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The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation announces $1.5 million gift to support nurse residency in Oregon

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A female nurse wearing a surgical mask works with a male patient also wearing a mask.

EUGENE, Ore. – In an inspiring act of generosity, The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation has pledged a transformative gift of $1.5 million to support nursing at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart and PeaceHealth Peace Harbor. This profound contribution will help address the critical nursing shortage in our region through innovative and sustainable strategies.

"We are touched by The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation’s legacy commitment to nursing in Oregon," said Chief Nursing Officer, Heather Wall. “Their support is a vote of confidence in PeaceHealth’s support of nurses and a recognition that recruiting and growing our caregivers will facilitate excellent care and increased healthcare access when our communities need us.”

The gift will establish The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation Nurse Residency Endowment, a pivotal resource that will support the growth and development of new nurses at our PeaceHealth Oregon hospitals for years to come. The residency program focuses on the recruitment and retention of first-year nurses through education, experience, mentorship and team building. In addition, this high-engagement program includes advanced simulation training equipment/software and specialty care curriculums. The program is already showing remarkable success, retaining 93% of its participants in its first year, a number that has since increased to 95%. This gift speaks volumes about the power of dedicated nursing resources and the vital role of philanthropy in healthcare.

“The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation is proud to support the nurse residency program at PeaceHealth in perpetuity. The future of nursing in our region is of highest concern. Our foundation recognized the opportunity to make a genuine impact by supporting a critical healthcare provider with whom we have partnered for over 40 years.”      - Jon Buerstatte, Trustee, The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation

The Nurse Residency program’s partnership with 23 regional and nationally accredited nursing schools, including strategic alliances with Lane Community College and Bushnell University, highlights our commitment to attracting top-tier nursing talent. Through The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation Nurse Residency Endowment, we are not just filling positions, but fostering a community of skilled professionals equipped with the education and support to meet the health needs of our region.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation for their visionary support. This endowment is not just a gift, but a legacy that will elevate nursing care in our community for generations to come.

More information about nursing excellence and how to support it is available at

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a non-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, more than 3,000 providers, more than 160 clinics and 9 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at


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