The Sunshine Memorial Foundation is a North Dakota non-profit that was established by Van and Dee Larson in memory and in honor of their daughter, Shannon “Sunshine” Larson, who passed away in 2007, at the age of 31, from heat stroke while she was hiking in Arizona. The purpose of the foundation is to raise money for charitable programs promoting Shannon’s attitude of helping others.
The Sunshine Memorial fund “initiative” was started in 2010 by Van and Dee Larson with the support of the Dakota Medical and Impact Foundation. As a result of the great support, generosity and enthusiasm from the community and donors, the Fund raised more than $30,000 at the first and second annual More Sunshine Walk and Fun Run, a.k.a Sunshine Fest, from which all proceeds were given to local charities. In 2012 a standalone non-profit organization was formed, The Sunshine Memorial Foundation. March 2012 to present, the foundation has engaged two independent contractors to fulfill the necessary tasks of establishing the organization. The organization has formed a Board of Directors, became a North Dakota non-profit corporation, and been granted tax exempt status as a 501(c)(s) public charity by the IRS. The Sunshine Memorial Foundation board voted in favor of sponsoring the foundation’s next project, the Sunshine Hospitality Home Project. Sunshine Hospitality Home Project is the planning, fundraising and building of a hospitality house in Grand Forks. The Foundation has formed a partnership with Altru Health System for the project.
The Sunshine Hospitality Home will be a place for patients and their families, affected by critical illnesses, diseases, and injuries, who must travel to fulfill their healthcare needs. A hospitality house provides individuals with a place to sleep, eat, keep their belongings, relax and find comfort. It will be open to all ages and situations and will welcome families from the Grand Forks area and surrounding region. A place of compassion, a place of peace.
The Sunshine Memorial Foundation also supports, and will continue to support, several projects related to hydration and hiker awareness educational programs. Hydration has always been, and will always be, central to our mission and the effect it has on our lives.
We support hydration initiatives such as the “Don’t Wait, Hydrate” program from Safe Kids Grand Forks. Dehydration is something that can be prevented. Education and awareness can help to save lives. The Foundation also plans to sponsor programs and provide trail head signs dedicated to help educate hikers about all safety measures. As we plan and dream, we hope you will be eager to learn more about our great Foundation and how you can help bring a little “Sunshine” to the lives of others.