A Program of the Medtronic Foundation

The Inspiration

Earl Bakken’s legacy and the inspiration behind the Bakken Invitation Award.

About Earl Bakken and Medtronic

Earl Bakken

“What Are You Doing With Your Extra Life?”

- An invitation from Earl Bakken, co-founder, Medtronic, Inc.

Inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, patient, dreamer. Throughout his life, Earl Bakken has used his talents to help others.

He may be best known for developing the first external, battery-powered, transistorized, wearable pacemaker, an invention that has saved millions of lives and shaped the modern medical device industry.

He co-founded Medtronic, which today is the world’s leading medical device company. Every three seconds, a Medtronic product or therapy helps someone, somewhere in the world.

Earl also benefits from medical technology. He openly acknowledges that his pacemaker, insulin pump and heart stents have given him 10+ years of “extra life,” time he has put to good use, with heavy community involvement in both Minnesota and Hawaii.

Earl knows the gift of extra life is powerful. And while each person chooses how to use their extra time, it is his enduring hope they consider how to give back… in big or small ways.

That’s the Bakken Invitation Award.

Legacy of Philanthropy

Earl Bakken Donation Earl Bakken Support

In the 20 plus years since he officially “retired” from Medtronic, Earl hasn’t slowed down. He continues to give back to society and his community with new ideas, inspirations, projects and programs.

Here are a few of the organizations that Earl has helped foster and grow:

  • THE BAKKEN LIBRARY & MUSEUM
  • PAVEK MUSEUM OF BROADCASTING
  • NORTH HAWAII COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
  • FIVE MOUNTAINS HAWAII
  • FRIENDS OF THE FUTURE
  • THE KOHALA CENTER
  • NA KALAI WAA MOKU O HAWAII
  • IMILOA: ASTRONOMY CENTER OF HAWAII