The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is a private, non-profit organization. Its purpose is to promote and support high-level research and the implementation of freedom of speech.

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Board of trustees
  • Kaius Niemi (chairman)

    Kaius Niemi (b. 1974) has been the chairman of the board of trustees since 2014 and a member since 2011. Kaius Niemi is the Senior Editor-in-Chief of Helsingin Sanomat.

    Kaius Niemi began his journalistic career as a television and radio reporter at the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE in the 1990s. Later he worked as a reporter at the television channel Nelonen (Four). In 1998 Niemi moved to Helsingin Sanomat where he was a staff writer at the Foreign Desk for six years. In 2002 the Publishing House Bonnier awarded Kaius Niemi the title Journalist of the Year for his war coverage of Afghanistan. In 2005 Niemi became the City Editor of the Helsingin Sanomat City and Metropolitan News Desk. Two years later he was appointed Managing Editor of the newspaper. Since 2010 Kaius Niemi worked as Editor-in-Chief of Ilta-Sanomat where his main focus is the digital content and its development. The online financial daily and the financial news agency Startel are part of the afternoon newspaper Ilta-Sanomat.

    Kaius Niemi has graduated from the Helsinki French-Finnish high school. He has studied political history at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. In 2003 Niemi studied at the international journalism school of World Press Institute in the USA. Today he is a member of the WPI Board of Directors. In 2008 Kaius Niemi wrote a biography of Finnish forensic dentist Helena Ranta.

  • Matti Sintonen (vice-chairman)

    Matti Sintonen (b. 1951) is the vice-chairman of the board of trustees and has been a board member since 2009. Matti Sintonen is Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and the Study of Arts at University of Helsinki, Finland. Educated in Helsinki and Oxford he has been professor of Philosophy of Science at Tampere University as well as Professor of Philosophy of Social Science at Helsinki University.

    Dr. Sintonen was the Founding President of European Philosophy of Science Association and served in its Steering Committee in 2006–2010. He has experience as a member and chair of evaluation and review panels in Finland and elsewhere. He has been a member of the Research Council for the Study of Culture and Society in the Academy of Finland since 2010 as well as a member of the Standing Committee and the Scientific Review Group for the Humanities in the European Science Foundation.

    Matti Sintonen was also appointed to the Scientific Committee for the Humanities of Science Europe. He has previously served as one of the Chairmen of Finnish Cultural Foundation and he is Life Member of Clare Hall College, Cambridge, as well as a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.

  • Elina Lehtinen (2nd vice-chairman)

    Elina Lehtinen  (b. 1965) has been a deputy member of the board of trustees since 2012. Lehtinen was elected member of the board of trustees and the second vice chairman 2017. Lehtinen works at Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) as Head of Communications and Fundraising leading CMI’s Communications and Fundraising teams. CMI is a private diplomacy organization founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari in year 2000.

    Lehtinen graduated from Sanoma School of Journalism 1990 and got her Master’s degree in Political Science 1993 from University of Helsinki. She worked for seven years at the Finnish Public Broadcasting Corp. (YLE TV) 1993–2000. In 2001 Elina Lehtinen moved to United States to Boston. She got her second Master’s degree from the Harvard University, JFK School of Government in Public Administration 2007.

    The same year she moved to the Middle-East to Qatar where she worked as a senior communications consultant at Bell Pottinger. She took part of the Director’s group for developing Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and developed an external communications plan for the GSDP’s Communications unit.

  • Liisa Välikangas

    Liisa Välikangas (b. 1961) has been a member of the board of trustees since 2009. Välikangas is Professor of Innovation Management at Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics. Previously, she has been affiliated with Stanford University, SRI International and Strategos in California, London Business School, Keio University in Japan and IMD in Switzerland.

    Her research on innovation, strategy and organizing has been published in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Wall Street Journal, among other leading journals, and presented to various executive audiences.

    Her research has been awarded a divisional Best Action Research Paper by the Academy of Management in 2009. Liisa Välikangas is the author of The Resilient Organization, How Adaptive Cultures Thrive Even When Strategy Fails, McGraw-Hill, 2010. She is in the board of SCANCOR, the Scandinavian Consortium for Organizational Research at Stanford University, Sanoma Foundation, dedicated to the study of future, freedom of speech and democracy, and Tekes, The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. She is also affiliated with the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA. She is currently studying the importance of vanguard companies for strategic discovery.

  • Jyrki Ali-Yrkkö

    Jyrki Ali-Yrkkö (b. 1969) has been a member of the board of trustees since 2009. He works as Head of Unit at the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA).  During his career Ali-Yrkkö has led several research projects and groups. His research interests can be categorized in three major themes: the globalisation and its impacts on firms and national economies, the efficiency of innovation policy and the role of Nokia in the Finnish economy.

    In addition to academic series, the results of his studies have been reported in numerous leading magazines and newspapers such as in Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Die Welt and L’Express. Before his research career, Jyrki worked as a software designer in several small software companies.

    Ali-Yrkkö earned his PhD in Helsinki School of Economics in 2008.

