Community, United Hospital

Nurse Retention Grants Created at Spectrum Health United Hospital

Donor establishes endowment to aid local nurses forever.

Donor John Higgins, center, shown while establishing the endowment.

GREENVILLE, Mich., June 16, 2022 – Longtime Greenville area farmer John Higgins is leaving tracks for others, just like his father, Robert Higgins, taught him while working on the family farm years ago.

“He told me we had to leave our tracks somewhere,” Higgins said. “Greenville has always meant a lot to me.”

Higgins donated $30,000 to the Spectrum Health Foundation to create the John M. Higgins United Hospital Nurse Retention Endowment.

Earnings from the fund will be used annually to implement nurse generated ideas to:

  • Increase education
  • Provide empowerment opportunities
  • Enhance well-being
  • Promote workplace safety

Nurses at Spectrum Health United Hospital will submit ideas for projects and programs using the annual grant funds to support nurses and aid in their retention.

“We are deeply grateful for this extraordinary gift from John,” said Carol Dwyer, chief nursing officer at United Hospital. “It truly is a testament to the value placed on our nurses by our community. We anticipate that our nurses will make many suggestions for new programs to support the retention and vitality of our nursing workforce.  These programs are sure to have great meaning and a lasting impact on the practice of nursing here at United Hospital.”

Higgins has donated to United Hospital before, including many years to the Tree of Life program, but after selling his six-generation family farm, he decided he wanted to do something more significant.

“It came down to nurses to me,” he said. “They’re the ones who give you the most care. If it wasn’t for nurses, we wouldn’t have a hospital. Greenville is very lucky to have a hospital, especially of this caliber. If we can create something to keep nurses here, we can thrive. We want to make Greenville an attractive place to work.”

Spectrum Health Foundation United and Kelsey Hospitals Director Shelly Westbrook, who worked with Higgins in establishing the endowment, was excited about what the grant can provide.

“There are so many possibilities,” she said. “Our nurses work so hard and providing them extra support in ways meaningful to them will make this annual program that much more special.”

Westbrook said the initial grant to be awarded in 2022 will be $1,500 and in future years the amount will be that much or more depending on the size of the fund.

Higgins hopes others will see the value and add to the fund and its impact.

“I’d love to see this fund grow and grow and grow,” he said. “I put a dab in to get it started—if we can make this thing grow now, it would be absolutely fantastic and it would be great for the community.”

For more information or to contribute to the endowment, call Westbrook at 616.225.6416.


About Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan.

People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness.

John Norton
Corporate Communications Manager
Office: 231.592.4387
Mobile: 231.580.1079