Nurses Association Establishes Endowment at YSU Foundation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The District Three Ohio Nurses Association has established a $650,000 endowment at the Youngstown State University Foundation, creating four scholarships. 

“The District Three Nurses have culminated their continued support of the nursing profession with the creation of four perpetual scholarships for YSU students,” said Brian Nord, YSU Foundation senior development officer.

The District Three Nurses Mary Ellen Patton Undergraduate Scholarship and the District Three Nurses Mary Ellen Patton Graduate Scholarship will honor Youngstown nurse Mary Ellen Patton, who was an advocate for safe, effective, quality patient care by championing staff nurses and their roles in determining their own economic and general welfare within the health care work environment. 

In 1965, Patton led the effort to organize the nursing staff at Youngstown Hospital Association’s two hospitals, and when a contract could not be negotiated, the dispute led to a mass resignation of registered nurses. This led to the creation of the first Ohio Nurses Association Collective Bargaining Unit, which was the first RN Collective Bargaining Unit in the state and the second in the United States. Patton later became the executive director of District Three ONA.

The District Three Nurses Helen Popa Master’s in Nursing Scholarship is named after Helen Popa, who bequeathed the fund to District Three ONA in 2002 to advance the nursing profession and nurses who are seeking an advanced nursing degree. Popa held nursing education leadership positions locally throughout her career and was one of the first Youngstown nurses to hold a BSN degree. She was an honorary member of the Ohio Nurses Association and the American Nurse Association.

The Make a Difference Scholarship was created in 2023 by the District Three ONA to support the belief that nurses “make a difference” and that education is the foundation of nursing’s professional growth.

“The registered nurse members of District Three from Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties have generously volunteered their time, talents and resources over their 105-year history,” said Jeannie Mulichak, president of District Three ONA. “With the dissolving of our organization, our members are continuing this tradition of caring for our community by offering the bulk of our dues and earned financial resources to our area universities to educate more registered nurses who will continue this tradition of care and generosity.”

The District Three ONA was founded in 1918, with a mission of advancing professional nursing practice in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in the service of quality health care.  

Pictured at top: Members of the District Three Ohio Nurses Association celebrated the establishment of the $650,000 endowment Wednesday at YSU.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.