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KNRF Overview




Founded in 1952, the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District Kiwanis Neuroscience Research Foundation (I-I District KNRF) is the I-I District’s Finest Project that receives funds from Kiwanis family clubs in the I-I District and provides grants to doctors conducting research to find cures or improvements to quality of life of children and patients afflicted with diseases of the nervous system.  The nine (9) world-class doctors that receive grants from I-I District KNRF are researching topics ranging from Autism and Alzheimer’s to Spina Bifida and Parkinson’s Disease.  Our accomplishments include:

  • Linking folic acid and preventing spina bifida

  • Treating children with hydrocephalus

  • Discovering the link between genetics & leukemia, birthing the field of genetic oncology

  • Discovering proteins that affect brain development

  • Creating a standard for measuring tremors


The I-I District KNRF is an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable medical research foundation – all of our activities must be focused on research.

An excellent example of the impact of I-I District KNRF is found in Mila’s story.  Mom Kylie discovered in the middle of her second pregnancy with Mila that Mila had spina bifida.  Kylie went to see Dr. Robin Bowman at the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, who is one of our researchers.  Dr. Bowman is investigating the effectiveness of laparoscopic surgery on fetuses to repair spina bifida BEFORE the child is born, and Mila was her first patient to undergo the laparoscopic surgery.  Watch a short video about this wonderful story.

Dr. Bowman continues to monitor not only Mila but all of the other spina bifida patients to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

KNRF Executive Director
Ken Whitmore
Alpine, Rockford Kiwanis

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