EANC ACTIVITIES

Entries by Posted by Linda Rink (51)

11:23AM

EANC Sends Three Young Adults To JBANC Conference

The Estonian American National Council enabled three young Estonian Americans to attend the the10th Joint Baltic American National Committee Baltic Conference in Washington DC on April 19-20, 2013.  Candidates were required to submit a short essay stating why they wanted to attend.  

The three attendees were Elle Law,  Alessandra Suuberg and Siim Vakkur.  Here are a few of their observations:

Elle Law  is a junior at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

“…I live in a college town ‘bubble’ that is bereft of an Estonian community. As a result, it is difficult to be actively informed of current issues and events relevant to Estonian interests, or to meet fellow peers with Estonian interests. As a half Estonian and holder of dual citizenship with the United States and Estonia, this issue is of great concern to me. 

As an Estonian in an increasingly globalized environment, I believe my civic duty includes voting responsibly and initiating international collaborations with my contacts in Estonia and America. In short, I would use my attendance at JBANC’s conference to heighten awareness of current Baltic issues and to form new relations as means for facilitating future collaborations.”

Alessandra Suuberg is of Estonian and Latvian heritage and is in her second year at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“…Particularly for a student living in a city without a large Baltic-American community, opportunities like this one are an effective way to stay informed both about what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic, and about what is happening in our own Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian communities.   

William Browder's keynote address on the Magnitsky case, a poignant and eye-opening look into a foreign legal system very different from our own, was particularly interesting to me as a second-year law student with an interest in comparative law… I hope that all of our Baltic constituencies will continue to encourage members of my generation to attend JBANC conferences in the future, because they are a chance to reach beyond our existing networks… and develop stronger ties within a joined Baltic-American community.”

Siim Vakkur, originally from Tallinn, has lived in the United States since 1989.  He is studying medicine at  Ohio State University.

“It was great to learn that the tiny Baltic region has such a big impact on the entire world. Seeing the example that is being set for economic growth in the panel by Latvian Minister of Finance Andris Vilks was fantastic especially because economy is a big issue here in America. It also is nice to see that Estonia is leading the way in blazing the trail and bringing fellow Latvians and Lithuanians to the top as well...  The luncheon on the Magnitsky Act and how that came to be was an incredible story with a phoenix rising out of the ashes of a horrible tragedy. This transitioned very well into current issues in Russia and how the corruption runs rampant still. 

I am excited to have the opportunity to get more involved in the Estonian community in the US along with our fellow neighbors in the Baltic. I would like to thank all the people that put this great event together and all of the guest speakers for taking time to extrapolate on current and future issues. I am especially grateful to the Estonian Embassy for opening the doors to such a beautiful place and hosting a wonderful reception.” 

 

Elle Law, Alessandra Suuberg, Siim Vakkur at JBANC Conference

11:05AM

2012 – EANC Activities Summary – A Milestone Year / 2012 - ERKÜ tähisaasta 

The past year marked a major milestone for EANC, as we celebrated our 60th anniversary and actively supported Estonian-American aims on both the political and cultural fronts. Here are highlights of EANC’s 2012 accomplishments:  

Our 60th anniversary gala celebration was a great success, with over 200 guests. The president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, was the keynote speaker. 

We instituted a new awards program to honor the accomplishments of Estonian Americans. The five recipients for 2012 were past EANC presidents Juhan Simonson and Mati Kõiva, Estonian Archives in the U.S., philanthropist Olga Ritso Kistler, and Ambassador Melissa Wells.

As part of our mission to preserve and foster our Estonian heritage, EANC gave out grants totaling over a quarter million dollars to: 

- Estonian American scouts, girl guides, and the Long Island Children’s Summer Camp, who received our regular annual support plus a portion of our gala income.
 - the Free Estonian Word newspaper’s projects. 
- the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC), which represents our interests in Washington on a full-time basis.
- ESTO 2013 
- school curriculum materials based on the film, The Singing Revolution
- the Estonian film Crosswinds (about the 1949 deportations) 
- the book Estonians in Michigan 
- Lakewood’s Atlantic St. John’s Eve festival 
- the Estonian Heritage Society anniversary album 

As board members, we took an active role in the work of the Estonian World Council, the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC), the Baltic Institute, and the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC).  EANC president Marju Rink-Abel was also president of JBANC for a year term ending in July 2012.

