Luanne Nyberg Girls Empowerment Fund

Books For Africa (BFA) has established the Luanne Nyberg Girls Empowerment Fund in honor of our late, great former board president, Kilimanjaro Society donor, and friend. Luanne passed away suddenly in her sleep on January 5 at the age of 73.

The Empowerment Fund received a generous funding base of $2,300 from friends at Luanne’s moving memorial service January 17, 2020 at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

“Mom was a joyful volunteer with BFA and she was a passionate advocate for the sharing of wealth, knowledge, education, and care for all people of the world, but especially children,” wrote her son, Will Ziegenhagen. “Her time on the board of Books For Africa was something that brought her immense joy and pride and the friendships she gained through her interactions with many in your organization was one of her greatest pleasures right up until her death.”

Luanne Nyberg (second from right) at the Pamoja Youth Initiative on Zanzibar Island, where girls receive tutoring.

Executive Director Pat Plonski said, "Luanne was a great leader for BFA - serving two terms on our board of directors and serving in a number of leadership roles, including Board President. Her passion for education and serving children in Africa was inspirational to us all, and she will be sorely missed."

Lane Ayres, Director of The Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative, added that “as a life-long advocate for those less served, Luanne developed a passion for Books For Africa. While she loved all of what BFA does, she was the conscience of the organization in always urging us to find more ways to get books into the hands of girls.”

Luanne Nyberg and Isaac Owens

In addition, Lane noted: “From her time as a policy adviser for the Minnesota Attorney General’s landmark tobacco case, she was a firm believer in the rule of law. She helped with the initial planning of our law book program and has been a strong supporter of it by her advocacy and by regular financial donations. She was most excited about the times we were able to provide the Thomson Reuters reference law library to women’s legal organizations.”

The reaction to her passing from the far-flung BFA family was overwhelming. Luanne touched so many lives in Minnesota, the U.S. and in Africa.

Lamin Dibba, BFA board member, called Luanne “a true champion of BFA. Luanne personally sponsored containers for our One Million Books to The Gambia project. She was great, caring, devoted, willing and ready to assist in any way she can.”

 “She was like my Mom within a short space of time that I’ve known her…am just shaking as I write this message. May her beautiful soul Rest in Peace,” said Buyi Masikane, from Durban, South Africa.

“She was a loving person, most of all warm-hearted. May she rest in peace. Will forever love and miss her,” wrote Noma Kananda, from Soweto, South Africa.

(L-R)Mike Essien, Tammie Follett, Sharon Sayles Belton, John Elstad, Lane Ayres, Luanne Nyberg, Tom Pfeifer, Rosemond Owens, Tom Gitaa, and Jote Taddese celebrate the shipment of the 100th law library to Africa at Thomson Reuters on December 10th, 2019.

The Luanne Nyberg Girls Empowerment Fund will create Luanne Nyberg Memorial Libraries that contain library books and girls empowerment books across the African continent. A donation of $300 sponsors a full Girls Empowerment Collection. You can donate here.

In closing, the words the Books For Africa family knows so well,

“Luanne, the children of Africa thank you!” Tom Warth, Founder, Books For Africa

Luanne Nyberg