Barbara and Donald Jonas are noted art collectors who decided to increase their giving during their lifetimes by auctioning off 15 of their valuable abstract, expressionist artworks 2005. The $44 million in proceeds seeded the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund.

Barbara, a psychiatric social worker and psychotherapist, and Donald, a leading retail executive, sought appropriate beneficiaries for their new fund. They identified the nursing shortage—and its profound impact on the healthcare of individuals and communities—as an area of particular philanthropic need. In early 2006, the couple established the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, a first-of-its-kind philanthropic program dedicated to advancing the nursing profession in New York City.

The Jonas Center partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to establish the Jonas Scholars program. This program provides scholarships to nurses pursuing doctoral education and seeks to increase the number of advanced practice nurses and midwives, as well as increase the number of faculty available to teach the next generation of nurse leaders.  Frontier Nursing University is honored to have hosted two Jonas Scholars in 2012-2013 and to have four Jonas Scholars for the 2014-2015 term.