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Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Epilepsy, Health

Mission: The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota’s mission is to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; and will prevent, control and cure epilepsy through services, education, advocacy and research.

Results: In 2009 The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota served 185,000 people through programs that educated, connect and empower people affected by seizures; 19,654 more people than in 2008, an 11 percent increase.

Target demographics: Anyone affected by seizures ie. someone with epilepsy, parents of children with epilepsy, family members, loved ones & caregivers.

Geographic areas served: Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota

Programs: Programs that Educate: Seizure Smart Communities, Seizure Recognition & Response Training, Conferences & Workshops, Seizure Smart Schools. Programs that Connect: Shinning Star Program, Get Connected Initiative, Information and Referral Services, Youth Advisory Council. Programs that Empower: Camp Oz, Creative Arts, Advocacy, Stroll for Epilepsy.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 1

My son has epilepsy and I am really disappointed in the foundations decision to release 60,000 balloons into the enviroment.... "eco" friendly balloons are not eco friendly they kill fish, birds and turtles...stop the balloom release return the balloons to kansas. and why would you use a send money outr of state?????
Dear Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota,
We are writing today in hopes the Epilepsy Foundation Minnesota will reconsider their plans to release 60,000 balloons. With many alternatives available, it is easy to offer a memorable event that will not cause litter or harm other lives. We support the foundation's important work to 'Rise Above Seizures', however, this event could have disastrous effects .

We were alerted of the planned balloon release by many concerned locals. Some are from your town, others from neighboring states that will no doubt feel the wrath of this event. Contrary to what your balloon supplier might have told you, latex balloons will not "eliminate your ecological impact". We see this organization has taken careful consideration to manipulate the public into thinking there is such thing as an "ecologically-friendly balloon release". It is highly irresponsible to put facts aside & recite balloon industry propaganda to justify this mass littering event. Obviously Epilepsy Foundation Minnesota is quite aware of the controversy over balloon releases, proven by the great lengths it has taken to suggest this is an "eco-friendly" balloon release. First, you must understand latex balloons, may be made using sap of the Hevea tree (which itself alone is biodegradable), but have added chemicals, dyes, & plasticizers. They are not 100% coagulated sap, they are not 100% biodegradable. My son had seizures and I am very active in our local chapter meetings, they plan to release 60,000 balloons to honor life...which will kill animals...I am NOT happy that all the work I have done for the foundation was for people who don't really care about life. Latex balloons are nothing like a natural oak leaf, this analogy was composed by a man in the balloon industry. Oak leaves are a natural substance found in the environment & add nutrients to soil as they decompose. Latex balloons are not natural in the environment & can take several years to begin to break down, only adding toxic substances into the environment. Omitting strings from a released balloon does not make them any safer as entanglement is not the only risk. All released balloons, including those falsely-marketed as "biodegradable", return to Earth as deadly litter. These latex balloons have been found polluting the most pristine & remote areas, far from any other human disturbance. While some may reach a height that will cause them to shatter, this allows them to fall as litter that resembles food to many animals. Not all balloons reach this height, remaining intact, also falling as litter. Balloons have been documented traveling tens of thousands of miles. Balloons released in Minnesota can end up polluting nearby, or the Great Lakes Region, or even the Atlantic ocean. Animals, both marine & terrestrial, wild & domestic have been killed by consuming balloons. From cows to sea turtles, it only takes one balloon to kill, & it is a slow agonizing death as the digestive tract is blocked. Is this a risk Epilepsy Foundation Minnesota is willing to take to recognize people with epilepsy?

It is also important to consider the current Helium issue. Scientists warn this finite resource should be conserved for more important applications. Helium is essential for countless scientific & medical applications, including ventilators, MRIs and many other life-saving procedures. Even procedures that may help those with epilepsy. Currently, the nation's supply can not keep up with demand.

We are hopeful once all is taken into consideration, Epilepsy Foundation Minnesota will chose not to move forward with releasing balloons. Please also consider, public opinion of balloons is changing, they are viewed as wasteful, single-use items that quickly become trash. People are more aware of sustainable practices & lessening their impact on the planet. Most people would not litter, yet releasing balloons is simply littering, as all released balloons will only become litter where they land no matter what material they are made of. Please do not toss 60,000 pieces of litter into the environment.

Perhaps if more were aware of the wastefulness of balloon releases & the serious issue of balloon pollution - no balloon would ever be released on purpose. Especially not in an attempt to honor others.

It is difficult to understand how any Department of Natural Resources or Pollution Control Agency would approve of such a mass littering event as this.

Many alternatives to balloons are available. Perhaps create a garden that can be added to every year. Bulbs could be planted so as they bloom to spell names or create designs. A ceremonial tree could be planted. A mass bubble blowing is always beautiful. Something that will create a positive impact could be more dignified.

Please view our website & Facebook page or the attached fact sheet for more information & alternatives.
Thank you for your consideration, we look forward to a prompt reply.

Danielle & Chelsea

Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota - 1.800.779.0777
Twitter @EpilepsyMN


Executive Director
Vicki Kopplin

Communications & Data Coordinator
Maggie Smith

Melissa Becker
Marketing & Communications Director

Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources Central Office
(888) 646-6367
twitter @mndnr

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Air Quality Complaints - balloon release - 651-296-7300
twitter @MnPCA


Rating: 5

In 2003 I suffered a aseizure at age 30. One year later I had another and was diganosed with Epilepsy. Around this time my little girl was having 50 to 100 seizures per day. I knew I wanted to be her voice. So I went to EFMN to get more info and to give back. Thru EFMN's many programs like the Stroll for Epilepsy or Family Fun events we have met people who have gone thru the same thing. And being a Volunteer Educator has allowed me to give back. It has allowed me to break the myths about epilpesy and teach other on the proper techinques about seizure responses. More importantly EFMN has allowed me to be a voice for my little girl.



Rating: 4

EFM adheres to an excellent mission statement, is well managed, and has excellent motivated staff. Their programs are well designed and implemented. It has been an honor to serve and participate with EFM.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Epilepsy Foundation is a wonderful organization which helps many of my patients on a daily basis. I am a neurologist and specialize in the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders. When patients are diagnosed, getting accurate and useful information is absolutely necessary. The Epilepsy Foundation provides free service to our community, putting family and individuals who are affected by epilepsy in contact with one another so they know they are not alone. They provide numerous programs including Camp Oz a summer camp staffed by nurses and physicians for children with epilepsy. They also have seizure smart programs that go into schools, work places, daycares, ect... to education care providers about epilepsy, what to do in the event of seizure, and get a seizure plan in place for the individuals they serve. They support advocacy for epilepsy patients including A Day At The Capital where volunteers meet with their state representatives and discuss issues affecting epilepsy patients in our communities. These are just a few examples of how the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota is improving lives of thousands of Minnesotans on a daily basis.