3 Incredible Nurses Who Started Nonprofits in Their Own Communities

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By Jackson Nurse Professionals

May 10, 2018



3 Incredible Nurses Who Started Nonprofits and Charities in Their Own Communities

This article is sponsored by: Jackson Nurse Professionals.

While you’ve likely chosen the nursing profession for a variety of reasons, your passion for helping others probably sits somewhere near the top of your list. With that in mind, we’d like to introduce you to a few nurses who took this passion one step further and started their own nonprofits and charities to reach those in need.

While this is not an exhaustive list, we personally love the following nonprofits, charities, and informal community service programs that were started by nurses. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll get inspired, too.

Clothes closet at Jackson Memorial Hospital

In his job as a nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Oliver Castellanos sees many homeless patients come and go, often being discharged without adequate clothing items for comfort and safety – with many of them often leaving with their paper gown. So, he brought in some clothes and shoes he had at home that he was going to donate and instead set them up in a closet at the hospital for homeless patients to take.


“It began with a small pile,” Mr. Castellanos said to CNN. “But it continued to grow bigger and bigger.”

Other people began bringing items in, and now the closet is overflowing with clothing options for homeless patients who have been discharged.


Earth’s Angels

Hanan Waite, a neonatal nurse at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, grew up in Ghana, where she saw firsthand the devastating impacts of an absence of quality health care, losing both her parents at a young age. She moved to the U.S. in 1997 and, after a difficult pregnancy in 2011, began thinking about how her experience could have been much riskier had she still been in Ghana, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explained.

From these reflections came Earth’s Angels, a nonprofit she founded in 2012 to improve access to and the quality of neonatal care in least-developed countries.

“It’s not an option to stop,” Waite said in an interview with the AJC. “After I lost my parents when I was 8-years-old, I always knew that my purpose was to help other children. …It just took me growing up and having the experiences that I’ve had to know where to channel this painful desire to help others. That is my fire. I just want to do it so badly.”

The nonprofit sends equipment and medical personnel, conducts training and education sessions and raises funds for health care facilities in countries in need, with the goal of “eradicating maternal and infant mortality, one mother and baby at a time.”


One Nurse At A Time

One Nurse At A Time was co-founded by Sue Averill, a registered nurse with a love of adventure and travel.

“Growing up as an army brat gave me a love for travel and other cultures,” she wrote on the organization’s website.

In 1985, Averill led the delivery of medical care after an earthquake in Mexico City in 1985, which brought to light her passion for humanitarian work. The experience kicked off a career of traveling around the world, delivering health care and education to communities in need, and paved the way for the creation of One Nurse At A Time. The nonprofit connects nurses with humanitarian work and volunteer opportunities around the world. Many nurses, Averill included, choose to spend their time in between travel nurse assignments in the U.S. working for humanitarian projects overseas through the organization.

You already have the desire to help others with the knowledge and spirit to change the world. So, we hope these stories of nurse-founded nonprofits and community initiatives encourage and inspire you to follow your own passions.

Do you know a nurse who has started a non-profit or charity? List the nonprofits and nurses below!

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