In 1980, the Psychiatric Nursing Foundation, the first Foundation to support Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Canada, was founded when articles of incorporation were developed and approved. In 1993, a new Board of Directors amended the by-laws and articles of incorporation changing the name of the organization to The Registered Psychiatric Nurses Foundation Inc.; and a mission statement and logo were developed.
In 1997, the Foundation awarded its first bursary. The following year in 1998, the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Foundation Inc. announced three awards to be distributed annually, namely: The Kay Armstrong Bursary; the Alf Barnett Scholarship; and the John Kellie Education Fund. Mr. Barnett, Mrs. Armstrong and Mr. Kellie were all leaders of the profession in Manitoba; Kay Armstrong and John Kellie as educators and Alf Barnett as first President of the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Manitoba.
In 2004, a vision statement, slogan and logo were adopted and the mission statement was expanded as follows:
The Registered Psychiatric Nurses’ Foundation Inc. attracts and manages the gifts of many donors into a permanent endowment fund to enhance the profession of psychiatric nursing education, practice and research.
Also in 2004, membership of the Foundation was redefined to include members of the Board of Directors. In the fall of that year, the Foundation established the Registered Psychiatric Nurses’ Foundation Inc. Bursary at Brandon University through a one-time donation of $5000 that was matched by the Manitoba Government. This bursary of $550 is offered “annually on the basis of financial need to a full time undergraduate student who has completed their 3rd Year and will be entering their 4th year of the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing (BScPN) program at Brandon University.” The bursary was awarded for the first time early in 2006.
In 2004, a goal of developing a $100,000 endowment fund was established. The Foundation is getting nearer to this goal slowly and gradually over the years.
In 2009, a fourth scholarship, named after Marlene Fitzsimmons, was developed. Marlene is the founder; a long time board member and President; and, strong supporter of the Foundation. Marlene was also the first Registered Psychiatric Nurse to receive an honourary Doctor of Science degree when Brandon University conferred that honour on her in 2009.
In 2010, upon request of the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada, the Foundation accepted responsibility for funding and administering the first national scholarship, the John Alex Crawford Scholarship for RPNs pursuing graduate education in psychiatric nursing. In 2012, another national scholarship, the Annette Osted scholarship was established for 3rd and 4th year students in an undergraduate psychiatric nursing program in Canada.
In 2013, through a donation from the McCormick-Henry family, a third national scholarship, the McCormick-Henry Scholarship in Seniors’ Mental Health, was established with the first scholarship awarded in May 2016.