  • Ville Pernaa

    Ville Pernaa (b. 1974) has been a member of the board of trustees since 2014. He has been Editor-in-Chief of Kanava magazine since 2009 and Editor-in-Chief of Suomen Kuvalehti magazine from August 2014. Ville Pernaa is Doctor of Social Sciences and he has studied for example the relations of media and politics, media coverage of parliamentary elections and the history of Yle News. He is also Adjunct Professor in Contemporary History and Journalism.

    Previously he has been the Director of the Centre for Parliamentary Studies in University of Turku (2007-2014), senior researcher in Yle News (2008–2009) and senior researcher in the history project of the Finnish Parliament (2001–2007).

  • Laura Saarikoski

    Laura Saarikoski (s. 1974) has been a member of the board of trustees since 2014. Saarikoski is Correspondent for Helsingin Sanomat in Washington.

    Saarikoski has earned her Master´s degree in Social Sciences, majoring in journalism from University of Tampere in 2005. She has also studied economy and politics in the George Washington University in USA during 1998–2000. For 2011–2012 Laura Saarikoski was granted a fellowship at the Reuters Institute for the study of journalism in the Oxford University.

    Saarikoski began her career in Helsingin Sanomat 1995 as news reporter. During 1997–2001 she worked as Foreign stringer for the Helsingin Sanomat in Washington. Saarikoski has also worked as political reporter, Sunday editor and feature editor as well as head of feature editorial staff.

  • Teemu Luukka (deputy member)

    Teemu Luukka (b. 1960) has been in the board of trustees since 2014 as a deputy member. Luukka works in Helsingin Sanomat as journalist covering domestic politics and business and economics, he especially follows labor unions, media and forest industry. Teemu Luukka started in Helsingin Sanomat 1988. He has been working since as news editor and journalist at economics desk and journalist at domestic politics desk as well as journalist covering culture and Sunday features. During 1985–1986 and 1991 Teemu Luukka worked in New York as news reporter and freelance journalist.

    Teemu Luukka has studied literature and journalism in Helsinki University and taken several courses in economics and international policy in New York University.

    Teemu Luukka is a member of the board, Employees’ Fund of the Sanoma Corporation and during 2009–2015 he acted as chairman. Luukka has also been a member of the board, Nuorsuomalainen Sanomalehtiyhdistys since 2008.

  • Pirjo Hiidenmaa (deputy member)

    Pirjo Hiidenmaa (b. 1959) was elected deputy member in 2017. Hiidenmaa is Professor of non-fiction literature in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki.  Pirjo Hiidenmaa  earned her PhD in 1995 at the University of Helsinki (dissertation on Finnish language).

    Previously Pirjo Hiidenmaa has been Director of the Continuing Education Center Palmenia  (2013- 2014), Director of the Open University at University of Helsinki (2011 – 2012), Director of Cultural and Social Studies Unit in the Academy of Finland (2006-2011), Senior Researcher at the Research Centre for the Languages of Finland (1993–2006) and Head of Department, Research Centre for the Languages of Finland (1998–2006). She has also worked as lecturer at the University of Helsinki, Department of the Finnish Language (1991–1992), as language advisor at the Bank of Finland (1988–1993), as Journalist, Suomen Lääkärilehti (Finnish Medical Journal) 1986–1988 and as Researcher at the Research Centre for the Languages of Finland (1984–1986).

    Professor Hiidenmaa’s research interests are non-fiction, science communication, and text and discourse analysis.

Other administration

The Working Committee

The members of the committee are Kaius Niemi (chairman), Matti Sintonen, Elina Lehtinen and Ulla Koski.

The Finance Committee

Nils Ittonen serves as the chairman of the Finance Committee. The other members are Matti Sintonen, Kaius Niemi, Elina Lehtinen and Ulla Koski.

The Scientific Committee

The members of the Scientific Committee are Professor Colin Sparks of Hong Kong Baptist University, Secretary General Pekka Aula, Finnis Academy of Science and Letters and Professor Anu Koivunen, Stockholm University.

Representing the Foundation on the Scientific Committee are Professor Matti Sintonen (chairman); President Ulla Koski.



The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation was formed when the Helsingin Sanomat Centennial Foundation merged with the Päivälehti Archive Foundation in December of 2005.

The Board of Directors of Sanoma Corporation and the Board of Directors of the picture agency Lehtikuva Oy founded the Päivälehti Archive Foundation in 1984. The following year, they founded the Helsingin Sanomat Centennial Foundation.

Between 1990 and 2005, the Helsingin Sanomat Centennial Foundation provided a total of 9,300,000 euros in donations and grants to some 589 recipients.

During the past few years grants were awarded for dissertation research and for post-doctoral research conducted abroad.



The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is a member in the Council of Finnish Foundations and  European Foundation Centre (EFC).

Other information


Samuli Perälä, CA and Valtteri Helenius, CA, serve as auditors. Juha Tuomala, CA, and Jaana Salmi, CA, are the deputy auditors.

Business ID

The business ID of the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is 2066823-5.