Nursing Scholarships Launched by Jillian A. Metcalf Foundation in Tribute to a Caring Spirit

From the left, Jillian A. Metcalf Foundation board members Tanya Fuchs, Sam Wood, Jillian’s sisters Shannon and Britney Metcalf, Bay Shore High School scholarship recipient Katherine Bueno Romero along with Jillian’s mother, Bonnie Fraser Metcalf and Jennifer Cole to the far right.

Just two weeks after her passing on Dec. 1, 2021, the Jillian A. Metcalf Foundation was established by Jillian’s family and friends to commemorate her kindness and generosity towards her community. Following a successful inaugural J.A.M. Fest held in Jillian’s hometown of Kismet on Sept. 24, 2022, which raised $110,000 for the foundation, the envisioned scholarship program was able to commence this year, as confirmed by Sam Wood, president of the foundation and a close friend of Jillian’s.

Before her untimely passing, Jillian had been pursuing a career in nursing. Thus, the foundation decided to pay tribute to her future aspirations, given her unwavering dedication to helping others. “Jill was always there for her family, friends, and co-workers and even strangers she just met,” said Tanya Fuchs, a founding board member and friend of Jillian’s, “She never asked for anything in return.”

The scholarship program also serves as a token of gratitude for the care provided by the nurses during Jillian’s final days. “My daughter was on life support for 19 days, and the nurses were absolutely phenomenal,” said Bonnie Metcalf, Jillian’s mother and vice president of the foundation. “They work hard, they’re underpaid, and they have to get the schooling, so we wanted to help, and we know that this is something Jillian would have liked to do.”

         The foundation presented two scholarships worth $5,000 each to graduating seniors who plan to pursue a career in nursing. The recipients were Katherine Bueno Romero from Bay Shore High School, who will be attending Stony Brook University; and Maggie Frazer from Jillian’s alma mater, Islip High School, who will be attending BOCES. According to Bonnie, the applications were initially reviewed by guidance counselors and then anonymously assessed by the foundation’s board.    

When receiving the award, Maggie had to run out on an ambulance call, which Tanya described as a fitting reflection of Jillian’s character. Both of the recipients expressed immense gratitude for the scholarship, as they were unaware of the amount.

         “It felt like winning the jackpot,” laughed Maggie “This scholarship will always be a reminder for me that I am made for the medical field, and no matter how hard it gets, I can get through this. I knew I would have to get financial aid and take out student loans regardless, so having this extra bit of money really helps.”

         In addition to these scholarships, the foundation also plans to engage in other medical-related philanthropic endeavors. “We’re also donating money for a defibrillator for the Kismet Fire Department,” said Bonnie, “And as time goes on, we want to keep raising more to increase our scholarship program and to give back to our community as a way to honor Jillian.”

         Jillian’s life motto, “Life is what you make of it so make it a good one,” has now become the foundation’s guiding principle, resonating not only in Jillian’s own life but also in the lives she touched. “If it wasn’t for Jill Metcalf there’s no way this Foundation would have been as successful,” said Sam. “Her memorial lives on in our service to others.”