The District Three Ohio Nurses Association has established a $650,000 endowment at the Youngstown State University Foundation, resulting in the creation of four scholarships. The endowment was celebrated today, August 23, at the YSU Foundation.

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

The scholarships include the District Three Nurses Mary Ellen Patton Undergraduate Scholarship, the District Three Nurses Mary Ellen Patton Graduate Scholarship, the District Three Nurses Helen Popa Master’s in Nursing Scholarship, and District Three Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship.

The District Three Ohio Nurses Association was founded in 1918 and has been committed to serving its mission of advancing professional nursing practice in Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties in the service of quality health care.  

“The Registered Nurse members of District III from Mahoning, Columbiana, and Trumbull counties have generously volunteered their time, talents, and resources over their 105-year history. 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,” said Jeannie Mulichak RN, BSN, the last President of District III, ONA.

Two of the scholarships honor Youngstown nurse Mary Ellen Patton, RN, who was a nurse leader locally, in Ohio, and nationally. She 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 healthcare work environment. In 1965, she 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. The action taken resulted in the creation of the first Ohio Nurses Association Collective Bargaining Unit, which was the first RN Collective Bargaining Unit in the state of Ohio and the second RN Collective Bargaining Unit in the U.S. She later became the Executive Director of District Three.

Helen Popa BSN, RN bequeathed the fund to District Three Nurses Association in 2002 to advance the nursing profession and nurses, who are seeking an advanced (MSN) nursing degree.  Miss Popa held nursing education leadership positions locally throughout her career and was a member of the District Three Nurses Association.  She was one of the first Youngstown nurses to hold a BSN degree and 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 Nurses Association to support the belief that nurses “make a difference” and that education is the foundation of nursing’s professional growth.

The Youngstown State University Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that supports student scholarships, student development, and career opportunities.