Cindy and Cuyler Morris, along with Cindy’s father, Paul Baszucki, have pledged $300,000 to MaineHealth to support additional faculty for training nurses through the Maine Community College System.

PORTLAND — During her mother’s final days, Cindy Morris saw first-hand what it’s like when there aren’t enough nurses to care for those who need them.

Morris’ mother, Helen, needed nursing care at her home in California, but finding such care proved difficult. Equally frustrating, Morris learned that among the home care aides supporting her mother, three of four wanted to train to be a nurse, but were stuck waiting for a spot in an accredited program.

“It can have such an impact on a family to have a good nurse available when they are needed to care for a loved one,” says Morris.

That experience, along with the fact that Morris’ mother was herself a nurse, led her and her husband, Cuyler Morris to join with Cindy’s father, Paul Baszucki, to make an impactful gift in the name of nurse education in the Morris’ home state of Maine. The family has pledged $300,000 to MaineHealth for the purpose of funding additional faculty so that 16 more nurses per semester can receive training through the Maine Community College System and MaineHealth through 2025.

All told, the gift will make it possible to train an additional 56 nurses through the fall semester of 2025.

“This comes at a critical time for our health system and the entire healthcare industry,” says Sharon Baughman, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer of MaineHealth. “The data is clear that we don’t have enough nurses to provide the care that is needed, and the problem is only going to get worse as our population ages.”

The gift follows a recent $2.5 million state investment – matched by MaineHealth and Northern Light Health – that doubles the capacity of nursing programs at Maine’s community colleges across the state, increasing the number of graduates to about 480 people a year.

“We are very grateful for this generous gift and will immediately put it to good use in our expanded nursing programs. Demand for nursing education is at an all-time high in Maine,” says David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System. “This will make a real difference in the lives of our students and the people they go on to care for.”

“We just think this is so important,” says Cindy Morris. “Nurses are the main caregivers when people get sick, and our population is getting older. The need is only going to grow.”