A complete history of the Connecticut Nurses’ Foundation, as written by Tim Squires, RN

The Connecticut Nurses’ Foundation was incorporated in 1983 as a result of the efforts of Judith Sullivan, George Daneri, Kathleen Bruttomesso and Ruth Helfferich.  I am certain that other Connecticut nurses were involved in the process, but these four individual made up the committee to establish the foundation.  The first Board of Trustees of the Connecticut Nurses’ Foundation included the following nurse leaders:   Judith Sullivan, president;   Joan Quinn, trustee;  Myra Kerr, trustee;  Donna Haney, trustee; Kathleen Bruttomesso, secretary; Marilyn  Hellijas, finance officer;  Darlene Phillips, trustee;  Ruth Helfferich, ex officio .

The goals during the first few years focused on educational scholarships, research awards and the support of nursing scholarships, loans and the purchase of a building as a home for nursing organizations in Connecticut.  The focus of CNF has not changed significantly over the years.

In late 1988 the CNF Board of Trustees decided to explore ways of financing the purchase of a building.  It was time to maximize its tax-exempt status of the foundation.  I was on the boards at the time and remember the discussion from the CNA Board of Directors’ perspective.  It was a challenging endeavor, but also a successful one.  The closing on the Research Parkway condominium was held Feb. 17, 1989, with an open house on May 23, 1989.  This celebration recognized a major step forward for nursing as a player in Connecticut’s healthcare arena.  The CNA signed a 25-year lease agreement and became the first tenant.

The foundation also awarded its first two scholarships awards in 1988 in the amount of $100 each.  Between 1989 and 1992 the scholarship awards were for $200 each.  In 1993 the awards grew to two $500 scholarships , and by 1994 the first $1,000 research grant was awarded, with a total of $2,500 in awards.

In 1996 the CNF awarded its first Sheila Packard Research Award of $500.  By 1998 another milestone was achieved by awarding a total of $5,000 in scholarships and awards, including the first $1,000 Sheila Packard Research Award.  Since the first two $100 scholarships in 1988, the CNF has awarded thousands of dollars to Connecticut nurses and student nurses.  We can all be proud of this accomplishment.

Fund Raising has always been a priority for the CNF. It is always on the agenda!  The nurses and public trustees who have been involved in the work of the CNF and those who have made contributions deserve a big “Thank You”.  Raising money is NOT easy.  It takes a lot of work.

In 1991, the CNF held its first silent auction at the CNA convention.  The auction has been one of the mainstays for raising money for scholarships and grants.  The items donated to this event and the resulting contributions by nurses and others, have made it possible for CNF to continue its tradition of giving scholarships and research grants.  Foundation members have also held a variety of fund raising activities over the years, including the 1995 “tea cup” sale, the 1996 “No Bake” sale, and in 1999/2000 the “Million for the Millennium” campaign.  A great deal of time and energy has gone into these efforts, which have contributed valuable dollars to the foundation’s goals of awarding scholarships and grants to deserving nurses and students and promoting nursing as a career choice.

The Sheila Packard Fund was created initially by monies donated to honor Sheila Packard and has continued to be supported by an annual golf tournament.  The first tournament was held in 1992, and this event continues to be a success.  CNF is proud to manage the Packard Fund and encourages nurses who meet the qualifying criteria to apply for this research grant.  Over the years contributions have also been made to the foundation honoring other nurse leaders in Connecticut, including Judith Hriceniak, George Daneri and Barbara Schutt.

The operational structure of the foundation is determined by the bylaws and includes the Board of Trustees and various standing and ad-hoc committees.  The composition of the board includes trustees who must be CNA members, including one who is a member of the CAN Board of Directors and appointed by the CNA president.  Other trustees are members at large and public trustees at large.  The intent of having public trustees is to enhance the fund raising, development and financial capabilities of the foundation. The executive director of CNA is an ex officio member of the board.

There are currently four committees:  scholarship, development,  grants and building committees.

Each committee has a specific focus with goals that will enhance the operational abilities of the CNF.

In June 2002 a Memorandum of Understanding between the CNA and the CNF was signed by officers of both organizations.  The purpose of this memorandum is to identify the relationship between the two organizations and to delineate expectations, responsibilities, and operations processes that govern the ongoing work of the organizations.  It stipulates that the executive director of the CNA is also the executive director of the CNF.  The memorandum is modeled after the one used by the American Nurses Association and the American Nurses Foundation.

As the foundation continues to grow, we are committed to:
* Managing the scholarship/research funds in ways that promote the growth of the basic endowments supporting these funds.
* Attracting scholarship and grant monies from community and statewide groups that want to contribute to the future of nursing and health care services, especially during this time of decreasing supply and increasing demand for nurses and nursing services.
* Enhancing the relationship with the nursing organizations in the state to ensure that acquiring a building to house Connecticut’s nursing organizations becomes a reality.  Housing a variety of nursing organizations in one building has many benefits-some of which we have not even realized at this point.
* Expanding the fund raising activities, moving beyond its traditional donors and access contributions and donations from individuals and corporate sponsors that have a commitment to promoting nursing services and health care delivery in Connecticut.  It must also develop a system that allows for “planned giving” and other long-term gifts.
* Attracting and managing a variety of grant–funded healthcare and consumer focused projects that will enhance the well being of Connecticut citizens.
* Broadening the efforts and ability to preserve the heritage of nursing in Connecticut by forming coalitions with other groups and organizations interested in nursing history.

CNF is comprised of volunteers.  Volunteers who donate their time and energy to making a difference in Connecticut’s nursing community.    We welcome volunteers who:
* Have talents in the areas of fund raising, marketing, accounting and non-profit development.
* Work in the committee structure outlined previously and promote and enhance the objectives and goals identified by the Board of Trustees.
*Who have benefited from the services of nurses at some time in their lives and want to give something back, to promote the future of nursing.
* Who want to assist with fund raising efforts at convention
* Who can help develop CNF’s grant-seeking abilities and opportunities
* To participate in CNF’s efforts to ensure that there are nurses qualified to meet the needs of future healthcare consumers.


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