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Membership is $25.00 per person per year.  The membership fee can be paid at any LAFF meeting or event.  Dues payments can also be mailed to:

LAFF Treasurer

PO Box 91928

Pasadena, CA 91109

The Fenyes-Paloheimo mansion on an overcast day.

Contact us for more information

Email: lafinlandiafoundation @

Our Board
Jeff Neff, President

Blurb and Photo Coming Soon!

Cindy Koivu, Vice President

Cindy is married to Joey, her husband of 20 years and lives in Alhambra.  She is retired from Clifford Swan Investment Counselors where she had worked since 2001 and served as the equity trader and compliance assistant. She began her financial services career at Hamilton Investment Management in 1998.   Prior to that she worked as the IT manager for Gilmore Envelope in LA and SF. She was born and bred in Berkeley where she grew up, went to school and attended a Finnish church.

Cindy has volunteered for many years with a bereavement ministry. 

Pirkko Marianne Bastecki, Secretary

Pirkko Marianne Bastecki joined LAFF as an active member in 2014, after being a supporting member for many years. Prior to joining LAFF, she was a member of the Katirilli Finnish Folk Dancers and Kalifornia Kanteles. She is currently the LAFF secretary and am the newsletter editor for Tupa Times.


Pirkko Marianne was born in Turku, Finland and raised in Southern California. Her parents, Elma and Tauno Kariala, were very active in Finnish community. Currently, Pirkoo lives in Simi Valley with her husband, Dan.


"LAFF has been a very rewarding experience for me, not only the programs and events but also the many new friends I've met."

Ellen Harju, Treasurer

Ellen Harju, Ph.D., is a full-time chemistry instructor at Pasadena City College, who earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, followed by a master’s, Ph.C. and Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of California.

She is currently the treasurer of both the Los Angeles Finlandia Foundation (LAFF) and the Finlandia Foundation Columbia-Pacific Chapter (FFCPC). Ellen, originally from Washington state, is an enrolled member of the Cowitz Indian Tribe, and is one-quarter Finnish—a Finndian; her great-grandparents emigrated from Finland in the 1800s. 

Ellen joined LAFF when she moved to LA for graduate school, and quickly stepped into leadership positions, serving as vice president and then two terms as president. In 2018, a career opportunity took her to to Vancouver, Washington, where she joined FFCPC. She brings vast experience in organization operations from her work for both FFN chapters, and she assisted FFN in its 60th anniversary gala in LA in 2013.

Valerie Jokela, Scholarship Coordinator

Valerie Jokela joined the Los Angeles Finlandia Foundation in 2001. Her father, Albert Jokela, encouraged me to join, and she has met many wonderful people in her 22 years of involvement. She served as Secretary and Co-President, and is currently the Scholarship Coordinator.


 Valerie is now retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she enjoyed 35 years as a high school teacher, counselor, and Assistant Principal. She especially enjoyed the 10 years I worked as a high school college counselor, helping students with college and financial aid applications.

In Valerie's spare time, she enjoys traveling, taking classes online, going to Dodger games, and finding homes for feral kittens in her community. She also occassionally substitute teaches at schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

David Ashby, Member at Large

Blurb and Photo Coming Soon!

Open Position, Member at Large

If you are interested in joining the LAFF Board, please contact us.

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