ABOUT NANSEN FIELDSCAN (Scandinavian Center at Nansenfield) is the entity with the overall responsibility to maintain, develop and financially operate Nansen Field. To this end, representatives for all clubs and organizations that use the Nansen Field facilities on a regular basis meet once a month.
SCAN’s Mission is to share our common Nordic heritage while preserving individual cultural diversity.
SCAN will strive to keep Nansen Field as a haven for young and old, a place of beauty, to gather, to learn, to play, and to preserve the roots and values of the Scandinavian-American heritage.
As we grow, SCAN will perform a vital role in fulfilling the cultural, athletic, educational and social needs of the Scandinavian community and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
VIKING OF THE YEAR
Nansen Field Foundation established the Viking of the Year Award in 2004 for the purpose of recognizing a person, persons or organization that has distinguished themselves in support of, work for and service to Nansen Field.
Guidelines for Nominations:
The award recipient must have a broad background volunteering personal time promoting the success of Nansen Field, including some of the following matters:
- Initiative and leadership
- Impact on organization – direction – future plans
- Provide advice to leaders of Scan including legal, accounting and public relations
- Playing key roles in critical matters
- Chair fundraising or lend critical support to activities and events
- Physical work at Nansen Field
Recipients of the Viking of the Year Award:
2010 – Erik Mikkelsen
2008 – Ragnar Amlie
2007 – Vivian and Knut Ivar Halvorsen
2006 – Paal Berg (About_Paal_Berg)
2005 – Arne Mikkelsen (About_Arne_Mikkelsen)
2004 – Kristin Loumeau (About_Kirsten_Loumeau)
A BRIEF HISTORIC REVIEW
The Past 60 Years
World War II
– During WWII the Norwegian Merchant Fleet was considerably reduced in size.
Post War, Norwegian ship calls increase
– When peace was restored, the fleet was quickly rebuilt and resulted in increased visits by Norwegian ships to the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. In those days the ships remained in port for many days, often weeks, discharging and loading their cargo. The crews were bored and frequented bars in the red light districts. Recreational and sports activities were alternative solutions and soccer matches between seamen and shore based teams were popular.
– Pastor Hans Stensnes of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in San Pedro was actively searching for appropriate land where recreational activities could take place.
1947-1948, Vanderlip property offer
-The Norwegian Seamen’s Church was offered a lot in Palos Verdes (8.67 acres) by the Vanderlip Family. Elin Brekke from Halden, Norway who married Kelvin Vanderlip in 1946 was instrumental in this generous offer.
– Cost of land: $500/acre for a total of $4,300 which equaled property taxes paid by Vanderlip Family from 1913 to 1947.
– Due to influence exerted by the Norwegian Government Seamen’s Welfare Office in San Francisco, the Church declined the offer. Instead an option to buy the land was granted to Consul General Kaare Ingstad, as representative for the Norwegian Government.
– The option was executed in April 1948, and the property was first owned by Mr. Ingstad as trustee for the Kingdom of Norway.
1948-1952, Development of Nansen Field
– For the next four years the property was improved for use as a recreational area with great efforts by the local Norwegian community of church volunteers. A soccer field was created and leveled off. A discarded army barracks building from Fort McArthur in San Pedro was transported to the site and used as a club house.
– The property was officially dedicated at a ceremony in 1949 and given the name Nansen Field, after the famed Norwegian explorer and humanist Fridtjof Nansen.
1952, Seamen of Norway Inc. (SNI)
– In 1952 Seamen of Norway Inc. (SNI) was established and the deed transferred to this entity on February 29, 1952 and Nansen Field became the property of SNI in an irrevocable charitable trust.
– SNI was formed as a California non-profit corporation with powers vested in its 5 directors.
– The Articles of Incorporation stated amongst others:
– “To acquire, own, establish, provide, operate and maintain real and personal property in or near San Pedro, California for the physical, spiritual and moral welfare of seamen and others.”
– “The property of this corporation is irrevocably dedicated to religious, charitable or hospital purposes, and upon the liquidation, dissolution or abandonment of this corporation will not inure to the benefit of any private person, except a fund, foundation or corporation organized and operated for religious, hospital, scientific and charitable purpose.”
1952-1981, “Velferden” and Sportsklubben FRAM
– The Norwegian Seamen’s Welfare Office operated Nansen Field as a center for sports, recreational and social activities for visiting seamen and the local Norwegian community until Velferden closed its local office in 1981.
– The local Norwegian community continued to help maintain the soccer field and buildings during these years. Sportsklubben FRAM was founded in 1964, initially to form a shore based soccer team to play the ships teams. FRAM supported operations over the years in organizing work parties (dugnads) to maintain and upgrade the property.
1981, “Velferden” closed operations in LA.
