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It’s no secret that staffing shortages have plagued the home care industry. To help alleviate the crisis, the Jean Griswold Foundation last year began a scholarship fund to educate future caregivers. In only its second year, the fund has received a serious financial boost. 

“People inside the Griswold system have stepped up to the plate and have been so generous,” Jean Griswold Foundation Chair Maryanne Murray told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “We raised $100,000 and we’re going to probably give out twice as many scholarships than last year.”

The foundation is named in honor of Jean Griswold, who founded Griswold Home Care in 1982 and served as an advocate for caregivers everywhere. The foundation’s 2023 National Caregiver Scholarship programs aim to disburse $100,000, more than quadrupling last year’s total of $24,000, which was divided among 12 recipients. The denominations range between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on the scholarship. The funds can be put toward caregiver education or certified nursing assistant certification, which is required in many states.

“We really want to encourage caregivers to continue into licensed, practical nursing courses,” Murray said. “Even though that’s beyond what we need in terms of non-nursing home care, we think that’s a way to help people with their job satisfaction and career goals.”

Pearl Opoku, 34, is a 2023 winner looking to do just that. Currently an LPN for Griswold, Opoku plans to use it for the prerequisite courses needed to pursue her RN and BSN education. Opoku, who received a bachelors degree in sociology in her native Ghana, is thankful to see her hard work and ambition rewarded.

“It’s a very great opportunity for you to better your education, especially starting off as a caregiver, then a CNA and an LPN, and me wanting to level up to become an RN-BSN.” Opoku told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “I don’t have to struggle or think of how much, or where I’m gonna get funds for prerequisite classes before I get into the program. It’s going to really help a little bit. It’s really nice and I’m grateful.”

The scholarship program aims to help more people like Opoku. With the increased funding, more caregivers will be able to receive the financial support needed to advance their careers. Murray hopes it serves as a token of the foundation’s appreciation for all they provide for those they serve.

“The caregivers that we are so dependent on are the backbone of this initiative. It’s a tough job and they give their hearts and souls,” Murray said. “We depend on them so much and we recruit really fantastic people. We just want to give back to them, honor them and let them know how much we appreciate them.”

The Jean Griswold Foundation is accepting submissions for scholarships until April 26. Applicants do not have to work for Griswold Home Care. Learn more

Home Sweet Home is a feature appearing Mondays in McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. The story focuses on a heartwarming, entertaining or quirky happening affecting the world of home care. If you have a topic that might be worthy of the spotlight in Home Sweet Home, please email Special Projects Coordinator Foster Stubbs at [email protected].