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We all know families whose world changed in a matter of hours with the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness in one of their children.​

The Northern Lights Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that seeks to ease the emotional and financial stresses placed on these families, and hopefully bring a little light to their lives.  

Upon approval of the application, the family will receive a grant to use at their discretion whether it be for medical bills, travel costs associated with the medical treatment, 

The Northern Lights Foundation was founded by Dr. Kenneth Larson in 2007 after experiencing a series of losses within his own family.  Since then, the foundation has distributed over 170 grants and over $350,000 to community families.  With the success in Duluth, we have expanded and created a branch in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota in fall of 2014. 


Duluth, MN
Twin Cities, MN

Since the expansion into the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, the separately operating branch has formed a partnership with Children's Minnesota, created an annual Holiday Event, and successfully doubled their revenue in their first two years of operation.  As the demand for support continues to grow for families in the Twin Cities, so does our need for your support.  To donate, click the donate tab at the top of the page. 

     - Gibney Awards (Board's Choice).  Fall 2016

     - Distributed over $300,000 to families

     - Distributed over 155 grants to Minnesota Families

     - Partnered with Essentia Health in Duluth

     - Partnered with Children's Minnesota in Twin Cities

"The Northern Lights Foundation was a huge blessing to our family when our son Michael was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Michael was born at 26 weeks and spent 12 weeks in the NICU before coming home. Before he was born, I had been on bed rest for two weeks and I was off another six weeks after he was born. My job doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, and we were unsure where the money to pay our bills and our mortgage was going to come from. Our hospital social worker suggested applying for a grant from the Northern Lights Foundation. We heard back from the Twin Cities branch letting us know that we were accepted, and with the grant we received, we were able to pay off our mortgage for that month. It took such a burden off of our shoulders!”

—Heather Irrthum

Easton and Isabella were born at 23 weeks (17 weeks early) to Rachael and Chris Erickson. Each child weighed just over one pound. Between feeding tubes, a tracheotomy, surgeries, chronic complications, and months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Rachael had to quit her job take care of the twins. 

"Our first child, Jacob started out being born full term and without complication. He developed abnormal neurological symptoms and seizures by four months of age.


Ten years later, he has multiple diagnoses that include a mitochondrial disease, cerebral palsy, cortisol visual impairment, spasticity, some hearing loss, autonomic nervous dysfunction, and is fed via a gastric tube for his feedings.


He cannot walk or talk, is wheelchair bound, but has the emotional ability to expressive his mood and what he wants in his own special way. On his good days, his innocent smile brings everyone around him such joy. As he grows, so does the difficulty in finding the proper equipment for him. Unfortunately, anything labeled for “special needs” kids can almost triple in price and insurance only covers certain items.


We were fortunate to find out about the Northern Lights Foundation through another parent who has a kiddo like our Jacob. We were so surprised to find out a few days before Christmas that the Northern Lights Foundation accepted our application. They were able to help us fund a new outdoor stroller and a bigger carseat that was specifically able to support him at his age and height. These pieces of equipment are essential in helping us to have as many “normal” adventures with our family on his medically healthy days and safely taking him to and from appointments.


We cannot thank Northern Lights Foundation for their gift and most sincerely genuine team. You truly have made a difference in ours and Jacob’s life."

-Lindsay Mastous

At 20 weeks pregnant, we found out our son, Cayden, was going to be born with a severe heart condition called HLHS- in short he'd have half a heart.  At 18 months he's had two open heart surgeries to rewire his blood flow and has spent a good portion of his life in the hospital.  He has at least one more open heart surgery in the upcoming years and at some point he will need a heart transplant.  


Cayden's journey along with his sweet disposition, endless love and hugs have opened us to a world of kindness.  From nurses, doctors, volunteers, family and friends all who have helped in a variety of ways to get us where we are today.  It's  taken a village to get Cayden to this point and Northern Lights is part of our village.  The finances they gave helped us provide Cayden with his first ever lake trip.  To let our minds escape the constant worries of his health and enjoy a few days on the lake and see Cayden's joy made for a wonderful unforgettable vacation.  


Thank you to the Northern Lights for the gift and for their amazing genuine team and for helping families and kids in their time of need. 


-John and Ashley







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