneapolis Kuopio Partnership committee has been searching for ways we could honor Jerry’s memory, and it was Minneapolis Council Member Lisa Goodman who suggested we create a scholarship fund to encourage and support exchanges between our two sister cities.
We agreed. A scholarship fund in Jerry’s name would be a fitting tribute to a person who so enthusiastically supported our connection to our partner city, Kuopio.
We’re pleased to announce our first event to support this scholarship fund, set for 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, at the Mt. Curve home of Sue and Bob Greenberg. The Greenbergs, like so many of us, treasured Jerry’s friendship, and we are so grateful to them for so generously hosting this first event.
We invite you to join us for this special fundraising event, and we are asking for a minimum donation of $25 per person. You can make a tax-deductible donation online through EventBrite (click here), or you can bring your donation to the event. (If you a planning to bring your donation to the event instead of responding through EventBrite, please RSVP to us at email@example.com to let us know you will be joining us.) Note: Our generous hosts say we can continue to accept RSVPs past the July 17 deadline, so please join us!
The Jerry Beltt Scholarship Fund has been set up through our fiscal agent (Finlandia Foundation,Twin Cities Chapter – a 501(c)3 organization), and your donation will be tax deductible. Your gift will provide much needed funding to support our sister city activities, particularly making it possible for us to offer support for those traveling to Finland to participate in programs that will enhance and strengthen our partnership with Kuopio.
Every year, for example, Kuopio invites Minneapolitans to participate in Finnish language and cultural courses at its Snellman Summer University, and because we are a partner city, these courses are offered tuition free … as well as accommodations, meals and transport in Kuopio. However, the cost of traveling from Minnesota to Kuopio (which participants must cover themselves) is the biggest obstacle for those wanting to take part in this very generous opportunity. The Jerry Beltt Scholarship Fund will make it possible for us to offer travel scholarships to qualified applicants from our city.
This is just one example of how we will leverage your investment in the Jerry Beltt Scholarship Fund.
Our partnership with Kuopio began in 1973, and this August Council Member Goodman and I are leading a delegation of nine people to visit Kuopio to celebrate our 40th anniversary as partner cities. Our community volunteers participating in this trip will certainly meet new friends there and find exciting ways to strengthen our connection in years to come.
Minneapolis’ sister cities relationships are driven by volunteers who care deeply about our city’s connection to a broader global community, and Jerry Beltt was among them. Minneapolis is truly an international city, and we’re excited that our work with Kuopio in Finland can be strengthened, continuing to grow the work loved by Jerry.
If you have any questions about this event or the scholarship fund, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair, Minneapolis Kuopio Partnership