- With the CEEC, we participated in several Advocacy Days, meeting with US Congressmen and their staff to discuss their assistance with Baltic and Eastern European issues. 
- With JBANC’s help, there is a strong possibility of having Black Ribbon Day officially recognized by Congress
- We took part in commemorations for victims of communism and deportations, as well as events at the Embassy of Estonia in Washington, Estonian American communities, and elsewhere.

EANC took steps to strengthen our communications with Estonian Americans. 

- We developed a printed brochure about the EANC’s history and activities.
- A new quarterly bulletin, EANC Newsletter, was mailed to over 4,400 Estonian-Americans.
- We regularly provided information about our activities to the Free Estonian Word .
- Our website, www.estosite.org, was completely revamped and is now continually updated with news, articles and resources of interest to Estonian Americans and others.
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2012 -  ERKÜ tähisaasta 

Läinud aasta oli ERKÜ-l märkimisväärne. Pühitsesime oma 60. a. juubelit ja aktiivselt toetasime Ameerika eestlaste sihte nii politiilisel kui ka kultuurilisel alal. Heidame pilgu mõningatele ERKÜ saavutustele:

ERKÜ 60. juubeli pidulik gala läks igati korda. Kohal oli üle 200 külalise ja peakõnelejaks oli Eesti Vabariigi president Toomas Hendrik Ilves. 

Alustasime uut ERKÜ auhinna programmi tunnustamaks ameerika eestlaste teeneid. Viis auhinna saajat olid endised ERKÜ esimehed Juhan Simonson ja Mati Kõiva, Eesti Arhiiv Ühendriikides, filantroop Olga Ritso Kistler, ning Suursaadik Melissa Wells.

Andsime toetusi mis ületasid veerand miljonit dollarit:  

- skautidele ja gaididele ning Long Islandi Laste Suvekodule - lisaks ERKÜ tavapärastele toetustele andsime osa gala sissetulekust. 
- ajaleht Vaba Eesti Sõna projektidele. 
- Ühendatud Baltic Ameerika Komiteele (JBANC), mis esindab täisajaliselt meie huvisid Washingtonis.
- ESTO 2013 läbiviimist 
- filmi Singing Revolutioni põhjal ameerika koolidele materjalide valmistamist 
- Eesti filmi Risttuules (1949. a. küüditamisest) 
- raamatut Estonians in Michigan
- Atlandi jaanipäeva Lakewoodis 
- Eesti MuinsuskaitseSeltsi juubelialbumit

Võtsime aktiivselt osa juhatusliikmetena Ülemaailmse Eesti Kesknõukogu, ÜBAKi, Balti Instituudi, ning Kesk- ja Ida-Euroopa Koalitsiooni tööst.   ERKÜ esimees Marju Rink-Abel oli ÜBAK-i president aastaks roteerivas korras, kuni juuli, 2012. 

- Kesk- ja Ida-Euroopa Koalitisiooniga viidi läbi mitu nn. Advocacy Day miitingut, mille raames külastati USA Kongressi liikmeid ja nende staape, ning diskuteeriti Balti ja Ida-Euroopa valdkondi milles Kongress võiks abiks olla.
- JBANCi abiga on väljavaateid saada Kongressi otsust Musta Lindi Päeva (Black Ribbon Day) nimetamiseks ametlikuks tähtpäevaks.
- Võtsime osa kommunismi ohvrite ja küüditatute mälestuste tähistamistest ning üritustest Eesti Vabariigi Suursaatkonnas Washingtonis, eesti seltsides, ja mujal.

Võtsime samme sidemete tugevdamiseks ameerika eestlastega:  

- Koostasime broshüüri ERKÜ ajaloost ja tegevusest 
- Andsime välja uue, kvartalis ilmuva ringkirja, ERKÜ Teataja, ja saatsime selle üle 4400 Ameerika eestlasele
- Avaldasime informatsiooni meie tegevuse kohta Vaba Eesti Sõnas 
- Täielikult uuendasime ERKÜ kodulehekülge, www.estosite.org, ja pidevalt lisame informatsiooni uudistest, artiklitest ja ressursidest, mis pakuksid huvi Ameerika eestlastele ja teistele.
2:01PM

EANC Supports Scouts & Children’s Camp /ERKÜ toetab laste suvekodu ning gaide ja skaute 

Leena Kangro, Ilmar Vanderer, Tina Fischgrund.At its 60th Anniversary Gala in September 2012, The Estonian American National Council (EANC) announced that it would distribute a portion of the Gala proceeds to the Long Island Estonian Children’s Summer Camp and the Estonian American Girl Guides and Boy Scouts.
On December 15 at the “Järvemetsa” Christmas celebration in Lakewood, New Jersey,  EANC Board member Ilmar Vanderer presented checks to Leena Kangro and Tina Fischgrund for the Girl Guides and Boy Scouts.   The Long Island Estonian Children’s Summer Camp also received its special donation check from EANC last month.  

