The National Foundation for Danish America (NFDA) was formed in 2019 with the goal of strengthening cooperation among Danish American organizations and ties between Denmark (or Danish Culture) AND those who have a special interest or relationship with Denmark. There are approximately 1.5 Million Americans who claim at least partial Danish heritage, and call themselves “Danish Americans”. We aim to provide opportunities for Danish Americans and their clubs and organizations to network, coordinate, share and collaborate in order to preserve and promote Danish culture and heritage in America.
NFDA’s mission is to increase the size of audiences reached by Danish American organizations, and inform more people about our vibrant Danish culture and heritage. The NFDA website lists nearly all Danish events happening in the United States, along with current and upcoming museum exhibits, Danish restaurants, bars and bakeries, a chronological history of Danish America, and a listing of nearly all Danish organizations across America. Each Sunday, NFDA publishes an email newsletter “What’s Happening in Danish America” with current information, events and news. You can sign up for this free newsletter on the front page of the NFDA website. NFDA partners with The Danish Pioneer Newspaper to provide the latest news and activities of Danish American organizations. NFDA reaches thousands of Danish Americans each month through its website, weekly newsletter and social media.
Bruce Bro, NFDA President
Co-founder and President of the National Foundation for Danish America, Bruce Bro has been active in the Danish American community for years. A third generation American, he proudly claims a Danish heritage with a heavy “Jysk” flavor. His maternal grandparents emigrated from near Aalborg. The Ringkøbing area of West Jutland was the home of his father’s parents. His paternal great-great grandfather served in the Danish Army during the Schleswig-Holstein border war of 1848-50. In the early 1900's, grandparents on both sides passed through Ellis Island and headed to the Midwest to farm and raise families. His mother was one of nine children born on farms in the Albert Lea, Minnesota area. His Bro grandparents settled near Elk Horn, Iowa and also farmed, raising a family of twelve children. Growing up on the family farm, Bruce left to earn a degree in communications at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska and went on to own and operate a small business in Harlan, Iowa for several years. Now living with his family in Phoenix, Bruce is primarily involved with the Rebild National Park Society as U.S. Vice President, also as a board member of the Danish Home Foundation in Chicago, and is a member of the Danish Lutheran Church of Yorba Linda, CA, the Northwest Danish Association in Seattle, Danes Worldwide and the American Scandinavian Foundation in New York.
“My love for my Danish heritage comes from my parents and my 19 aunts and uncles, all of whom had a great love of their Danish roots. Unfortunately, my grandparents died when I was very young, so I didn’t have an opportunity to hear their stories first hand. But my parents, aunts and uncles have done a wonderful job of writing down family history including stories and saved letters written between my grandparents and their families in Denmark. As we get older, we cherish this history more and more for it provides us our identity. I know that my ancestors lived for centuries in the Aalborg area and West Jutland. Denmark has built outstanding museums to show us more than a thousand years of its history. I try to visit several of them every year. These museum visits make it possible to imagine my Viking ancestors living in their farms and villages exploring, fishing… scratching out an existence. Through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Reformation my ancestors survived wars, plague and poverty. It’s a miracle that they survived, and the legacy they leave is a great blessing. We have an obligation to pass this heritage down to our descendants. I feel our mission is to help others, especially our youth, discover the rich culture our Danish ancestors gave us and preserve it for future generations”.
PO Box 3487
Carefree, AZ. 85377
Karin (Stehr) Schoen Wasler, NFDA Vice President
Karin Schoen Wasler is the Foundation’s Vice President. She currently works as a training program manager at the University of California - Los Angeles.
Karin’s passion for education and culture have roots in her teenage years, and have developed ever since. Her German heritage led her to an exchange year in Switzerland, a major in German, and a number of years active in the Concordia Language Villages summer and academic year programs.
A native of Wisconsin now living in Los Angeles, Karin became a student of her Danish heritage after a weekend in Solvang, California with her husband. It didn’t take much to waken her inner Dane, and she hasn’t turned back. She has extensive family in Denmark from her maternal grandfather, Ben Stehr.
Karin is currently serving on the national board of the Danish Sisterhood of America, and is a member of organizations such as the Danish Rebuild Society, the Museum of Danish America and the Danish Lutheran Church and Cultural Center.
Karin S. Wasler
287 S. Robertson Blvd, Suite 489
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Linda Steffensen, NFDA Secretary
Linda Steffensen’s connections and interest in the national Danish-American communities, culture, heritage and preservation run deep.
Linda is Editor of The Danish Pioneer Newspaper (Den Danske Pioneer), the oldest Danish-American newspaper in the USA since 1872, and she is also the U.S. Corporate Secretary for Rebild National Park Society, the Danish-American Friendship Organization since 2012. In January 2019, she was named the new Development Manager for The Danish Home Foundation.
In October 2018, Linda finished serving six years on the Museum of Danish America National Board of Directors, including chairing the Nominating Committee and serving as secretary of the Development/Marketing/Communications Committee. Linda is proud to say she attended every single MoDA meeting (18 meetings in all around the USA during her time on the MoDA board). Linda is also currently a board member of the Danish American Heritage Society, and she co-chaired the DAHS International Conference in Schaumburg, IL in October 2017.
She was honored to serve on The Danish Home of Chicago's parent board The Danish Association from 2006 to 2019. Linda was also secretary of The Danish Association for several years and today she still serves on the Women's Auxiliary Board of Directors.
Linda was born in Chicago as one of four children to Danish immigrant parents, Chris & Elsa Steffensen, who came to America on their honeymoon in 1958 from Vinderup and Silkeborg, Denmark.
Linda, who holds a Master's Degree in Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University, is a longtime member of the Danish Sisterhood of America, Danish Brotherhood in America, Danish American Athletic Club, Midwest Danish American Chamber of Commerce, Museum of Danish America, Scandinavian Park, Inc. and more. Linda is today secretary of quite a few organizations: Danish National Committee of Chicago, Dania Ladies Society of Chicago and the Chicago Midwest Rebild Chapter.
Linda has a large, extended family in Denmark and she has been fortunate enough to visit Denmark more than 25 times. Linda and her family are longtime supporters of the national Danish-American communities. Linda’s goals are to strengthen and preserve all of the Danish-American clubs, lodges, organizations and institutions and to interest the next generation in their Danish and Scandinavian-American heritage, culture and traditions.
1582 Glen Lake Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Samantha Darcy learned Danish during pandemic lockdown as an impulse, when she began writing with a Danish-native friend she met through an online community. She has always been interested in languages, having previously learned Spanish and Japanese, and her Danish studies quickly spiraled into a full-fledged obsession culminating in her work with the National Foundation for Danish America.
She holds a degree in Fashion Design and has worked as a menswear designer in Japan, textile designer, bakery manager, professional illustrator, art director for an award-winning roleplaying game series, marketing manager, and Danish-English translator. She was once rejected from a job at LEGO with a note that began “while your background is very interesting ...”
Samantha began learning Danish with the aid of a popular language learning app, and, when that was exhausted, studied further by analyzing song lyrics and television shows, translating parts of Neil Gaiman books from English into Danish, and reading Jack Kerouac på dansk. She has now written several Danish language articles for various publications, including Denmark's largest music magazine. She aspires to become a full time writer and translator, as translation is like solving a puzzle. Her favourite things to come out of Denmark are her friend Louise, Sol over Gudhjem, and Simon Kvamm.
While she has no Danish heritage that she is aware of (she does have an ancestor from Prussia, and really, you just never know), she has it on good authority from her Danish friend that she is now at least 30% honorary Danish. At LEAST.
© 2022 National Foundation for Danish America. All Rights Reserved