History

When Mrs. Jeanne C. Levey founded the National Parkinson Foundation prior to 1957,* little was known about Parkinson's disease. For 22 years, until her death at age 92, Jeanne Levey nurtured NPF and watched it grow, as more and more persons became involved with and benefited from the work of the Foundation. In just a few years the annual budget grew to a whopping $50,000. In 1979, the Board of Directors faced the challenge of replacing Mrs. Levey, and it turned to Nathan Slewett. Mr. Slewett, a successful businessman and attorney, had been a member of the Board for several years. At the age of 66, Mr. Slewett agreed to become President and, later, Chairman of the Board of NPF. Mr. Slewett served as Chairman Emeritus until his death in 2010.

Mr. Slewett succeeded at bringing in celebrities such as Bob Hope and Dick Clark to annual fundraising events. His accomplishments during his tenure are remarkable—because of his leadership, the National Parkinson Foundation has: funded more than $182 million in research and support services since 1982; established a scientific advisory board and a Centers of Excellence network housed at leading universities throughout the world; given many prominent researchers and scientists their start in the field through grant funding; and garnered international recognition.

Mr. Slewett also created the popular patient education series addressing important topics in Parkinson’s for patients, their caregivers and families. NPF was the first Parkinson’s foundation to recognize the need of socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority patients. The National Parkinson Care Network was established to meet these needs and NPF disseminates a brochure in 7 languages to community health care centers, “What You Need to Know About Parkinson’s Disease.”

View a short video of Nathan’s life and work at NPF.

NPF celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007. We remain committed to the people who must deal with this disease every day of their lives: people with Parkinson’s, their families and their caregivers.  With your help, NPF will find answers, change lives and beat Parkinson’s.


* The original incorporation of NPF was done sometime prior to 1957 by Order of a Circuit Court in Dade County, Florida, by means of a petition that was then permitted under Florida law. Regrettably, the record of that original incorporation was lost in a flood at the Dade County Courthouse, and no copies have been located. In 1957 NPF filed its Charter with the Secretary of State of Florida in Tallahassee and obtained a State charter. Because that is the only filing of which there remains an official record, NPF uses 1957 as its date of incorporation rather than the earlier, undetermined date.

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