Oma 60. aastapäeva galal septembris 2012, Eesti Rahvuskomitee (ERKÜ) teatas, et osa gala sissetulekust läheb Long Islandi laste suvekodu ja ameerika eesti skautidele ning gaididele.  Järvemetsa jõulukoos-viibimisel 15. detsembril Lakewoodis ERKÜ juhatuse liige Ilmar Vanderer andis üle tsekid Leena Kangrole ja Tina Fischgrundile gaidide ja skautide toetuseks.  Long Islandi laste suve-kodu sai oma toetustseki ERKÜ-lt ka eelmisel kuul.

2:50PM

ERKÜ saadab Eesti Välisministrile kirja Eesti-Vene piirilepingu kohta

5:19PM

EANC Honors Past Presidents Mati Kõiva and Juhan Simonson / ERKÜ austab endisi esimehi Mati Kõiva ja Juhan Simonsoni 

In recognition of their contributions to the Estonian American community and to Estonia, past EANC presidents Mati Kõiva and Juhan Simonson received awards at EANC’s 60th anniversary gala on September 29.  Both Mati Kõiva and Juhan Simonson served during times when Estonian re-independence and its accession to NATO were critical focal points for the EANC.

Sad News:  Juhan Simonson, EANC’s esteemed member and past president, passed away on November 16, 2012.  

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ERKÜ tunnustab auhindadega endisi esimehi Mati Kõivat ja Juhan Simonsoni ERKÜ 60. a. juubeli galal, 29. septembril.  Auhinnad antakse mitte ainult nende panuse eest Ameerika eestlaste ühiskonnale, vaid ka Eestile toetuse andmise eest, eriti nendel kriitilistel aegadel millal toimus taasvabanemine ja NATO-ga liitumine. 

Kurvad Uudised: 16. novembril lahkus eestluse hoidja ja vabadusvõitljeja, ERKÜ lugupeetud Esinduskoguliige ja kauaaegne esimees Juhan Simonson.   

10:32AM

Olga Kistler-Ritso Receives EANC Award / ERKÜ austab Olga Kistler-Ritsot

Olga Kistler-Ritso has been selected to receive the Estonian American National Council’s 2012 award for “Outstanding Achievement.”   Dr. Kistler-Ritso established the Kistler-Ritso Foundation together with her husband, Walter P. Kistler, in 1998.  Dr. Kistler-Ritso initiated and funded the Tallinn Museum of Occupations, completed in 2003, which her foundation manages.  The Foundation has also given a $4 million endowment to Stanford University to support collections, studies, and education on Estonian history from 1940-91.  Other endeavors supported by Dr. Kistler-Ritso include the film, “The Singing Revolution.” Walter Kistler, Dr. Kistler’s husband, received the award on her behalf at EANC’s 60th anniversary gala on September 29.

The EANC awards program was established this year and will recognize the work of Estonian American individuals or organizations in preserving and nurturing our Estonian heritage, culture, history, language, or community in the United States, or for outstanding contributions in a field of endeavor. 
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Dr. Olga Kistler-Ritso on nimetatud Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides erakordsete saavutuste auhinna laureaadiks.   Dr. Kistler-Ritso ja tema abikaasa Walter Kistler asutasid 1998. aastal Kistler-Ritso sihtasutuse.  Dr. Kistler-Ritso annetas raha Tallinna okupatsioonide muuseumi loomiseks, mida haldab tema sihtasutus.  Kistler-Ritso fond tegi ka miljonite dollarite suuruse annetuse Stanfordi ülikoolile eesti lähiajaloo (1941-91) uurimise toetuseks.  Ka toetas Dr. Kistler-Ritso filmi “Laulev Revolutsioon” valmimist.  Auhind antakse üle tema abikaasale, Walter Kistlerile, Rahvuskomitee 60. aastapäeva galal Washingtonis 29. septembril.  