– The Norwegian Seamen’s Welfare Office was closed in 1981, a combination of decline in Norwegian shipping and limited time for seamen to spend ashore due to shorter stays in port.
– On April 26, 1981 SNI signed an agreement with Sportsklubben FRAM for the operation, maintenance and management of Nansen Field.
– FRAM operated Nansen Field through 1996 with an annual budget of $20,000-$25,000. Funds were raised entirely by the local community.
1983-1984, New Club house + Nansen Field Foundation, Inc. (NFF)
– A new and larger club house was built in preparation for the 1984 Olympics at a cost in excess of $100,000. This included improvements to the soccer field also.
– A bank loan was secured with personal guarantees by several members of FRAM.
– Nansen Field Foundation, Inc. (NFF) was established in 1983. NFF was established as a California non-profit organization with Tax Exempt Status in order to facilitate fund-raising for the upkeep and improvement of Nansen Field.
1984, Olympic Year
– The Norwegian Olympic Team received much support, financially and otherwise, by the local Norwegian community both prior to, during and after the games.
– Norwegian athletes (yachtsmen) lived at Nansen Field during the games.
– An Olympic BBQ held at Nansen Field gathered 500 people.
1987, Building loan retired + Blue Ribbon Committee
– The building loan was paid off.
– “Burning of loan documents” ceremony was held at the field.
– “Blue Ribbon Committee” was established by FRAM.
– The purpose: to define future structure and operation of Nansen Field and FRAM’S’ role.
– Recommendation: establish a broader base of local community entities to support and operate Nansen Field in the future. Clarify ownership of the property.
1989, “Sell Nansen Field!”
– Norwegian Parliament (Storting) passed a law requiring all Norwegian government owned properties abroad sold.
– In the belief Nansen Field was owned by Norway, several delegates visited the property. Upon returning to Norway they all reported that Nansen Field could be sold at prices ranging from several hundred thousands to millions of dollars. “Property should be sold to the highest bidder.”
– Instructions were given by Norway to the directors of SNI to amend the articles of incorporation not only allowing a sale of the property but with the proceeds to be transferred to Norway.
– After obtaining legal advice the Board of Directors declined based upon:
a) SNI’s charitable purposes.
b) SNI’s sole ownership of Nansen Field.
c) The requirements for use of the property stipulated by the Grant Deed and Articles of Incorporation.
1993, Law suit initiated by Norway
– On September 28, 1993 the Kingdom of Norway filed a suit in U.S. Federal Court against the 5 individual members of the Board of Directors of SNI, to remove and replace them by a new Board and to determine ownership and control of Nansen Field. The ultimate motive was to sell the property to the highest bidder.
1995, Court Ruling
– On March 30, 1995 the Court ruled:
a) SNI is the sole owner of Nansen Field.
b) The elected members of the Board of Directors are the current ones.
c) The Kingdom of Norway has no ownership interests in Nansen Field and has no power to remove or appoint members of the Board of Directors.
– Unfortunately, SNI’s request that plaintiff pay its legal fees was denied.
– Norway’s aggressive and intimidating litigation was costly in terms of legal fees: Norway – approx. USD $1.3million, SNI – approx. US $325,000.
1996, Loan to pay legal fees
In June 1996, a loan for $260,000 payable in 5 years and secured by the Nansen Field property was granted and the legal fees paid off.
Huge challenges for the Board:
– Raise sufficient funds to pay principle and interest on the loan.
– Raise sufficient funds to maintain, operate and upgrade the facilities at Nansen Field.
– Generate revenues to meet the charitable purpose of SNI under California law (to benefit seamen and others). Substantial programs may be required to justify retention of Nansen Field in its present form. A real estate appraiser commissioned by Norway put a value of USD $3,025,000 (April 1995).
1997- Scandinavian Center at Nansenfield (SCAN)
– Realizing the financial burden and other obligations had became too great for the Norwegian community alone, a new entity, Scandinavian Center at Nansenfield (SCAN) was established in May 1997 as a dba (doing business as) of Nansen Field Foundation.
– SCAN replaced Sportsklubben FRAM as operator and manager of Nansen Field
– In its infancy SCAN faced many challenges, including:
a) To raise sufficient funds to make monthly interest payments and pay down loan.
b) To maintain, repair and upgrade the soccer field and buildings.
c) To generate sufficient revenues and cash flow to assist SNI in meeting its charitable purpose (to benefit seamen and others).
– SCAN’s goal to establish a Nordic Heritage, Cultural and Sports Center at Nansen Field has proven difficult. Nansen Field was considered by the Scandinavian communities in Los Angeles to be “too Norwegian”. Not until SNI was faced with a substantial debt did the Board invite others to join and then, primarily, to ask for financial help.
