The mission statement of the Foundation is “To raise funds and steward sound investments to provide awards and scholarships to nurses and nursing students in Ontario.”

One of the ways that RNFOO realizes this mission statement is by administering ‘Vested’ or ‘Named’ awards.  Individuals or representatives of family, social or organizational groups may approach the Foundation to negotiate an agreement whereby the Foundation will administer an award that recognizes someone’s contribution to nursing, or honours the memory of someone who cared deeply about nursing.   All agreements outline the purpose of the award and the amount of money to be donated or committed, and articulate the Foundation’s responsibility to determine the recipients and administer the funds. 

Recognition of donors is an integral part of RNFOO’s advancement of its charitable mission.  Important to a successful program is respect for donors’ wishes for recognition or anonymity, and confidence that their gifts have been “put to work” as intended.  The articles below will tell you something about the origin of these awards and the people who made them happen.



Origin: The Dr. Sheela Basrur and GE Oncology Nursing Education Scholarship was organized through the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and funded by General Electric Canada through their Community Investment Fund.  The award was announced in April 2007, when RNAO awarded Dr. Basrur with an Honourary Membership.
Honoree background:
A native of East York, Sheela Basrur received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1979. She continued her studies, receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto in 1982.

Read more: Dr. Sheela Basrur


Origin: The Regina Borowska Scholarship was established through Ms. Borowska’s estate.
Honoree background: Regina’s friends and colleagues will remember her as a dedicated professional, a curious world traveler, and a lover of the arts and a fascinating conversationalist. Regina’s career spanned one of the major changes in the history of nursing education in Canada.

Read more: Regina Borowska


Origin: The Dorothy Ferguson scholarship was initiated on her retirement from the St. Joseph’s Health Centre in 1997, to recognize Dorothy’s many and significant contributions to professional nursing.

Honoree background: Dorothy’s academic accomplishments include a diploma from the School of Nursing, Toronto General Hospital; a Certificate in Hospital Nursing Service and Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Read more: Dorothy Ferguson


Origin: The Julie Hall Scholarship for Neuroscience Nursing Scholarship was initiated in her memory by her family and friends shortly after her death in 1999.

Honoree background: Lesley Bell, CEO of the Ontario Nurses’ Association and a close friend, shared Julie Hall’s story in the Spring, 1999 issue of ONA Vision: The following is an excerpt of that article. Julie Hall was someone you would want to have caring for you or your loved ones: she was a true professional. In her quiet gentle way, she would make the patient the most important person, regardless of what else may be going on around.  There were certain passions in her life to which she was completely committed. One of them was nursing.

Read more: Julie Hall



Origin: The Mary Brunning Harkin Scholarship was established by the Sisters of Service in 2007, in recognition of her 14 years of devoted nursing service to the senior members of their Order, and in honour of her commitment to the highest ideals of the nursing profession.


Read more: Mary Brunning Harkin


Origin: In 1998, Jennifer’s aunt established The Jennifer Award in memory of her niece.  The Award continues to be funded through a bequest from the estate of Jennifer’s aunt.

Honoree Background: Jennifer Gregg was a 1970 graduate of the University of Toronto School of Nursing. She practiced at Sunnybrook and the Clarke Institute.

Read more: The Jennifer Award


Origin: Nancy Lefebre of Saint Elizabeth Health Care, and Rhonda Seidman-Carlson of RNAO introduced the Dr. Joan Lesmond Memorial Scholarship at the 2012 RNFOO Gala.  "The untimely death of our friend and colleague Joan Lesmond has left a significant hole in our hearts and in our work. However, I know that Joan would be extremely pleased about this award, created in her honour."

Honoree Background: Diversity was a passion of Joan’s as an individual, a healthcare professional, and leader. It was also the focus of her doctoral work.  Joan worked tirelessly to educate professionals, new graduates and students about the importance of a cultural

Read more: Joan Lesmond


Origin: The Dorothy  Monteith Scholarship was established through Ms. Monteith's estate.  It will be awarded for the first time in 2013

Honoree Background: Dorothy Monteith was born in Saskatchewan, but moved to Ontario to pursue her RN in Guelph.  She practiced surgical nursing in Guelph, Chicago, and Sudbury before pursuing her BScN at the University of Western Ontario, and her Masters in Nursing at Columbia University in New York.  She continued her career in various leadership capacities with the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Read more: Dorothy Monteith


Origin: In 2012 a plan was put in place to raise funds for a new RNFOO scholarship in memory of nurse Sonia Varaschin.  Marija Bojic, a friend of Sonia Varaschin, introduced this new award at the 2012 RNFOO Gala. The following is an excerpt from Marija's speech that night:

Honoree Background: Sonia was a nurse who was passionate about the need for sensitive and supportive care and nursing services to children with lifetime chronic conditions and who are being cared for in their homes. 

Read more: Sonia Varaschin

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!