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Summa nurses’ professional development helped by Women’s Board grant

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of Promise magazine.

A long, storied history of generosity continued this spring when the Women’s Board of Summa Health awarded a $30,000 grant for nursing education. The annual grant for tuition fees supports Summa Health nurses who are pursuing Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. Eleven nurses are currently benefiting from the program and, in total, 102 registered nurses have graduated with BSN degrees since 2014.

Summa Health had made a commitment, based on Institute of Medicine goals, to have a workforce of at least 80 percent of registered nurses also holding bachelor’s degrees. The annual funding from the Women’s Board contributed mightily to helping Summa achieve this goal in 2019.

“We are so grateful to the Women’s Board for their generosity in supporting our nurses,” said Christine Benson, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, director of Professional Practice and the Magnet program at Summa. “It’s really incredible.”

Barb Jones, president of the Women’s Board, noted that some of the board’s typical fundraising activities have been hampered due to the pandemic, but they were committed to supporting the Summa nurses again. “There is great satisfaction in helping others,” said Barb. “We certainly take pride in funding different areas of the health system.” 

The Women’s Board, in fact, awarded $10,000 to Summa for help with the COVID-19 Response Fund. This gift was subsequently matched by The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. In total, the Women’s Board has awarded $7.5 million throughout its history.

Rebecca Davis, BSN, RN, Emergency Department nurse at Akron Campus, noted that the Women’s Board support allowed her to “focus on my studies and not have to worry about how much it would cost me to further my education. It took a lot of stress off my shoulders.”

Diane Greer, BSN, RNC-OB, added, “I am extremely grateful for the financial assistance I received…Frankly, after completing my basic nursing education 36 years earlier, going back to school was daunting. However, the RN to BSN loan program removed the financial barriers and helped make it possible. The Women’s Board generosity promotes the professional development of nurses which ultimately impacts and improves the health of the people we serve.”

For more information about the Women’s Board of Summa Health, contact Shelley Green at 330.375.6891 or


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