June 1, 2020


My name is Lacey Squier. I’ve been on the Ely Folk School board since 2019, and recently took on the role of board chairperson. I am writing to ask for your financial support. My personal investment is rooted in the fact that the Ely Folk School is the local institution I turned to when I was new to town.

My Ely Folk School experiences connected me to future friends and mentors. The skills I gained became the foundation for how I passed the time during challenging, solitary months.

There are many changes afoot here. It is my pleasure to share with you that we were able to weather the hardships of 2020 by offering virtual classes. Those virtual classes are now incorporated in our 2021-2022 strategic plan. Furthermore, Betty Firth will be stepping down as Program Coordinator, and Lucy Soderstrom will be stepping into that role as of July 1. Stay tuned for details regarding a gathering in honor of Betty’s tremendous contributions to the Ely Folk School during her tenure.

My heart swells with pride when I think of responses to a recent organizational review.
Respondents affirmed that the Ely Folk School successfully serves its mission to create community by providing learning experiences that celebrate northern Minnesota. Our students appreciate our down to earth, friendly, and knowledgeable instructors. Instructors are compelled to come back time and again thanks to our helpful staff and enthusiastic students.

We know there is room for improvement. The organizational review also helped me see that investments in technology and creative marketing, as well as updates to our facilities and increased staff
hours would help our programs truly shine. These efforts will require increases to organization overhead not covered by grants. Although we were able to secure a record $30,000 in grant funding this past year, we are restricted in how those funds can be used. This is why we are asking for a slice of your philanthropy pie. We recognize that you give elsewhere; we are honored to be part of a network of generous and socially conscious people. Even so, please consider including the Ely Folk School in your annual giving.

Supporters of our mission can also chip in by serving as an Ely Folk School ambassador among their personal network — encourage an acquaintance to register for a class, or write a positive review
online. Volunteering is another way to contribute. We have a variety of volunteer responsibilities to choose from (including virtual options); one is sure to suit your interests.

And, don’t forget! Whether you are based locally or celebrating the north woods from afar, you can share an Ely experience with friends and family via the Ely Folk School. Lastly, speaking of classes,
allow me to invite you to register for one of my upcoming cooking classes being held both virtually and in-person. I would be delighted to meet you, and to share in the sheer joy of making things.

Thank you,

Lacey Squier