– SCAN’s dilemma has been mainly financial in that it proved difficult to raise sufficient funds. Annual interest payments on the loan alone run in excess of $20,000. A similar amount is required for maintenance, insurance and other running expenses. Funds collected over and above are used to reduce the debt and to fund special capital costs such as driveway paving, etc.
– During several difficult and challenging years SNI has had two options to consider: either sell the property with proceeds going to a charitable organization, or refinance the loan and continue the mission.
– A “Save Nansen Field” campaign was implemented in February 2001.
– The loan was refinanced in February 2002.
CURRENT USERS & ACTIVITIES
The User Clubs pay a fixed annual fee and in return use Nansen Field as their home for activities, meetings and social events. Without the support, financially and otherwise, of the user clubs it would be impossible for SCAN to operate Nansen Field in the manner we are. Other the below revenue streams, SCAN depends financially on membership, donations, fundraisers and limited rental income.
– Membership meetings
– Midsummer/St Hans celebration
– Nordic Cup Charitable Golf tournament benefiting Nansen Field and Norwegian Seamen’s Church
– Membership meetings
– Sports and social activities including “idrettsmerke”, monthly membership meetings
– Syttende Mai celebration.
Sportklubben FRAM Soccer
– Membership meetings
– Soccer training and games including children, youth, adults and old boys. Number of teams: 38 teams. Fram Soccer leases the soccer field and other designated areas at Nansen Field from SNI.
Norwegian Fish Club
– Monthly dinners
Sons of Norway-Ulabrand Lodge
– Membership meetings
Brits at Nansen
– Soccer related socials
Swedish School of South Bay
– Children’s school (weekly)
Icelandic Association of Los Angeles:
– Children’s Christmas celebration
– Icelandic Independence celebration
Debt reduction since Lawsuit & 1995 court ruling:
December 31. 1995: $325,000
December 31. 1996: $260,000
December 31. 1997: $212,000
December 31. 1998: $198,000
December 31. 1999: $190,000
December 31. 2000: $185,000
December 31. 2001: $162,000
December 31. 2002: $150,000
December 31. 2003: $133,000
December 31. 2004: $121,000
December 31. 2005: $115,000
December 31. 2006: $107,000
December 31. 2007: $99,000
December 31. 2008: $92,000 + $ 50,000 = $ 142,000
December 31. 2009: $79,000 + $ 50,000 = $ 129,000
December 31. 2010: $69,000 + $ 50,000 = $ 119,000
SNI currently maintains 2 loans with Sons of Norway, Ulabrand Lodge:
– Loan 1 from March 2002 at 6% interest rate
– Loan 2 from July 2008 at 5% interest rate to pay the cost to repave the drive way.
Principal balance paid to date (thru 11/10/10) on all loans $ 190,079.07
Interest paid to date (thru 11/30/10) on all loans $ 181,746.16
For a Grand total of $ 371,825.23
- SCAN is a dba (doing business as) of Nansen Field Foundation (NFF), a non-profit charitable foundation organized under the laws of the State of California.
- SCAN has the overall responsibility to maintain, develop and financially operate Nansen Field.
- SCAN shall continue to offer Nansen Field as a Scandinavian Heritage, Cultural and Sports Center and fill a vital role in fulfilling the cultural, athletic, educational and social needs of the Scandinavian community and others in the Los Angeles area.
- The financial challenge would be substantially lessened if the debt situation inflicted by the attorney fees from the 1993-1995 lawsuit was resolved.
- Since the inception of SCAN, created as an organization to bring wider support to Nansen Field in order to face the debt incurred by the lawsuit, as well as to share this precious and unique resource with a wider community, the SCAN board and supporters of Nansen Field have been holding onto a vision. They cannot realize this vision until the debt is retired. Support to the field from the Scandinavian community is still measured, if not to say weak, as our pool of donors are resistant to give, or to keep giving, to pay for substantial legal costs incurred a decade ago, and still floating as a dangerous burden over the future of Nansen Field. Retirement of this debt would give a tremendous positive impetus to the Norwegian community as well as to the other Nordic communities to enable SCAN to make manifold some of the goals that were established at its creation, namely:
- more Scandinavian inspired landscaping including a Children’s Garden and a Heritage Garden;
- improvements to the buildings and facilities in keeping with a Scandinavian design esthetic;
- more cultural offerings such as films, concerts, lectures, cooking classes, language courses, children’s programs and social activities, etc.
- These goals, if met, would add immeasurably to the appeal of Nansen Field not only to Southern California Norwegians and other Scandinavians, but to local Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay individuals and families. They could discover and learn to appreciate our Nordic values of rural beauty, charm, warmth, simple and elegant design, and the riches of the culture we treasure from our Norwegian roots.