Rahvuskomitee auhindade jagamine asutati sel aastal.  Eesmärgiks on tunnustada prominentseid ameerika eestlasi nende eriliste teenete eest omal alal, või isikuid ja organisatsioone, kes on edendanud eesti kultuuri, keelt, ajalugu ja ühiskonda USA-s. Teiste 2012.a. laureaatide nimed avaldatakse lähiajal.
5:29PM

Estonian Archives in the U.S. Receives EANC Award / ERKÜ Austab Eesti Arhiivi Ühendriikides

The Estonian Archives in the United States received the Estonian American National Council’s award for “Organizational Excellence” at EANC’s 60th anniversary gala on September 29, 2012.  The Archives, located in Lakewood, New Jersey, and now also with some collections at the University of Minnesota’s Immigration Research Center, houses books, documents, and other materials about the activities of individuals and Estonian American organizations from 1920 to the present.  The non-profit organization is staffed entirely by volunteers. Enda-Mai Michelson Holland, the current president, accepted the award.
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Eesti Arhiiv Ühendriikides (EAÜ) on nimetatud Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides “Suurepärase Organisatsiooni” auhinna laureaadiks.  Auhind antakse üle Rahvuskomitee 60. aastapäeva galal Washingtonis 29. septembril.   EAÜ, asukohaga Lakewood, New Jersey, kogub dokumente, raamatuid ja teisi materjale isikute ning ameerika eestlaste organisatsioonide tegevusest alates 1920.  Osa arhiivi hoistustest on Minnesota ülikooli Immigration Research Center-is.  EAÜ on mitte-tulutaotlev organisatsioon ja töötab ainult vabatahtlikul alusel.  Enda-Mai Michelson Holland on praegune president ja võtab auhinna vastu.

7:38AM

Ambassador Melissa Wells Receives EANC Award / ERKÜ Austab Suursaadik Melissa Wellsi

Ambassador Melissa Wells received the Estonian American National Council’s award for “Distinguished Service” at EANC’s 60th anniversary gala on September 29, 2012.   Ambassador Wells exemplifies dedication to public service.  Her career includes posts with global responsibilities at the United Nations and five ambassadorships spanning over twenty years.  

Born in Tallinn, she became the highest ranking American of Estonian birth or heritage in the U.S. State Department, and concluded her career in Estonia. There she served with distinction during her “homecoming” to Estonia. EANC lauds her many accomplishments during a long and distinguished diplomatic career.

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Endine USA suursaadik Melissa Wells on nimetatud Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides väljapaistvate teenete auhinna laureaadiks.  Auhind antakse üle Rahvuskomitee 60. aastapäeva galal Washingtonis 29. septembril.  

Suursaadik Wells pühendas oma elu USA riigiteenistusse.  Sündinud Tallinnas, ta tõusis välisministeeriumis kõrgemale tasemele kui keegi teine eesti päritoluga ametnik  Ta teenis USA suursaadikuna viies erinevas riigis ning omas globaalse vastutusega ülesandeid ÜRO-s.  Ta lõpetas oma karjääri “kojuminekuga” Eestisse, kus ta oli USA suursaadikuks aastatel 1998-2001.  Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides tunnustab suursaadik Wellsi teeneid pika ning väljapaistva diplomaatilise karjääri vältel.
6:14PM

EANC 60th Anniversary Gala Awards / ERKÜ 60 aastapäeva gala auhinnad

EANC announces that it is establishing a new tradition of granting awards to honor outstanding Estonian Americans.  Beginning with a special awards ceremony at its 60th anniversary Gala on September 29, 2012, EANC will recognize the work of exceptional individuals or entities in preserving and nurturing our Estonian heritage, culture and language in the United States, or for outstanding contributions in a field of endeavor.  

Four award categories have been established. Three categories are for individuals: one for “Outstanding Achievement,” one for “Distinguished Service,” and one for ”Outstanding Contributions to EANC.”  The fourth category will be for ”Organizational Excellence,” presented to an organization.  As these awards are meant to recognize truly outstanding contributions, EANC will not necessarily give awards in all four categories at the 2012 Gala or on future occasions.

EANC invites all to partake of  this historic evening and celebrate our achievements over the past  60 years!  Go to the "EANC GALA!" Menu button for registration forms and complete details about the Gala, held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington DC.
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ERKÜ annab teada, et alustab uue traditsiooniga, kus austatakse ja autasustatakse silmapaistvaid Ameerika eestlasi. Esimesed auhinnad antakse välja ERKÜ 60 aastapäeva galal, mis toimub 29. Septembril, 2012. ERKÜ tunnustab inimesi, kes on andnud  endast parima hoidmaks Eesti pärandit, kultuuri ja keelt Ameerika Ühendriikides. 

