Ely Folk School

A nonprofit organization

$13,748 raised by 131 donors

92% complete

$15,000 Goal

The Ely Folk School is a Place of Connection

The Ely Folk School builds community and provides learning experiences that celebrate the wilderness, heritage, art, history, culture, and craft of the people of northern Minnesota. At our classes, events, and gatherings, people come together to share their stories and skills in a non-competitive, intergenerational environment. 

Making Homemade Slovenian Walnut Potica
Recipe from Rose Mavetz

EFS workshops and events offer a place to slow down in a fast-paced world. A place to forge connections with neighbors and share stories. Many new residents to the area report the Ely Folk School as a crucial space to begin making social connections. One person wrote “Since my move, I’ve been trying to find ways to get involved with my new community, and the best thing I’ve found has been the [Ely] Folk School.”  The Ely Folk School has an innate ability to bring together diverse groups of people. 

Our small classes often consist of students from many generations and a variety of zip codes. Each summer, and increasingly each winter, people flood Ely’s restaurants, hiking trails, and parking spots. There is a dearth of opportunities for tourists to engage meaningfully with locals - to tell stories and build relationships. The Ely Folk School is one of the few venues that aims to foster that communication and connection. 

Mike and Aberdeen take part in a Community Weaving
Photo by John Ratzloff

Ely Folk School programming is diverse, ranging from long-form classes on wheel-throwing and ceramics to regular community potlucks. From classes on regional favorite food dishes to open conversational forums hosted by Ely City Council Members, the Ely Folk School focuses on events that offer people space to share stories and skills. 

EFS classes span culinary arts, fine arts, ceramics, fiber arts, outdoor skills and knowledge, foraging for local craft materials and food, woodworking, and metalworking. We host the Ely Area Writers Group, the Ely Photography Collective, meals for Vermilion students as well as regular potlucks, bonfires, craft markets, community dances, kids summer arts programming, and Makers Mornings. Curious? Visit our website to see all upcoming classes and events. Perhaps we will see you at our Meat Raffle at Zaverls on November 10 or at our Thanksgiving Potluck at 3 pm on Thanksgiving Day!

Every donation, no matter the size, will allow the Ely Folk School to continue connecting people to people, to craft, to place, and to themselves. During Give to the Max 2023, we need to to reach 150 donors. Can you help us get there? Remember, each donation of $5 on GiveMN.org gives EFS a chance to win additional prizes!

Ely Folk School Community Dance 9/2023
Photo by Ian Francis Lah

This year, donors who give $100 and more during the Give to the Max campaign will receive an invitation to an exclusive Top Chef event on Sunday, November 26th.  Attendees will celebrate fall in the Northwoods by sampling dishes featuring local protein and specialty cocktails, which will all incorporate a local berry. Food and beverages will be prepared by local competitors and attendees will vote on a winner at the end of the night. Qualifying donors who are not able to attend the exclusive event will be given a voucher to attend the class, or may donate in honor of a local who may be able to attend in their stead. 

Chefs of the 2022 GTTM Top Chef Event
Photo by Alexia Springer

Organization Data


Organization name

Ely Folk School

other names

Folk School, EFS

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Education Community


209 E Sheridan St
Ely, MN 55731



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