The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation (MOFF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that serves the ALS community with our grant making capabilities. Our funding is annually distributed to national ALS research projects and ALS patient care outreach programs. Click on our Research and Patient Care pages to learn more. 

Our Founders

Larry Fernandez and his wife, Martha Olson-Fernandez, established The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation in 2012 in order to find a cure for ALS. Martha was diagnosed with bulbar-onset ALS in 2011. Like most ALS patients, Martha knew she was not going to survive, but she sure as hell didn’t want more people to experience what she was going through. She didn’t want more children to lose their mothers, or parents to lose their children. Martha passed away on December 17, 2012. She was 49 years old. Martha will always be remembered in our hearts as an incredibly strong, gracious woman who loved hiking, motivating others, and teaching life lessons beyond her years.

The first $100,000.00 MOFF raised was given to the Forbes Norris ALS Clinic in San Francisco, California. Martha had participated in a clinical trial for the ALS treatment, NP001, at the Forbes Norris Center in 2011 and 2012. Today, Martha’s desire to contribute to science is still alive. MOFF gives annual grants to ALS research labs across the United States. MOFF also contributes annual grants to fund ALS patient care on the Central Coast of California. Your support is needed to keep this momentum going.

Our Inspiration: Martha

Our Vision: To live in a world where people do not have to die from ALS

Your Role: Advocate, Participate, or Donate

                                                                      – Larry, Andrea and Natalie Fernandez

Martha Olson-Fernandez Memorial Bench

On March 12, 2015, a memorial bench in honor of Martha Olson-Fernandez was installed on Felsman Loop in San Luis Obispo, CA. Martha was an avid hiker and a strong advocate of both personal health and living an active lifestyle. Her energetic spirit and self-motivation inspired many people in her lifetime. The annual MOFF Hike x Brunch event honors Martha’s hiking legacy.

Martha’s Memorial Bench is located on Felsman Loop which can be accessed by the trailhead near 787 Patricia Drive in San Luis Obispo, CA

Our team

Larry Fernandez

Director, CEO

Larry is currently an executive for a private vegetable seed company. He has been an entrepreneur in the seed industry for 35 years. He is the proud father of Andrea and Natalie and enjoys watching them pursue their education and practical learning through their job experiences. When time allows, Larry enjoys hunting and fishing. His desire is to find a cure for ALS.

Cheri Humphrey

Board Member

Cheri Humphrey joined the MOFF board of directors in August of 2019. Cheri grew up in Dixon, CA and moved to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly. It was there that she met her husband Jim. They now reside in SLO and have a daughter, Victoria and a son, Riley. Cheri is instrumental in the operations of the iconic Madonna Inn, which she has been the manager of since 1989. Cheri and her family have been ALS advocates since the inception of MOFF. We are honored to have Cheri as part of the board to guide community outreach and continue raising awareness of ALS prevalence on the Central Coast.  

Andrea Fernandez

Director, Secretary

Andrea is currently working for Plaid in San Francisco, California. She earned her B.S. at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Andrea chose to live abroad and teach in Spain for a year prior to moving to San Francisco. She is currently enjoying the NorCal city lifestyle and looking forward to all that is to come.

Ian Parkinson

Board Member

We are very excited to welcome San Luis Obispo County Sheriff, Ian Parkinson, into his second two-year term as a member of the Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation Board. Ian has served as Sheriff since 2011 and is well known in the community for this tireless efforts to improve the law enforcement processes of SLO County. Ian knew Martha Olson-Fernandez and has been a supporter of MOFF since 2012. We are very grateful for his commitment to help us carry out our mission to fight ALS through patient care and research. We look forward to utilizing his strategic insights and community outreach to further the MOFF mission. 

Natalie Fernandez

Program Director, CFO

Natalie is the associate project manager of clinical development at Viracta Therapeutics in San Diego, CA. In her spare time, she works as the program director and CFO of MOFF. Well connected within the ALS community, Natalie runs the ALS Research Paper Review Initiative (ALS RPR) and is a member of the ALS Association National Chapter Patient and Caregiver Advisory Committee (PCAC). Natalie completed her MBA degree in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business at The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in June 2019. She holds an undergraduate degree from NYU in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and Spanish. 

John Ronca

Board Member 
John joined the MOFF board of directors in April 2020. Bio coming soon.