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Independent Order of Odd Fellows Provide $25,000 in Scholarships for Refugees

Posted by Brian Tingleff on Nov 24, 2015 3:52:30 PM

Mercy College of Health Sciences Receives $25,000 Scholarship Gift from Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Grand Lodge of Iowa

Mercy College of Health Sciences received a $25,000 check from the Grand Lodge of Iowa of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) in November to assist refugees and immigrants to complete their health science educational goals. This is the third year in a row the organization has funded the scholarship in this amount.

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Left to Right - Shannon Duval, President, Mercy Foundation; Marty ZylstraGrand Treasurer The Grand Lodge of Iowa of IOOFDarrell SellsGrand Master The Grand Lodge of Iowa of IOOF, Lawrence ShillingGrand Secretary The Grand Lodge of Iowa of IOOFMercy College President Barbara Quijano Decker, Merle T. Pederson, J.D., Board Chair, Mercy College Board of Directors, Vice President & Counsel - Government Relations, Principal Financial Group


The scholarship will assist students who successfully completed an academic program offered by Mercy College when enrolled in a federal grant from the US Department of Labor, between 2010 and 2013, known as the Pathways to Health Care Careers – Iowa Project.  The grant was in collaboration with Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services to address the need of healthcare employers to hire additional qualified individuals with the specialized understanding of the growing diversity of cultures found in Iowa.

The three-year grant produced a total of 180 graduates, from 33 countries, in one of five academic programs.  Each academic field is considered an entry-level position, which when combined with further academic preparation will allow for other career opportunities in healthcare. IOOF Scholarships will allow these refugees and immigrants to further their education and assume greater levels of leadership in communities all across Iowa.

The Grand Lodge of Iowa of IOOF represents 33 lodges across the state, and is a member of a worldwide altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization, composed of men and women of good moral character, who believe in a Supreme Being and are dedicated to elevating the character of mankind, making the world a better place, promoting good will and harmony and promoting wholesome and fulfilling fraternal experiences. 

IOOF Iowa lodges are located in the following towns: Agency, Belle Plaine, Benton, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Clear Lake, Clinton, Columbus Junction, Decorah, Des Moines, Ely, Grinnell, Guthrie Center, Humeston, Indianola, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Keokuk, Knoxville, Lake Mills, Marshalltown, Mason City, New Hampton, New Hartford, New London, Sperry, Storm Lake, Stuart, Wapello, and Wever.

Worldwide causes promoted by IOOF in addition to education include arthritis and vision research, hunger and disaster assistance, reforestation, and United Nations pilgrimages for youth.

The latest gift will be awarded to five (5) students as $5,000 IOOF Scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year.  Applications and program details will be posted in March 2016 on the Mercy College website, www.mchs.edu.  

Topics: Scholarships, Immigrant, Refugee, IOOF