Since its founding in 1951, LAC has sought to preserve the Lithuanian cultural identity for future generations. LAC is also in the forefront of fostering the growth of the democratic institutions of the country of our heritage and of assisting Lithuania in numerous other ways.
LAC seeks, welcomes, and involves in its activities all individuals of Lithuanian descent as well as their non-Lithuanian spouses.
LAC is part of the Lithuanian World Community, an organizational network embracing Lithuanians in over 41 countries.
The Lithuanian American Community, Inc. (LAC) has about 57 local chapters in 27 states and the District of Columbia. We encourage entrepreneurial individuals to form new LAC chapters where there presently are none.
The Lithuanian American Community:
– organizes educational, cultural, religious, community, social, and sports activities,
– works in close cooperation with Lithuanian institutions, businesses and organizations,
– promotes Lithuanian culture in the U.S. and provides information to Americans about Lithuania,
– works to safeguard human and civic rights,
– actively supports strengthening democracy and economic reform in Lithuania,
– fosters interaction among Lithuanians within the United States and around the world.
The Lithuanian American Community (LAC) offers Americans of Lithuanian heritage (about 800,000) an organizational structure that enables them to:
- transmit their culture and language to their young,
- respond to the social, spiritual, educational, and other concerns of Lithuanian Americans of all persuasions,
- assist the country of their heritage with American civic experience, professional expertise, material support, and with other assistance for Lithuania’s efforts to fully rejoin the family of democratic nations after 50 years of foreign occupation (Soviet Union: 1940-1941, Nazi Germany: 1941-1944; Soviet Union: 1944-1990).
LAC activities run on volunteer power and voluntary contributions.
Everyone of Lithuanian descent and their non-Lithuanian spouses belong to the Lithuanian American community (LAC). But if you wish to get more out of your heritage, join LAC.
Where possible, LAC activities are conducted in Lithuanian but English-only members are welcome. In fact, LAC is looking for entrepreneurial individuals to start English-speaking sections at the local LAC chapters.
You will get involved in folk dancing (and will participate in Lithuanian Folkdance Festivals, such as 2012 in Boston), in singing (people are still talking about the superb 2010 LAC Lithuanian Song Festival in Toronto, Canada), learning Lithuanian language and culture (subscribe to Bridges), sending your children to Lithuanian heritage summer camps, participating in sports meets, enjoying concerts and exhibits by Lithuanian artists. LAC interests are as varied as LAC members and extend across the Atlantic to Lithuania by way of civic and charitable projects. Five members of the LAC national Board of Directors travel to attend the Lithuanian Parliament-World Lithuanian Community Commission hearings in Vilnius.
So, add some Lithuanian sparkle to your American life and forge new bonds of camaraderie and friendship with others of Lithuanian descent.
LAC organizes summer workshops for its heritage school teachers, arts and sciences conferences that attract academics and professionals of Lithuanian heritage from across the U.S. and overseas; dance festivals featuring 1,500+ dancers ; song festivals drawing more than 1,000 singers.
When needed, LAC provides U.S. governmental and municipal agencies information and expertise related to Lithuanian Americans.
Since 1994, LAC participates in a commission composed of representatives from the LAC Board of Directors and Lithuania’s Parliament. The Commission has been meeting twice a year to discuss matters of mutual concern (e.g., cultural and educational exchanges, restitution of Soviet-confiscated property, adoption procedures, dual citizenship, etc.) and to propose recommendations to Lithuania’s Parliament.
LAC provides material assistance to Lithuania’s orphans and children with disabilities and shares expertise with their caretakers.
Lithuania’s president Valdas Adamkus, 1998-2003, 2004-2009, was an active LAC member while an engineering student at the University of Illinois and later, when he was the Administrator for the Great Lakes Region for 27 years. He had also served on the LAC Executive Committee.
Lithuania’s first ambassador to NATO, Ms. Ginte Damusis, was for many years an active member of the Lithuanian American Community.
LAC publishes monthly magazines in Lithuanian for children, Eglute, and senior citizens, Pensininkas (currently seeking a new editor) and, in English, a monthly magazine for a general audience, Bridges, and a quarterly journal of arts and sciences, Lituanus.
Incorporated in Hartford, CT, in 1952, the Lithuanian American Community is currently an Illinois corporation.
Its initial leadership and membership came from ~30,000 Lithuanian World War II political refugees. They were committed to nurturing the Lithuanian language, heritage and community, and to the restoration of independence in Lithuania.
In 1988-91, while Lithuania was spearheading the breakup of the Soviet Union, LAC members assisted with expertise in numerous ways: they served on the staff of the new Lithuanian Mission at the UN, assisted Lithuania’s post-Soviet government in many capacities (including as ambassadors), organized (and still do) annual summer workshops in Lithuania for Lithuania’s high school teachers by American educators, provided material support of various kinds, and lobbied Congress for the invitation of Lithuania into NATO (Nov. 21, 2002, Lithuania was invited to join NATO).
LAC’s tradition of effectiveness rested on the foundation provided by the strong professional/entrepreneurial background of its founding membership, the majority of whom had served in leadership positions in pre-World War II independent Lithuania. LAC founders were successful in transmitting their culture, civic activism, and commitment to the Lithuanian community to the next generation.
Over its 50-year history, LAC initiated and implemented many civic, cultural, educational, and social projects and programs; LAC members have been and are active in numerous Lithuanian American organizations and are involved in all aspects of Lithuanian American life.
Every three years, LAC elects a national Board of Directors which, in turn, elects the President of the Executive Committee. The President forms a 15 member Executive Committee, subject to Board approval, and appoints Chairs of six permanent Councils which initiate and implement projects.
LAC is a constituent member of the Lithuanian World Community, an umbrella organization for the Lithuanian diaspora residing in 36 countries.
Board of Directors
- The National Board of Directors sets LAC priorities for the coming year.
- The term of office is three years; the current term is 2012-2015. Sixty of the directors are elected and 10 regional chairs serve ex-officio.
- All Lithuanians, Americans of Lithuanian descent, and non-Lithuanian spouses (18+) may vote for the Board of Directors.
- The Board convention is held each year in a different location. The 2011 convention was hosted by Newark, New Jersey Chapter.
- The National Executive Committee implements the Board’s wishes. The Board elects the Chair and the Chair chooses his/her team for a three-year term.
- The current Executive Committee’s term is 2012-2015.
Board of Review
- The Board of Review handles problems, should they arise, at any level of LAC activity. The Chair is appointed by the Board for a three-year term and selects his/her team.