Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare Celebrates Ten Years and 1,000 Scholars

Center emphasizes renewed commitment to educate nursing’s next generation

New York, February 04, 2016 – As the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare marks ten years, it celebrates its founders’ vision and its progress in preparing 1,000 nurse faculty and clinical leaders. Yet, even amid positive markers in a milestone year, Jonas Center leadership reiterates that efforts to advance all aspects of the nursing profession must continue.

The U.S. faces a new and dire nursing shortage: nearly two-thirds of registered nurses over age 54 say they are considering retirement[i], while tens of thousands of applicants continue to be turned away by nursing schools that lack appropriate faculty[ii].

“Over the last decade, we have brought together numerous foundations and organizations with a shared vision to support our nation’s nurses, and the results of those collaborations have far exceeded what we ever thought we could achieve,” said Donald Jonas, who co-founded the Center with Barbara Jonas, his wife. “But the more we accomplish, the better we understand how much more must be done, so we must work together now to ensure we have enough nurses for tomorrow.”

As the nation’s leading philanthropic funder of graduate nursing education, the Jonas Center has grown from a New York City-focused funder to a national organization in partnership with leading schools of nursing in all 50 states. The Jonas Center’s commitment to graduate nursing has already reached nearly $25 million – in grants to Jonas Scholars, nurses pursuing PhDs and DNPs. Its recent announcement of an $11.1 million, 10-year grant to Columbia University represents an unprecedented philanthropic commitment to nursing education through 2028. Though housed at Columbia beginning in 2017, the Jonas Center will continue its relationships with nursing schools across the U.S.

“The long-term impact of Donald and Barbara Jonas’s role in helping top nurses attain doctoral degrees is invaluable and, to an extent, incalculable, as these nurses will shape the healthcare workforce and patient care of the future,” said Darlene Curley, MS, RN, executive director of the Jonas Center. “For ten years the Jonases’ vision of a world in which nursing has the respect and influence it deserves has remained unchanged. The mission of the Jonas Center, however, has evolved along with the needs of the profession. But as we face shortfalls at both ends of the nursing pipeline, increased, focused and sustained collaboration across multiple sectors is the best way to keep the nursing profession a top priority.”

Recognizing early on that a dearth of nursing faculty was at the root of the more visible clinical nurse shortage, the Jonases stepped in with innovation – and funding. To date, its $25 million investment has been leveraged by almost $10 million from 40 funding partners, including the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

Among the 1,000 Jonas Scholars supported by the Center’s flagship initiatives, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, a new cohort of 448 will begin this fall and will be supported through 2018. These Scholars will study at 140 universities in all 50 states, focusing on such critical health priorities as: veterans’ healthcare; cancer; cardiac disease; diabetes; environmental toxins and public health; hospice & palliative care; mental health; aging; autism; pediatrics; low vision/blindness; and respiratory disease, among others.

“Every day we are struck by the far-reaching impact of what we thought ten years ago was a small idea,” said Barbara Jonas. “Our Scholars and partners are part of our family and we are proud of what they’ve achieved to date and the heights we know they will reach in decades to come.”

The Jonases will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Center, which was created with funds generated from an auction of some of the couple’s noted art collection, on March 18th at a fundraiser gala in New York.


About the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, established in 2006 by Barbara and Donald Jonas, is dedicated to improving healthcare by advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and innovation. Its two main programs are the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program, which aims to address the dire shortage of nursing faculty by preparing nurses with doctoral degrees to step into this critical role, and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, which seeks to improve the health of veterans by supporting doctoral-level nursing candidates committed to advancing veterans’ healthcare. In 2016, the Jonas Center will achieve its goal to prepare 1,000 nurse faculty and clinical leaders nationwide.

[i] AMN Healthcare, 2015 Survey of Registered Nurses: Viewpoints on Retirement, Education and Emerging Roles
[ii] American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2014-2015 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing