On Our Minds


May 7, 2018 — As a way to honor the incredible gift from
Craig H. Neilsen and ensure that the Foundation is fulfilling its commitment as a leader in the field, the staff recently initiated a look back at the Foundation’s funding. Evaluating the impact of our grantmaking is a priority, but given the methodologies for assessing impact are varied across our portfolios, Foundation staff used a variety of analyses in order to analyze how our support stimulates progress in the field.

Click here to view the Impact Snapshot.


Epidural stimulation leads to recovery of cardiovascular function in spinal-cord-injured

September 17, 2018

LOUISVILLE, KY (EurekAlert!) – For the first time since 2009, Stefanie Putnam is able to prepare – and eat – meals for herself, put the vest on her service dog, Kaz, and drive herself to activities with her horse without losing consciousness or gasping for breath. “My whole life has opened up for me again!” Putnam said. 

New therapy spurs nerve fibres to regrow through scar tissue and transmit signals after spinal cord injury in rats

August 31, 2018
Spinal News International

LONDON, UK (Spinal News International) – Neuroscientists at UCLA, Harvard University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have identified a three-pronged treatment that triggers axons to regrow after complete spinal cord injury in rodents. In addition to facilitating axon growth through scar tissue, the treatment enabled the transmission of signals across the damaged tissue, the Nature study reports. 

Nerve fibers regrow through scar tissue after spinal cord injury in rodents

August 29, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA (EurekAlert!) – Neuroscientist at UCLA, Harvard University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have identified a three-pronged treatment that triggers axons – the tiny fibers that link our nerve cells and enable them to communicate – to regrow after complete spinal cord injury in rodents. Not only did the axons grow through scars, they could also transmit signals across the damaged tissue. 

Creating community for individuals with physical disabilities through fitness, recreation & competitive sport

August 29, 2018
Business Management Daily

BEAVERTON, OR (Business Management Daily) – Interview of Adaptive Sports NW Executive Director Dave Hanna. Dave Hanna is Vice President, Strategic Communications, for Adaptive Sports Northwest. 

Jathan Janove: Tell us about your organization.

Dave Hanna: ASNW is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that focuses on recreation, fitness and competitive sport access to youth and adults with any form of physical disability. Last year we served 492 participants, most of whom are children with some form of physical disability. We provided over 680 hours of programming with the help of 160 volunteers! 


CRAB Regatta after rediscovering sailing

June 16, 2018
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE, MD (The Baltimore Sun) – Dani Schirmer sailed as a youngster while spending summers on Traverse Bay in Michigan. Schirmer wasn’t sure if she would ever sail again after suffering a spinal cord a decade ago. However, the northern Virginia native got back out on the water last year by participating in a three day clinic conducted by Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating. Schirmer attended the clinic, sponsored by grant from Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and Disable Sports USA, accompanied by her father – an avid sailor. 

A hydrogel restores breathing after spinal cord injury in animal models

June 11, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA (EurekAlert!) – One of the most severe outcomes of spinal cord injury from car accidents, sports impacts, or other neck trauma, is losing the ability to control breathing, with patients often requiring artificial ventilation for the rest of their lives. Researchers at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) recently tested a hydrogel that releases a nerve-protecting agent at the site of injury, restoring independent breathing in rat models. 

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