"Catch the Dream"
             Life Without Diabetes!

About Us

The Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation was founded by the Lions Clubs of Minnesota and their dedicated volunteer members who are strongly committed to improving the lives of people with diabetes by raising funds and collaborating with partners to do diabetes research, diabetes education, and sponsor preventative health activities that provide a caring and valued community service while helping to find a cure for diabetes.

PDG Dr. Ray Lindeman

In my 66 years in Lion's service there have been numerous enjoyable challenges.  One of the greatest was my duties as Diabetes Chairman of MD5M from 1997 through 2000.   While vacationing in Arizona I had access to a Native American shop with numerous designs of dream catchers to create our Dream Catcher award.  Our contributions to diabetes research have brought us wonderfully close to a cure for Type 1 diabetes.  Newer medications and lifestyle changes for Type 2 diabetics have greatly improved health in these patients.  I am truly GRATEFUL for having had the privilege of working with Lions Diabetes and proving our motto --WE SERVE.


Long recognized by Lions that Diabetes was going to be an enduring problem, each District in MD5M initially handled its own initiatives.  There were two representatives from each Minnesota District and a MD5M Diabetes Chair, with the sole responsibility to have a couple of meetings a year to review district activities and inform the district chairs about advances in Diabetes research and education.


In 1987 PCC Dick Risley and the Council of Governors approved a partnership with the International Diabetes Center (IDC).   Today, as part of the HealthPartners Institute, the IDC at Park Nicollet is still a center for diabetes care, research and education located in Minneapolis. The center provides clinical, motivational and educational services for people with diabetes. However, there was not the multiple-district buy-in into the partnership with only some districts contributing.


The Council of Governors decided that there needed to be strategic changes in the MD5M Diabetes program. At the 2006 Multiple Convention PCC Bill Bard was asked to take over the Chairmanship of the MD5M Diabetes Committee.


By 2007 the Council of Governors approved the concept of establishing a MD5M Lions Diabetes Foundation.   Older and well established, the Minnesota Lions Hearing Foundation and the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank provided the organizing basis and operating documents for the Diabetes Foundation.   The new Diabetes Foundation Constitution and By-Laws were quickly drafted and brought to the Lions MD5M Convention in May of 2008.   The Foundation was approved by the delegates and thus began the Minnesota MD5M Lions Diabetes Foundation, Inc.


The Foundation was made up of two trustees from each Minnesota District appointed by their District Governor. On August 8, 2008, the fledgling Foundation had its first meeting in St. Cloud at Michael’s Restaurant and elected their first officers, formed Committees and the Trustees began their tasks.  The original Executive Board consisted of


President – Tom Shinnick

Vice President – Wally Sapp

Secretary – Gary Hahn

Treasurer – Marty Athmann

Executive Secretary – Bill Bard


Progress was swift in 2009. Though already a Foundation, the 501c3 was approved to take advantage of being able to accept charitable gambling funds among other benefits. Also,

Lions Clubs International recognized the Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation and authorized the use of Lions International on the lapel pin. That same year, MLDF and the Park Nicollet Foundation worked an arrangement to wind down the collaboration.  MLDF received $43,600.97 on arrangement.  It is recognized that the first donation made to MLDF, Inc. was made by PDG Dan Snobl in honor of his mother.


MLDF is forever grateful for their champions MD5M Council Chairman Bob Jechorek, Liaison Governor Ken Kolding and MD5M Constitution & By-Laws Chairman Wayne Swanson; their support paved the way for the formation of the Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation, Inc.


Over 15 years, the Foundation has donated over $2,150,000  from what it has received in financial contributions.  We continue to fund research activities to cure Diabetes, provide education and sponsor preventative health activities.  We need your continued support!

A Very Short History of the Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation