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Remembering Frank Ellsworth


Last month, the world lost Frank Ellsworth, Give2Asia's former Board Director and President. If you would like to join us in continuing Frank's legacy, you can contribute to his fund benefiting Dream Makers for North Korea (Mulmangcho).

Contribute to Frank's Fund

Frank’s family asked that gifts in his memory be made to Mulmangcho. The following letter was written by that organization to remember Frank. We share it with their gratitude. 

During the last trip to Korea in his lifetime, Frank Ellsworth gave a speech. A crowd of more than two hundred had gathered to celebrate the Mulmangcho Day. Frank himself as he often did: a man in the education business.

“My parents were in education, I have been an educator all my life, and my daughter is an educator.”

And Frank was truly an educator: a professor, dean, and a president of universities. At 36, he became the youngest president to serve the Claremont Colleges at Pitzer. His mission at Pitzer was “to help establish a multicultural educational program and environment that would foster intercultural understanding and respect.”

It is no wonder that Frank would come to care so much about the Mulmangcho program, which serves refugee students from North Korea.

On Mulmangcho Day, Frank spoke about education and hope. I am quoting a part of his speech below:

“Yes, education.  And by that we mean more than classrooms, laboratories, degrees and ‘formal’ education.  We mean education at large.  For education is also intercultural, learning about other peoples, as well as the many challenges we face in our chaotic world.  Education comes from learning from life.

“Education and hope are connected. All of us at NKRA [North Korea Refugee Assist] hope that the students who come to the USA every year will have experiences which are educational at large. We hope that these experiences will help them in their lives and careers. We hope that we have played some role in their journey as citizens of the world. Thank you.”

The audience was moved by Frank’s remarks, which were translated simultaneously by Munho Cho: one of our Mulmangcho students who had studied at La Verne University two years ago.

Frank was ecstatic that Munho was there to help him deliver his message. Munho, who had escaped from North Korea in search of education and hope, was now well on his way to achieving his goal. Following his stint at La Verne University’s ELS Program (English Language Studies), Munho went on to participate in other programs, including a year-long study in Indiana as an exchange student.

NKRA has hosted 20 refugee students from North Korea who have studied English and American culture at institutions in Washington DC, La Verne, and Toledo.

Another refugee, Oak, was the first of our students that Frank met four years ago. She demonstrated to Frank—and to all of us—an amazing passion and drive for academic achievement. Today, she is one semester away from acquiring her Master’s degree in education at Holy Names University in Oakland. She is now busy writing her thesis on none other than multicultural education, one of Frank’s favorite topics.

Frank also had a favorite saying about what the students learned in America.

“When I asked them about the first lesson they’ve learned in America, they told me that, back in North Korea, they had been taught to hate Americans as evil people. What they learned was that Americans are not so bad.”

Frank would follow with a hearty laugh and celebrate this transformation on the part of our students. Forever a humble soul, Frank would downplay his role in furthering their education in classroom and in life.

Kirstin, Frank’s daughter, conveyed Frank’s wish for neither a service nor a memorial. She is in full agreement that we honor her father with a show of support for the program he had felt so deeply about.

Frank’s leadership in this education program was crucial. Thus, it is fitting that we remember him by making contributions to the education fund that he had championed with Give2Asia.

Please join us in remembering Frank by continuing his legacy. His leadership will be sorely missed, but we will endeavor to identify and support Mulmangcho students with their educational goals.

To donate online, click the button below. To donate with a check, money order, wire transfer, or securities transfer, please email gifts@give2asia.org and request a donation form for the Frank Ellsworth Fund.

Contribute to Frank's fund


Frank is being greeted by Professor Park of Mulmangcho FDN. 5/22/2019


Frank and NKRA group visit with Deputy Speaker Lee Ju-young of Korean National Assembly. 5/23/2019


Frank and NKRA group take a picture at JinGwanSa Buddhist Temple with GyeHo Sunim, the head nun and temple cuisine master. 5/21/2019


Frank taking a picture of the special lunch at the temple. 5/21/2019


Frank getting ready for tea and desert at the temple tearoom. 5/21/2019

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