In honor of their extensive support and contributions to the advancement of nursing, Frontier Nursing University awarded honorary doctorate degrees to philanthropists Barbara and Donald Jonas. The ceremony took place on Thursday, July 27, at 11:30 a.m. in Greenwich, Conn.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) Board Chair Dr. Michael Carter and FNU President Dr. Susan Stone presented the Jonas’ with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
In 2005, the Jonas’, who are noted art collectors, auctioned off 15 of their abstract expressionist artworks. That generated millions in seed money to create their own masterpiece: The Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund.
As they sought the appropriate beneficiaries, Barbara, a psychiatric social worker, and Donald, a leader in retail, were drawn to the nursing shortage and its overall impact on the healthcare of individuals and communities. In early 2006, they established the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, a first-of-its-kind philanthropic program dedicated to advancing the nursing profession. The Center’s focus is to improve healthcare through nursing leadership, scholarship and research.
The impact of the Center has grown exponentially. In 2016, the Jonas Center celebrated its 10th anniversary reaching a milestone of 1,000 Jonas Scholars supported by the Center. 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 50 states.
“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,” Donald Jonas said during the anniversary.