Supporting Students Supports Community

Eden (‘09, Nursing) and Michelle Donahue are giving back to the Humboldt community and to thank the nurses who have shaped their lives.

Nursing and nurses have played a significant role in Eden (‘09, Nursing) and Michelle Donahue’s life. Eden’s aunt and aunt’s partner inspired her to attend Cal Poly Humboldt, obtain a bachelor of science in Nursing, and become a nurse on the North Coast. 

Michelle’s appreciation for nursing comes from her mom, who was a nurse and always encouraged her to ask questions. This welcoming environment and the support of her wife, Eden, helped Michelle navigate a complex medical environment when she underwent a procedure for her epilepsy a few years ago.

To give back to the Humboldt community and thank the nurses who have shaped their lives Eden (née Eden Joseph) and Michelle recently established the Donahue Joseph Scholarship Endowment with a $31,000 gift to elevate Humboldt’s Nursing students. 

“What better way to support local healthcare than supporting our local students,” Michelle says, adding that the hope for the Donahue Joseph Scholarship is to assist Nursing students financially and mentally. 

The scholarship is named after their families to honor their inspirations and legacy. It will be awarded to a Cal Poly Humboldt Nursing student with preference for students from Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Trinity, Shasta, Modoc, and Lassen counties. Additional considerations will be made for first-generation college students, student veterans or spouses of active duty veterans, or students registered with the Cal Poly Humboldt Student Disability Resource Center. These criteria were chosen with pride to honor the Donahue and Joseph families.

Humboldt County is home to Eden, who is originally from Yreka and moved to Arcata when she attended Cal Poly Humboldt, and Michelle, who originally moved to Humboldt County from the Bay Area in 2005 with her son. The Donahues left Humboldt County in 2015 for a family emergency. With excitement, they moved back to Humboldt a few years ago when Eden accepted a position as the associate director and assistant professor of Cal Poly Humboldt’s nursing program. Eden is also now the faculty representative on the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation Board.

In 2020, Cal Poly Humboldt launched the RN to BSN Nursing program for working nurses with an associate degree to obtain their bachelor of science in Nursing. 

The Donahues have always been philanthropic, giving back to local nonprofits and Cal Poly Humboldt programs they care deeply about. They see giving as the number one way to support their Humboldt community. 

“We want to support the nurses who are here and want to stay here. The Nursing program’s vision is growing our own and partnering with our local resources and communities to have a network that supports the North Coast,” Eden says. 

After attending Cal Poly Humboldt, Eden continued her education and obtained a master’s degree and a doctorate in Nursing. She and Michelle hope the scholarship will encourage students to broaden their nursing journey past a baccalaureate degree.

“Students are juggling work, life, and school, so if this scholarship can help take some of the pressure off one of those things, they can be more present in all those aspects, not just school. If the scholarship can help alleviate some of that stress, that would be great,” Eden says. “I hope it makes their path to advancing their education more seamless.” 

Join the Cal Poly Humboldt community and donors like Eden and Michelle in raising funds for students and programs during the first Cal Poly Humboldt Giving Day, April 5. Visit for more information and to make a gift on Giving Day. 

Gifts on Giving Day of up to $1,000 will have twice the impact as they will be matched by the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation up to $150,000

For more information about other giving opportunities, contact the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation at or (707) 826-5200.

Photo Caption: Donors Eden and Michelle Donahue established a scholarship endowment with a $31,000 gift to support Cal Poly Humboldt Nursing students