Nurses for Tomorrow

Preparing the Next Generation of Nurses to Lead challenge

Nurses are the beating heart of health care delivery in the Philadelphia region and around the country, and their leadership skills are needed now more than ever wherever they serve — whether in hospitals, doctor’s offices, health centers, or home health care.

The Foundation’s Nurses for Tomorrow program supports the development of a strong nursing workforce that is ready to meet the demands of today’s increasingly complex health care landscape.

Our goal is to make sure nurses have the training they need to lead change and to encourage them to pursue roles beyond the bedside to become leaders in a variety of capacities, including in board rooms, government, and research.

Developing tomorrow’s nurse leaders

Foundation grant funding helps prepare the next generation of nurses and nurse leaders by focusing on education, professional development, and cultural competency.

In 2019, the Foundation awarded $1.2 million in Nurses for Tomorrow grants to 20 nursing programs for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral scholarships.

For the first time, the Foundation awarded six schools — La Salle University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, and West Chester University — additional funding totaling $60,000. This funding will support the completion of community-based research projects by nursing students at the graduate and doctoral levels.

To help nurses build leadership and cultural competency skills, the Foundation’s ten-week summer Nursing Internship Program gives undergraduate students attending schools supported by Nurses for Tomorrow scholarships the opportunity to work in non-traditional health care settings and build professional competencies.

Preparing nurses to deliver culturally competent care

With today’s emphasis on value-based and culturally competent health care, nurses must be prepared to understand the needs of the whole person and communicate effectively so their patients get the right care, at the right place, and at the right time.

When nurses understand and share the same background as the people they serve, it leads to stronger patient relationships and improved health outcomes. To this end, the Foundation’s nurse intern Leadership Labs help prepare the next generation of nurses to understand and effectively interact with people across various cultures.

The Foundation also gives nurses the opportunity to learn best practices and enhance their skills through our collaboration with, the leading provider of online continuing education for nurses. Through this on-demand platform, nurses can take available courses at their convenience to earn free continuing education credits.

Empowering nurses to lead through innovation, education, policy, and service

In 2019, the Foundation launched a digital campaign, Nurses CanTM, to engage and empower current and future nurses to take a wider view of their role in shaping health care.

In a complementary edition of the Foundation’s Journal of Change, we published thought leadership about transforming the delivery of health care through innovation, education, policy, and service.

We want the next generation of nurses to know the power they have to tackle any challenge and be the change they want to see in the nursing profession — and in the communities they serve.

“My hope is that at every level, more nurses don the mantle of leadership to ensure our health and health care systems provide better outcomes and true health equity for all.
” Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A.

Nurses leading change in the community

Jose Maciel and Antonio Renteria were inspired by their experience serving in community health centers as former Foundation nurse interns — and by their family life as Mexican Americans — to co-found Cultivando Juntos (Cultivating Together).

Their community-based program is designed to improve the health habits of the Latino mushroom workers in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, many who live with complications from chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The program arms farmworkers with information and support to improve their physical and emotional well-being.

The 2019 University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing graduates received the Penn President’s Engagement Prize, a $100,000 grant awarded to Penn seniors with an idea to make an impact in the community.

Maciel and Renteria are using the prize grant to make their program easily replicable at various farm sites to ensure more workers have access to life-saving information.

Jose Maciel and Antonio Renteria

Photo by Eric Sucar of University Communications, University of Pennsylvania

“The Foundation’s Nursing Internship Program was the catalyst for us to apply for the Prize. Working in limited-resource environments and caring for the underserved population, we understood that there was more work to be done for our communities.”
– Jose Maciel and Antonio Renteria
Recipients of the 2019 University of Pennsylvania President’s Engagement Prize

Pictured: The Foundation’s nurse interns learn how to deliver culturally competent care and develop leadership skills to help them pursue roles beyond the bedside, including in board rooms, government, and research.


25 undergraduate nurse interns in 2019 prepared to serve as health care leaders


Over 400 students at schools supported by Nurses for Tomorrow grants received scholarships


6 schools awarded additional funding for graduate and doctoral-level nursing community-based research projects