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Alum Non-Profit Helps Families Affected by Epilepsy

Name of business: Tyler Foundation, Inc. –


• Mission:  Provide financial support to families’ of children with epilepsy that are being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital and UMASS Medical Center.  We are dedicated to helping improve the quality of life for families affected by epilepsy. 


• Where:  Shirley, Massachusetts.


• Began in:  2006


• Initial Investment:  $0


• Founder:  Erik Plotkin ’97 and Heather Plotkin; email:


• Employees: 0 – All volunteer


How The Idea Began:  The Tyler Foundation was named after our son, Tyler, who has dramatically altered our perspective on what’s really important and what’s really difficult in life. It may be odd to hear that while our son has endured great challenges in his short life, that we actually feel quite lucky. Tyler’s outlook went from quite bleak to quite good and we can now enjoy our son in a similar manner to those with healthy kids. We feel that our perspective of how difficult it is for families to make it through these extended hospital stays both financially and emotionally, put us in a unique position to help other families that are not as fortunate as we were to have the wonderful family and friends and the financial security to make it through such a difficult time. Because of the love and support that we received, we are inspired to reach out and help those that are not as fortunate.


• Initial Preparation to Germinate Idea:  Filing the necessary paperwork with the State of Massachusetts and the Internal Revenue Service. 


• Favorite Thing about the Business:  We get to meet people that we can relate to and help them both emotionally and financially during a very difficult time.


• Worst Thing about the Business:  You are competing against thousands of non-profits and everyone has a cause that they like to support and our cause is a niche cause.  


• Biggest Challenge:  Getting our name out there and being able to raise money beyond our network of friends and extended family.


• Lesson Learned:  When you think you’ve advertised enough…advertise more!