"As my last will and testament I make the following provision for the possessions detailed below: The document appended to the gift bestowed upon me, Gustaf Mannerheim, by the people of Finland on 25th July 1919 under the title of "The General Gustaf Mannerheim National Fund" included the following statement: "We request you to receive this fund as a token of our esteem, to benefit from the interests yielded by it during your lifetime and to make use of the capital as you shall see fit."
These were the opening words of the will of Baron Gustaf Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland, signed by him on 16th August 1945, words that also constitute the regulations governing the General Gustaf Mannerheim National Fund, now known as the Mannerheim Foundation. The trustees of the Foundation are still engaged to this day in implementing his last will, by awarding scholarships to promising Finnish military officers in order to enable them to train at military academies abroad. Nowadays the awards are made on recommendations from the National Defence University, and hundreds of officers over the decades have been able to study at the best military academies in the world on the strength of these scholarships.
Although the provision of scholarships is its principal purpose, the Foundation also maintains the Mannerheim Museum. This was not originally envisaged by the Marshal of Finland himself, but was decided upon by the trustees after his death.
The documents and correspondence of Marshal Mannerheim that came into the possession of the Foundation have been deposited in the National Archives, where they can be consulted following the obtaining of permission from a representative of the Foundation and from the Director of the National Archives. The Foundation also owns extensive photo archives located in the Mannerheim Museum and the rights over his Memoirs and everything else that he wrote, with the exception of the diary of his journey in Asia, the rights to which are owned by the Finno-Ugrian Society.
During Mannerheim's lifetime the Foundation was administered by a board composed of Gustaf Mannerheim himself and three other members, and the regulations stipulated that upon his death it should be augmented with six new members appointed by virtue of their official positions.
The composition of the board of trustees still follows these principles nowadays, with the occupants of the three original positions appointing their own successors. The funds administered by the Foundation comprise the monetary gifts received by Mannerheim from the Finnish people at various times, include the proceeds of the National Address of 1919 and gifts made to mark his 70th and 75th birthdays, all of which he committed in 1945 to the General Gustaf Mannerheim National Fund, now known as the Mannerheim Foundation, at the same time as he drew up his last will, which forms the regulations governing the Foundation.
The Foundation board:
chairman Mika Ihamuotila
vice chairman Timo Kivinen
Wilhelm von Frenckell
Managing director of the foundation: Klaus Ilmonen