Causes We Support

The Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation has designated six causes to support, based off of those close to the North Star team. Read below for details on each cause and our efforts to help. For more information on any of the causes listed below or to find out how to get involved, visit the websites listed.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimers-Ribbon.jpgAlzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all dementia cases.2 Causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior, symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease develop slowly over time and occur most often in individuals age 65 and older. There is no known cure, however, treatments are available for symptoms and research for ways to treat, halt and altogether prevent the disease is underway around the world.

Below are efforts by two North Star advisors to support awareness and research for a cure:

Stop Alzheimer’s Now

Shaun McDuffee, Senior Vice President at North Star, founded the non-profit organization Stop Alzheimer’s Now in 2013 with his wife, Kristin. After witnessing his mother, father and grandmothers suffer from the disease, Shaun and a small group of fellow North Star financial advisors set out with a goal of walking across all 50 states to raise both awareness and funds for a cure. SAN has made remarkable progress on their goal to walk a total of 3,652 miles and has donated $100,000 to both the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center and to the University of Florida College of Medicine. To keep up to date with their progress and or to get involved, visit their website at www.stopalzheimersnow.org.

Annual Liz Vander Bloemen Charitable Golf Event

Brett Vander Bloemen, Senior Partner at North Star, first hosted the Liz Vander Bloemen Charitable Golf Event in 2014 in honor of his mother, Liz, who battled the disease for 6 years before passing away in September 2014. Partnering with the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation, Brett has held the event every July since and to date has donated $400,000 to Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. 

Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer's Research 

Temple University announced both the creation of the Alzheimer's Center at Temple and the establishment of the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer's Research in early 2018, due to a gift from Phil Richards and the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation. Phil, Executive Chairman and Founder at North Star, is a Temple University trustee and an alumnus of Temple's Fox School of Business. The Chair's first occupant is Domenico Praticò, MD, Professor of Pharmacology, Microbiology and Immunology and current leader of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Program. The Alzheimer's Center at Temple will integrate research, training, clinical and educational activities in order to study Alzheimer's disease. Click here to read about recent developments made by the Scott Richards North Star Foundation Chair for Alzheimer's Research.

North Star has contributed a total of over $1.4 million towards research centers and foundations searching for a cure for the disease. For more on Alzheimer’s disease, visit http://www.alz.org/

Ataxia Foundation

Ataxia-Ribbon.jpgAtaxia refers to the loss of coordination during voluntary movement. Those affected by ataxia may experience difficulty in normal functions including moving their limbs, walking or speaking.1 While there is no known cure for ataxia, there are several foundations and research centers established to raise awareness and search for a cure, while supporting those suffering. North Star has been involved with the National Ataxia Foundation and has contributed over $400,000 total to helping find a cure for ataxia. For more on ataxia, visit www.ataxia.org

Bikes for Kids

Bikes-for-Kids.jpgBikes for Kids is a non-profit organization established by the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation in 2004. Each December, Bikes for Kids hosts a holiday party in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities for children ages 6 – 11 to attend. The event features a night of face painting, music, appearances by sports mascots and superheroes, and much more. At the end of the event, the children are surprised with a brand-new bicycle and helmet to take home. To date, Bikes for Kids has provided nearly 4,000 bikes and helmets to disadvantaged children in the Twin Cities area. North Star has contributed over $350,000 to Bikes for Kids and individuals from North Star have volunteered more than 10,000 hours in helping coordinate, set up and help at the event each year.

Breast Cancer

Breast-Cancer-Ribbon.jpgAs the most common cancer among women in the United States, one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer within her lifetime.3 Awareness walks or runs are common methods to promote awareness for the disease while supporting those suffering and their families. While there are 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. and 6 million in the world, research centers are still searching for a cure for the disease.3 North Star has contributed over $120,000 to the cause. For more on the disease, visit ww5.komen.org/

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic-Fibrosis-Ribbon.jpg30,000 people in the United States currently suffer from cystic fibrosis, a degenerative disease that causes frequent lung infections and affects one’s ability to breathe.4 The disease is genetic and while breakthrough treatments have performed wonders for those suffering, the median predicted survivor age is at around 40-years-old.4 North Star has contributed over the years to research centers and foundations striving for progress both in treatments and in preventing the disease. To date, North Star has contributed over $180,000, namely to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For more on the disease, visit www.cff.org


Myelofibrosis-Ribbon.jpgMyelofibrosis, a type of chronic leukemia, is a rare bone marrow cancer in which the bone marrow cells producing the body’s blood cells both develop and function abnormally.5 Affecting both men and women, the disease can occur at any age but is most commonly found in those over 60 years of age. Without enough healthy blood cells, symptoms include anemia, weakness, bone pain, fatigue and an increased risk of infection or bleeding. Myelofibrosis is rare—about 1.5 out of every 100,000 people suffer from it in the United States each year.5 North Star has contributed over $150,000 to raise awareness and funds for a cure for the disease. For more on myelofibrosis, visit www.lls.org

Learn more about the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation here.


1“Frequently Asked Questions About Ataxia.” National Ataxia Foundation. Published June 2016.
2 “Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease: What It is and What You Can Do.” Alzheimer’s Association. Revised October 2016.
3 “Breast Cancer Fact Sheet.” Susan G. Komen. Published February 2017.
4 “About Cystic Fibrosis.” Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Accessed April 28, 2017.
5 “Myelofibrosis Facts.” The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Revise November 2015.

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