Goosehead Insurance Founders Provide Montana State University Nursing Program With $101M Gift
After losing a friend to cancer, Mark and Robyn Jones noticed a critical issue regarding access to healthcare in the state of Montana where they own a vacation home. To help alleviate the problem, the couple — founders of Westlake, Texas-based Goosehead Insurance — gifted $101 million to Montana State University’s College of Nursing, the school announced Monday.
"We both grew up visiting Montana with our families, and now it is one of the places we call home," Robyn Jones said. “We've seen first-hand the healthcare challenges that Montana faces, and we wanted to do something that will make an impact on the people of this beautiful state.”
With 52 of 56 Montana counties classified as medically underserved and health professional shortage areas, per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the philanthropists saw a need that the university’s nursing program could help solve.
The school already produces the most registered nurses in Montana and is the sole provider of doctoral nurse practitioner education in the state. Now it has the opportunity to more than double the number of graduating family and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners that will be educated to address the key health challenges facing Montana, including an aging population, as well as those with mental health diagnoses and substance abuse struggles.
"Whether in our community or our business, we've always believed that people come first," Mark Jones, who serves as chairman and CEO of his company that boasts more than 1,800 U.S. offices and a $5 billion market capitalization, said. "Montana holds a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to working with the MSU College of Nursing to help transform the healthcare community here and nationwide."
The gift will go toward:
- Providing funding for new facilities that will be equipped with modern classrooms and state-of-the-art simulation labs at each of the College of Nursing’s five campuses.
- Establishing the first five endowed faculty professorships to attract top faculty talent during a nationwide nursing faculty shortage.
- Developing an endowed scholarship fund to keep the cost of nursing education affordable for all students.
- Creating Montana’s only certified nurse midwifery program to significantly increase the number of specialized maternal health care providers capable and willing to provide services to rural and remote communities in Montana.
“It is hard to put into words how moved and excited all of us are at Montana State University by the generosity of the Joneses, who are helping to address some of the most critical health care disparity issues in Montana, particularly in the state’s rural areas,” Waded Cruzado, Montana State University's president, said. “Straight from the hearts of Mark and Robyn, this gift will forever change health care in Montana, and it will serve as a model for the nation. Thanks to their vision, we will have access to tangible tools, such as high-quality simulation labs, new facilities across our nursing campuses, and more registered nurses, and doctor of nursing practice prepared nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.”
“This is a significant moment for MSU, as we estimate we will now be able to meet the state’s projected shortfall in baccalaureate-level registered nurses by 2030,” Sarah Shannon, dean for Montana State University's College of Nursing, added.