Why I Give…

Donors tell us why they give their time and donations to Friends School of Minnesota.

We so appreciate our giving community. You inspire us with your generosity and tireless dedication. You partner with us to educate our children and help them become thoughtful, active, life-long learners and disruptors of injustice.

Thank you.

Tom and Elizabeth Lukanen

When we started our search for a Kindergarten, we were prepared. We had a spreadsheet that ranked 18 schools by 20 criteria. While the statistics were important, Friends School of Minnesota (FSMN) was on the list because of a strong recommendation from a trusted preschool director. They knew we were looking for a place that valued kids as unique individuals and taught in accordance with a set of core values that we shared. 

We visited nine schools, but none compared to FMSN. After taking the tour, we were both grinning from ear to ear. The school didn’t boast about test scores, have the most impressive building or flaunt expensive technology — but it immediately felt like the school community we wanted to join. The conversations we had with staff and teachers were honest and authentic, the art on the walls was creative and hopeful, and we saw conflict resolution happening in the hallways! It was clear that we had found a place where social justice, equality and integrity are just as integral to the curriculum as math and science.

Today we have a third and a fifth grader enrolled at the school. At FSMN, our kids learn, teach, and have fun. They are challenged and supported. They come home talking about pickleball and math and raise questions with us about the social issues facing our community. In our opinion, every kid should have the opportunity to go to a school like FSMN.  

To help realize this wish, we are committed to supporting the school. We do this by donating money and seeking matching donations from our employers — thank you, Best Buy! — and also by giving our time and skills by serving on committees, volunteering at the Plant Sale and supporting teachers when we can. Most importantly, we promote the school by sharing our experiences at FSMN with others. Personal connections are often the best way to spread the word about our great school so that we continue to grow the student body and enhance the school community.

Kathie Simon Frank

This year, I will participate in my 17th plant sale in my roles as “voice of the plant sale” (overseeing the phone line), as well as being the assistant liaison with Garden Fair exhibitors, and the “last one out” of the grandstand each evening after all the shifts are finished. 

Two of my granddaughters, Brianna Mason and Alasia Williams, attended Friends School between 2004 and 2016. That first spring, I volunteered to spread straw over the lawn at Friends School, in anticipation of the crowds expected at the annual plant sale later that week. The next year I took on a larger role on the plant sale planning committee and also began volunteering in the school library. Though Brianna is now the mother of two sons, and about to begin law school, and Alasia is a senior in high school, I continue to actively volunteer for the Plant Sale each year.

What began as my grandchildren’s school community became my community. I read to kindergarten children, catalogued books in the library, helped on the Book Fair, and, starting in 2007, guided a group of middle school students in a knitting club. Over the years, the knitting club and the wider FSMN community created eleven knitted/crocheted afghans. The afghans were used for fundraising at the school’s annual Gala: one afghan each year through 2017. 

I share the values that the school teaches and that are a part of the structure of all of its programs and activities. The friendships I’ve made through volunteering at Friends School and my “work” on the year-round plant sale planning committee are significant factors in a life I love so much.

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Our mission is to prepare children to embrace life, learning, and community with hope, skill, understanding and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity and integrity.

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