About Us

Our Story

Vision, Mission and Values

Inspired by our Founder, Craig H. Neilsen, the Foundation is committed to changing the world for those living with spinal cord injuries and we are driven by our Vision, Mission and Values. Our vision is a statement of what is possible, the picture of the future we want to create. Our mission speaks to our primary purpose. And our values provide the lens for decision-making and define how we will achieve our mission.

Our Vision

Individuals with spinal cord injuries, and those who care for them, live full and productive lives as active participants in their communities.

Our Mission

Craig H. Neilsen Foundation’s funding is dedicated to supporting both programs and scientific research to improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injury.

Our Values Honor Our Founder

Craig Neilsen overcame barriers during his lifetime and empowered others to do the same. His ability to inspire those around him energizes the Foundation as we strive to transform the field today and create solutions for tomorrow. Our values build on Craig’s resiliency and drive for greatness and are foundational to who we are and aspire to be.


We lead by example to seek out visionary ideas and improve life after spinal cord injury.


We are committed to breaking down barriers, expanding opportunities, and promoting equity to help people of every background and ability reach their potential.


We support research conducted with rigor and transparency and transformative programs that show significant potential to benefit those affected by spinal cord injury.


We seek bold initiatives to catalyze progress and encourage innovative thinking that pushes boundaries.


We leverage collective knowledge and encourage sharing of resources and expertise to foster progress and embrace new ideas.

A Legacy – 20 Years in the Making

The expansion of the Foundation’s programming over two decades was driven by a focus on our mission, vision, and values.  An inherent ability to be flexible has fostered a culture of creativity and collaboration.  The ongoing process of evolution is guided by a desire to realize our mission and provides opportunities for growth that embody the spirit of Craig H. Neilsen.

Timeline showcasing milestones throughout the Foundation's history.

In 2003, the general purpose of the Foundation’s grantmaking was to assist organizations conducting research and to provide support to nonprofits  assisting individuals with SCI.  Jumping ahead 20 years to the end of 2022, the Foundation has awarded over 2,300 grants, with a total financial contribution of approximately $359 million in support of those goals.

The graphic above showcases milestones through the Foundation’s history.

About Our Founder

Craig H. Neilsen was an American entrepreneur known for his attention to detail, uncompromising demand for excellence, and an ability to inspire those around him. In his personal life, he became known for his generosity, leading by example with his charitable giving. In 1985, a collision with a semi-truck left Craig with a severe spinal cord injury (SCI). His life experience following his injury motivated him to improve the quality of life for other people living with SCI. He established the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation in 2002 to pursue his philanthropic goals, with the vision of advancing spinal cord injury research and programs.

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