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Spreading the Love of Heritage by Paying It Forward

By Douglas Hanson

A key element of the Icelandic Roots mission is “paying it forward” by awarding culture and heritage grants to deserving Icelandic heritage organizations and individuals interested in learning more about Icelandic culture, history and language.

As an all-volunteer, nonprofit, public charity, we give away much of our revenue to charitable causes, after necessary operating expenses, reserves and savings for long term projects. As you can see from the included graph, over the past 6 years we have awarded grants totaling approximately $90,000 U.S. dollars.

Your memberships and donations have enabled this philanthropy.

As charitable contributions grow, so does the amount that Icelandic Roots can award to deserving organizations and students in the United States, Canada and Iceland.

Some recent recipients of Icelandic Roots grants include:

  • Icelandic Canadian Frón (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

  • Icelandic Association of Utah

  • New Iceland Heritage Museum (Gimli, Manitoba)

  • Gimli Icelandic Camp (Manitoba)

  • The Mountain Börnum Park (Mountain, North Dakota)

  • Grund Cemetery (Manitoba)

  • East Iceland Emigration Center (Vopnafjörður, Iceland)

  • the Icelandic National League of the United States

  • And others.

Our largest grant program to date has been working with the Snorri Foundation in Iceland to support Snorri cultural exchange programs. In 2019, we awarded 7 student scholarships for young people from North America (6 Canada and 1 USA) to visit Iceland and also contributed directly to the Snorri Foundation for educational programs. (Read more about the Icelandic Roots scholarship recipients in our blog series Part One and Part Two). We have been a leading contributor to the Snorri Deaf program as well (Read more about the Snorri Deaf 2020 Program here). We expect a similar commitment to the Snorri Programs in 2020.

We are also looking for new ways to contribute to preserving our Icelandic heritage. Do you know of any nonprofit organizations which could benefit from financial support for a special project related to the Icelandic Roots mission? If so, please ask them to send their idea to us at

We deeply appreciate the generous financial support we have received from our many friends and are honored to be entrusted with stewardship of those resources.

Thank you. Takk Fyrir.

The Icelandic Roots Team


Email us your questions or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.

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