For DonorsFor Applicants

Johnnie L. Kellom Pioneer in Nursing Scholarship Fund

user profile avatar
Organized by
Barbara Kellom
Fund cover image
Raised of $30,000 goal
0 scholarships funded
Contribute to Fund:

100% tax-deductibleNo fees

100% goes to scholarship recipients



    George Shirley


    Rochelle Everett


    Britney Walker


    Willie Matthews


Our story

In honor of Johnnie L. Kellom, a pioneering Black woman who forged her own path in the field of nursing, we are proud to announce the Johnnie L. Kellom Nursing Scholarship. Johnnie, the first medical professional in her family, defied expectations to pursue a career in nursing despite being expected to follow her mother’s footsteps into teaching. Johnnie’s journey began with a year at Alabama State Teachers College, now Alabama State University, after which she decided to chart her own course in nursing. Leaving Alabama with just $25 from her father and earnings from a hot laundry job, Johnnie moved to Detroit. As the third oldest of nine children, she exhibited remarkable ambition and resilience. Johnnie quickly rose to leadership positions, first at Mercy Hall and later at Crittenton Hospital in Detroit, where she made history as the first Black registered nurse to head the ICU unit. Upon retiring, Johnnie dedicated herself to educating aspiring nurses, instilling in them her passion for excellence and compassionate patient care. Throughout her career, Johnnie Kellom was a staunch advocate for nurturing and exceptional patient care. Her impact was evident as former patients often approached her in public to share stories of how she supported them during their most vulnerable moments. Despite facing racism, isolation, and fear, Johnnie persevered and broke down barriers for future generations of Black women in nursing. Denied education at Emory University, she benefited from the professors who came to Grady Hospital to teach Black women. Johnnie L. Kellom was immensely proud of her career and achievements. She inspired her students to be both professional and knowledgeable, always striving to provide excellent care. The Johnnie L. Kellom Nursing Scholarship seeks to continue her legacy by supporting and empowering future nurses who embody her spirit of dedication, excellence, and compassion.

Our goal

To honor a Black woman who blazed her own trail in the field of nursing as the first medical professional in her own family. Johnnie L. Kellom was expected to become a teacher, as her mother (born in 1896) had been. However, after a year at Alabama State Teachers College, now Alabama State University, she decided to make her own path into nursing. She left Alabama with $25 from her father, and money she earned working in a hot laundry. That decision took her from Alabama to Detroit. The 3rd oldest of a family of 9 children, was hired into a leadership role at Mercy Hall, and then later at Crittenton Hospital in Detroit. There, she became the 1st Black nurse to head the ICU unit. Upon retirement from nursing, she decided to lend her experience to educating students who desired a career in nursing. Johnnie Kellom was a strong advocate for excellent and nurturing patient care. It was not unusual for her to be stopped in public by former patients with a story about how she supported them in moments of fear, extreme illness, and moments of isolation.

Comments from contributors 2

George Shirley8 days ago

I wish you success in this venture!

Britney Walker19 days ago

Such a beautiful tribute to Granny. ❤️

About Scholarship Funds

Zero Fees

No fees. 100% of contributions go
to deserving scholarship recipients

100% Tax-Deductible

All contributions to your fund are
100% tax-deductible

100% Protected

Your donation is safely protected
by the Foundation’s
501(c)(3) grant-awarding rules.

Contribute now

100% Tax-Deductible. $0 Fees.