ANNOUNCING THE GRETTA FOUNDATION

It is with pride and excitement that I announce the launch of The Gretta Foundation (TGF), and with great respect that I ask for your help. As many of you already know, Gretta (Dr. Margretta Madden Styles) was my mother and a beloved global leader in nursing. After her passing in 2005, I abandoned my long-time corporate career and joined the nonprofit world where I gained first-hand knowledge of the AIDS epidemic and worked with a model for in-country nursing education.

From my mother I learned to love the profession of nursing and understand the incalculable impact nurses have on humanity. Her recognized admonition, Imagine a world without nurses,” has left a lasting impression on me.

My mother’s challenge appears to be not only incomprehensible, but sadly predictive. What I have learned is that for people living in disease-burdened countries, imagining a world without nurses takes no imagination at all. Currently we have a global deficit of 4 million healthcare professionals. As challenging as our own nursing shortages may be, imagine living in a country like Malawi where the nurse to patent ratio is 1:55. This would mean that if you were a woman in labor, you would have 54 other patients vying for the attention of one nurse.

Chronic shortages in the healthcare workforce profoundly undermine global efforts to improve maternal health, decrease child mortality rates, and fight the relentless advance of diseases such as HIV. Exacerbating the healthcare crisis is a problematic trend of the nursing “brain drain” where skilled nurses are migrating to more industrialized countries in the north.

TGF’s mission is to provide in-country nursing scholarships to vulnerable and disadvantaged persons living in disease burdened countries. Efforts focused on in-country, pre-service nursing education are highly atypical and TGF is the first organization of its kind designed to function globally and address the migration of nursing.

The in-country nursing scholarship model is simple but profoundly impactful. Nursing scholarship recipients, or Gretta Scholars, attend nursing programs within their country’s system of education. Each Gretta Scholar is provided with an annual tuition, room and board, living allowance, books, school uniforms, shoes, and clinical supplies. In repayment for the scholarship, graduating scholars will serve in their country’s clinics and hospitals for a period of time equal to each year of scholarship assistance.

TGF’s program is being enthusiastically received. In March, 2008, while traveling to Washington, D.C. to attend a ceremony honoring Gretta’s birthday as National Certified Nurses Day, I met with many national and international agents in global health. Recognized for its unique approach to social empowerment and its capacity to exponentially bolster public health initiatives, TGF was invited to apply for a large grant to fund thousands of scholarships in countries in Uganda, Botswana, and Zambia. Should we receive this funding, I believe that this will only be the beginning and Gretta Scholars will one day work around the world touching lives through their dedication to care and cure.

Although TGF was incorporated just six months ago, there has been great progress in building the infrastructure and I am excited to report that TGF received its tax exempt status from the IRS and was designated a 501 (c) (3) public charitable corporation.

The next important step is to establish a network of supporters. I would like to begin this process by asking for your help to make this important work move forward. Although efforts to attain programmatic grant funding are progressing, I am looking to raise seed money to secure TGF’s business development.

I would be profoundly grateful to persons who would be willing to make a donation to The Gretta Foundation; none too small or too large. Should your employer have an employee donation matching program, please consider including The Gretta Foundation to maximize your generosity. All contributions can have an enormous impact in helping this worthy endeavor grow and prosper.  Most importantly, your support could empower impoverished persons by providing the tools to enter into an indispensable career. It takes no leap of faith to know that a nurse’s work is in great need around the globe.

It would also be wonderful if you would pass this information on to friends and persons you know at corporations, nonprofits, foundations, faith-based groups, and public organizations that may be interested in learning more and possibly supporting us to fulfill our mission.

I would love to hear from you and tell you more about The Gretta Foundation. For more information please give me a call at 415-391-3139 or visit our website at www.208.109.240.57 (we expect to have our full site up this summer.)

Remember, all donations are 100% tax deductible.
If you are interested in making a contribution, our website accepts online credit card donations or you can send a check to:

The Gretta Foundation 101 California Street, Suite 2450 San Francisco, CA  94111

Thank you very much for your help in contributing to the noble aspirations of future nurses and becoming part of The Gretta Foundation family.

With best wishes and my warmest regards,

Meg