Dawn Andersen, Star Prairie, Wis. is the 2016 recipient of the Judd & Barbara Jacobson Award. The annual award honors the pursuit or achievement of a business entrepreneurial endeavor by a person with a disability. Andersen received a $5,000 cash award from the
Courage Kenny Foundation to help advance her business, Nifty Noggins.
Andersen's business idea began from her own personal need to find head coverage and comfort under wigs as she underwent cancer treatment. The business started by her mother designing and making soft, comfortable and form-fitting wig liners. Andersen and her mother have since partnered to help better the lives of people going through similar challenges. Now, Nifty Noggins has a variety of products including the wig and head liners, reversible fleece hats and embellished hats and a variety of products in the design phase.
Andersen was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. Following many rounds of chemotherapy, she became debilitated and was not able to walk as a result of the tumors that had spread to her spinal column. Andersen continues chemotherapy today, and to walk, she uses forearm crutches or a walker, as well as braces for her feet.
As the 2016 Judd and Barbara Jacobson Award recipient, Andersen plans to try out new materials for in-design pilots, proceed with finding alternate production resources, market to other businesses, and increase inventory so that samples can be sent to targeted businesses. More information is available at niftynoggins.com.
About the Judd and Barbara Jacobson Award
Established in 1992, the Judd and Barbara Jacobson Award recognizes the pursuit or achievement of a business entrepreneurial endeavor by a person with a disability. Each year the award recipient receives a $5,000 cash award to advance their business endeavor.
The Award is named for Judd and Barbara Jacobson. Judd was a Minnesota business leader who became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident in 1943. The award exemplifies the business entrepreneurial spirit of Judd Jacobson who was a committed, creative and innovative spirit in both his vocational and avocational endeavors. Funds for the Award are made possible by a gift from the late Daniel J. Gainey, a lifelong friend of Judd and Barbara Jacobson.
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation
Institute, part of Allina Health, was created in 2013 by the merger of Courage
Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. The Institute
provides a continuum of rehabilitation services for people with short- and
long-term conditions, injuries and disabilities in communities throughout
Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute has
multiple locations, and numerous
programs and services. For more information visit