Auhinda hakatakse jagama neljas kategoorias. Kolm nendest antakse eraisikutele:1)”väljapaistev saavutus, 2)"silmapaistev teene,” 3) "väljapaistev panus.” Neljas kategooria läheb organisatsioonile, mida nimetatakse "organisatsiooniline suurepärasus.” Need autasud on mõeldud selleks, et tunnustada neid, kes on silmapaistvalt tegutsenud ning ERKÜ jätab endale vabaduse otsustada, kas anda auhindu kõigis neljas kategoorias või mitte. Seda nii sel aastal toimuval galal kui ka järgnevatel aastatel.

ERKÜ kutsub teid osa võtma sellest ajaloolisest õhtust, et koos tähistada meie viimase 60 aasta saavutusi! Registreerimine ja täpsemat infot gala kohta, mis toimub InterContinental hotellis, Washington D.C. saab siit veebilehelt, "EANC GALA!" menüü all. 

4:19PM

EANC's 2011 Activities Summary

EANC’s activities in 2011 were many-faceted, ranging from informational activity in the political arena, providing funds to support American-Estonian initiatives, maintaining contacts by providing information and organizing meetings, and strengthening EANC’s internal activities.  

Highlights were:
  • Participated actively in the Estonian World Council, the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC), and the Central and East European Coalition. JBANC’s conference took place on April 1-2, 2011, in Washington DC; at that time EANC assumed JBANC’s directorship for a one-year term.  Participated in the Estonian World Council’s annual conference in Lund, Sweden, (April 15-16, 2011), as well as the Estonians Abroad II conference in Tallinn, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2011.
  • The Central and East European Coalition organized “Advocacy Day” in April and October, which included visits with U.S. Congress members and staff to discuss areas where Congress can provide assistance.
  • EANC is represented in the leadership of the Baltic Institute, which is a new organization headquartered in Maryland.  The Institute’s goal is to support, initiate, and publish research about the Baltic countries’ activities and historical background. Topics under consideration include economics, security, energy, politics, recent history, society, etc. 
  • Organized the successful Estonian Congress of Organizations held on Aug. 3, 2011, in Portland, Oregon.  Approximately 50 – 60 individuals participated.
  • EANC entered into an agreement with Jim Tusty’s firm regarding a new film, Songs of Defiance (about the Estonian Song Festivals), decided to provide some financial support, and is also now accepting contributions for its production.
  • In addition to EANC’s usual support recipients (girl guides and scouts, Estonian Archives in the U.S., children’s summer camp, New York Cultural Days, etc.), EANC supported the newspaper’s, Free Estonian Word, special projects, a new Estonian school in Washington DC, and the production of Lembit Beecher’s Estonian-themed opera.
  • EANC’s Strategy Committee conducted a survey to obtain feedback on EANC’s activities and organization.  The survey form was published in the Free Estonian Word (to be filled out and mailed in) and online.  Approximately 200 responses were received, primarily from older individuals.  In general, respondents gave the highest ratings to EANC’s politically focused work and supporting the film The Singing Revolution.
  • Began updating EANC’s database of Estonian Americans.
  • Initiated the development of a new website for EANC. 
  • Developed and produced an introductory brochure about EANC, for the annual direct mail donation campaign.
  • Initiated planning for EANC’s 60th anniversary gala (Sept. 29, 2012).
  • Launched the annual direct mail donation campaign, which was augmented by an additional donation drive by EANC’s California delegates.
  • Held the annual meeting of the EANC XX Council, which took place on Sept. 18, 2011, at the Estonian Embassy in Washington.  Held seven board meetings. 
  • At the annual meeting, the decision was made to hire a salaried Executive Director for EANC, and a committee was formed to select a qualified individual.
Highlights of EANC’s activities are regularly published in the Free Estonian Word newspaper.  EANC’s president and other Board members have represented EANC at many events held at the Estonian Embassy, various local Estonian American organizations, and elsewhere.
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ERKÜ 2011. a. tegevuse aruanne

