Community Foundation of St. Joseph County

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Bill and Katie Shields

Supporting Continuing Education for Medical Practitioners

Bill and Katie Shields

In the ever-evolving world of medicine, it’s critical for practitioners at all levels—CNAs, nurses, doctors, and others—to stay up to date. But medical education is expensive, and scholarship options for those already working in the field are limited.

Businessman and entrepreneur Bill Shields and his wife Katie understood that challenge, and decided to give the community they loved a way to meet it.

In 1993, the Shields established the William S. and Kathryn L. Shields Fund for the Education of Medical Professionals. The couple challenged Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to match their contributions and built their fund into a significant resource for the community. Since then, the Shields Fund has awarded over $1,300,000 in grants to support healthcare education.

“This support has been invaluable to our efforts to elevate the quality of our nursing staff and level of care to our patients,” says Kristin Michel, Business Operations Manager of the Foundation of St. Joseph Health System. Because of the Shields Fund, she notes, 70% of staff nurses at SJHS now hold BSN degrees.

In addition to creating this fund, the Shields were devoted supporters of many local nonprofits, including the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, the History Museum, IUSB, Studebaker Museum, and others.  

Even after Bill’s death in 2010, Katie stayed active in philanthropy. Just weeks before she died this past October, she established a new endowed fund with the Community Foundation to support Heroes Camp, a local youth ministry.

“Bill was one of the Community Foundation’s biggest boosters,” says Rose Meissner, president of the Community Foundation. “He’d talk to anyone he could find about our value and potential. He and Katie brought that level of support to all the organizations they believed in. With the Shields, it was always more than money—it was leadership, influence, and time.”