Mara Erkmanis, the Chicago Latvian Association’s Board Chairman from 1982 to 1996, was an active advocate for Latvia and Latvians. She led the Association during the Latvia’s “Singing Revolution” period when the country regained independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. At that time, the Chicago Latvian Community Center became a base for journalists reporting on Latvia’s political situation.

After Mara passed away in 1996, the “Mara Erkmanis Fund” was established in her memory with the goal of financially supporting Latvian cultural efforts in Chicago. In recent years, the Mara Erkmanis Fund has sponsored Latvian plays, puppet theater performances, classical music, folk music and choir concerts, as well as other performances and events.

Alderman Michael Wojcik, who often worked with Mara, proposed naming Hamlin Avenue in her honor to the Chicago City Council.


Donations to the Mara Erkmane Fund can be mailed to the following address, noting that the donation is for this fund:
Chicago Latvian Association Inc.
PO Box 41
Skokie, IL 60076-0041

The Mara Erkmanis Fund is a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization, and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.