ERKÜ tegevus oli mitmekülgne, hõlmates poliitilist selgitustööd; toetuste andmist ameerika eestlaste ettevõtetele; kontakti hoidmist informatsiooni ja kohtumiste korraldamisega; ning ERKÜ administratiivtöö tugevdamist.
  • Võeti aktiivselt osa ÜEKN, Ühendatud Balti Ameerika Komitee (ÜBAK), ning Kesk- ja Ida Euroopa Koalitsiooni tööst.  ÜBAKi konverents toimus 1.-2. aprillil, 2011, Washingtonis.  Seal võttis ERKÜ ÜBAKi juhtimise üle üheks aastaks.  Osaleti ÜEKN-i aastakoosolekul 15.–16. aprill Lundis, ning Rahvuskaaslaste II konverentsil Tallinnas, 30. september – 1. oktoober.
  • Kesk- ja Ida Euroopa Koalitisiooniga viidi läbi aprillis ja oktoobris nn. Advocacy Day, mille raames külastati USA Kongressi liikmeid ja nende staape, ning diskuteeriti valdkondi, milles Kongress võiks abiks olla. 
  • ERKÜ on esindatud Baltic Institute-i juhatuses.  Baltic Institute on uus organisatioon asukohaga Marylandis.   Tema siht on ergutada ning avaldada uurimusi Balti riikide tegevusest ning taustast. Teemad millest ollakse huvitatud on majandus, julgeolek, energia, poliitika, lähiajalugu, ühiskond, jne. 
  •  Korraldati õnnestunud Eesti Rahvusorganisatsioonide Kongress 3. augustil, 2011, Portland, Oregonis.  Osavõtt 50-60 inimest.
  • ERKÜ sõlmis lepingu Jim Tusty firmaga uue filmi Songs of Defiance (Eesti laulupidudest) tegemiseks, otsustas seda majanduslikult toetada, ning võtab vastu annetusi filmi toetuseks.
  • Lisaks ERKÜ tavapärastele toetustele (gaidid, skaudid, Eesti Arhiiv USAs, laste suvelaager, NY Kultuuripäevad, jne.), toetas ERKÜ ajaleht Vaba Eesti Sõna projekte; Washingtoni linna uut eesti kooli, Lembit Beecheri eestiteemalise ooperi lavastamist.
  • Strateegia komitee levitas küsitluslehte, tagasiside saamiseks ERKÜ tegevuse ja struktuuri kohta. Küsitlusleht ilmus Vaba Eesti Sõnas ning internetis.  Umbes 200 vastust tuli, peamiselt vanema generatsiooni poolt.  Üldiselt hinnatakse kõige rohkem poliitilist tööd ja filmi Singing Revolution toetamist.
  • Hakati uuendama ja parandama ameerika eestlaste aadresside andmebaasi.
  • Alustati ERKÜ uue kodulehekülje loomisega.
  • Valmistati ERKÜ-t tutvustav brošüür, välja saatmiseks aasta korjanduskirjaga.
  • Alustati ERKÜ 60. a. juubeli gala (29. sept., 2012) kavandamisega.
  •  Viidi läbi korjandusaktsioon ERKÜ heaks.  Lisaks korraldasid ERKÜ California esindajad teise aktsiooni oma piirkonnas.
  • Viidi läbi XX Esinduskogu aastakoosolek. mis toimus 18. septembril, 2011, Eesti Saatkonnas Washingtonis.  Peeti 7 protokollitud juhatuse koosolekut.
  • Aastakoosolekul otsustati palgata ERKÜ tegevjuht ja moodustati toimkond sobiva inimese leidmiseks.
ERKÜ tegevuse tähtsamatest sündmustest on avaldatud informatsiooni ajalehes Vaba Eesti Sõna. Esimees ja juhatuseliikmed on esindanud ERKÜ-t mitmel üritusel  Eesti Vabariigi Suursaatkonnas, eesti seltsides ja mujal.

 

2:01PM

EANC 2011 SURVEY RESULTS

During 2011, the Estonian American National Council sought to receive extensive feedback from its constituency across the United States.  After trials in several regional centers earlier in the year, a comprehensive questionnaire was published in the August 18 issue of Vaba Eesti Sõna.  Simultaneously, the survey questionnaire was made available on line.  Nearly 200 Estonian-Americans responded and we thank them.  It’s a disappointingly small number, but we think the results summarized below will be helpful in designing future EANC programs.

Our respondents generally profess enthusiastic support for Estonian-American activities.  78% of them know of the EANC, 75% have voted in a past election and 57% voted in 2010.  We believe we received a good sample of the active members of Estonian organizations in the USA.  On the other hand, we were generally not successful in eliciting the input of less active Estonian-Americans.  

