Humboldt Area Foundation Invests $300,000 in North Coast Nursing Program

Sep, 2019

September 28, 2019—

Humboldt State University’s RN-to-BSN Nursing program received another boost today — a $300,000 grant from the Orvamae Emmerson Endowment Fund of the Humboldt Area Foundation.

Senator Mike McGuire, Humboldt State University (HSU) President Tom Jackson and College of the Redwoods (CR) President Keith Flamer and other officials were on hand as the grant was announced today at an event at the Humboldt Area Foundation in Bayside.

“We believe in the ability of Humboldt County’s residents to improve and strengthen their healthcare system by educating and uplifting future leaders,” says Bryna Lipper, chief executive officer of the Humboldt Area Foundation. “The RN-to-BSN program is a vital link in our local educational infrastructure, one that we’re proud to support along with our funding partners. We are excited about a future where more nursing students are able to put down roots and stay in the community they serve while continuing their education.”

The grant will support HSU’s highly-anticipated nursing program, which is designed to address a severe local shortage of nurses and to meet the specific needs of the region’s rural communities.

“There is a severe nursing shortage on the North Coast and it’s impacting the health and well-being of patients and increasing the cost of delivering healthcare,” said Senator Mike McGuire, who has helped spearhead the launch of the North Coast Nursing Program with Humboldt State and the College of the Redwoods. “We are grateful for the incredible generosity of the Humboldt Area Foundation. They have stepped up big time and are active partners in the launch of this life-changing program, which will educate the next generation of nurses throughout the greater North Coast Region.”

The program allows nurses graduating from CR and those working with associate’s degrees to continue their education without having to leave the community. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, nurses can meet new hiring education requirements. They can also prepare for leadership or advanced clinical training such as nurse practitioner roles.

The program will emphasize cultural humility, health disparities, rural needs, and behavioral health, which includes substance use disorder, mental health, and historical trauma. On-site training will take place at health care facilities throughout the region.

“We’re so fortunate to have the support of Humboldt Area Foundation and other partners,” said Humboldt President Tom Jackson, Jr. “Thanks to their generosity, nurses will be able to advance their education and ultimately improve lives in our region as caregivers, leaders, and healthcare advocates.”

The Orvamae Emmerson Endowment Fund grant comes on the heels of an initial $2 million grant from St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County, which was announced in March.

HSU also recently hired Kimberly Perris as the new director to lead the program, which is slated to enroll its first class of up to 25 students in Fall 2020.

For more information about supporting the new Nursing program, visit or contact HSU’s Nursing program Director Kimberly Perris at or 707.826.4533.