Responses on paper were highly skewed to the over 70 age group, reflecting the aging readership of Vaba Eesti Sõna.  Responses on line were much more balanced among age cohorts.  Even so, just over fifty percent of all respondents were over the age of 70.

This is consistent with the other statistics describing respondents.  89% of those responding on paper were born in Estonia, compared to only 39% of those responding online. Over 81% of both sets live near an active Estonian community.  91% of those responding on paper are active in that community, versus 77% of on-line respondents.  95% of both sets of respondents have visited Estonia at least once, with many visiting often.

Respondents of both versions (paper and online) were first asked to rate EANC overall performance, engagement with political issues, and engagement with cultural issues on a scale of 1 (Very Poor) to 5 (Very Good).  Overall, EANC performance receives a solid ranking (3.7).  EANC performance on political issues (3.9) is slightly more favored than performance on cultural issues (3.6).

Respondents were then asked to rank the importance of various programs supported by EANC, with 1 indicating that the program is considered “Not at all important” and 5 indicating that the program is “Most important.”

* They give high marks to our support of the Singing Revolution film (4.5), to Estonian Archives in NJ (4.3), to the dissemination of information about EANC in Vaba Eesti Sõna and online, as well as to the publication of the history of the EANC  (both 4.2).

* The lowest marks were received by support to Chicago First Congregation Church (2.8), Cleveland Estonian Cultural Garden (3.0), sending the NY Estonian Men’s Chorus to the Song Festival (3.2) and support of the East Coast Dance Festival IREKS (3.3).  Overall, support for preservation of the history of Estonian-Americans was considered to be most important and local sites and organizations much less so. 

Finally, the survey inquired about respondents’ ideas for future programs, desire for a regular newsletter from EANC, past and possible future financial support for EANC, and willingness to volunteer with the organization. 

* 85% of all respondents would be interested in receiving an EANC newsletter, but only 35% would pay to subscribe.  Typically, respondents prefer a quarterly dual-language publication.  For 80%, an internet version would be sufficient, but 26% would prefer regular mail.

* 55% have sent financial support to the EANC, the majority at the donor level of $99 or less. Respondents were split 50/50 between adoption of a membership model versus retaining the current voluntary contribution model.  80% of those who indicated support for a membership model also voted for $100 annual dues (some even $250).

* Nearly 30% of the respondents would consider doing some type of passive volunteer work for EANC, but the number drops off sharply when asked about active solicitation of funding. 
Respondents also provided written comments about both past and future EANC work.  They enhance the objective data with color and feeling. 

* On the positive side, many found the EANC to have been most effective in serving as a political representive voice for the Estonian-American community and in supporting independence for Estonia during the Cold War.

* Many respondents were displeased about the failure of the EANC to have published the “History of Estonians in America” despite its having been promised for many years.

* Another Estonian wrote, "EANC has lost contact with the majority of Estonian-Americans.  Having only 757 voting supporters, it does not represent most Estonians in the U.S.A."

* Others commented that EANC “has tried to do too much in too many areas,” that it was “spread too thin,” that it was “too focused on the East Coast.”

* One respondent recommended a three-part program for the future: (1) “strengthen ties with our English-speaking younger generations, who are proud of their heritage even when they no longer speak Estonian,” (2)  “increase ties with newcomers by being responsive to their needs in settling in” and (3) “support Estonian media and Estonian Houses – when these close their doors, our activity is finished!”  Another added, “Find lost Estonians and help them get involved.”

* A separate concern of some was that EANC should do a better job of compiling current data about the activities and leadership of Estonian organizations in the USA.  

* They also commented on the need for upgrading EANC’s current website.  

The comments covered a wide range of topics, but four that came up regularly were: the need to promote EANC activity, the need to connect with more Estonian-Americans (regardless of birthplace or language ability), the need for more support of activities on the west coast, and a strong desire for more accessible language instruction.  Finally, one responder thought that the EANC’s primary mission should be “assuring that future generations remain interested in Estonian activities.”  

These survey results will be a valuable input into the process of drafting a future strategic plan for the EANC.   Better communication with all constituents in order to increase awareness of, and support for, the EANC among all Estonian-Americans will need to be considered.

Arne Kalm, EANC board member
Maia Linask, EANC strategy committee member

 

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