Dr. and Mrs. Kelly Scholarship Awards Medical Scholarships


The Dr. and Mrs. Robert Kelly Scholarship was established in May of 1999 to support local adults interested in pursuing and continuing education in the medical field.

Many people remember and love Dr. and Mrs. Robert Kelly, and can fondly picture them walking through Grand Itasca Clinic, or even the old Hospital. Kelly Kirwin, Executive Director of the Grand Itasca Foundation notes, “We are so pleased to be able to bring the legacy of Donna and Dr. Kelly full circle – every year - through Grand Itasca. Because we have a scholarship at the Community Foundation, we can honor the life and legacy of the Kellys, provide for better educated and trained professionals at the clinic and hospital, and support our local workforce and families, right here in rural Minnesota.”

Desiree Rohling

Fourteen years ago, I discovered my passion for nursing while meeting residents’ basic needs and connecting with them in conversation, music, and activities. Since that time, I discovered that nursing was more than a career choice. Rationale behind the nursing profession are directly connected to my worldview. I plan to build on the foundation of nursing while adapting to patient needs in a unique way that supports rural healthcare within my community. To better serve my community and pursue my goals, for the next three years I will study to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Originally from Itasca County, I choose to live, work and raise my family in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I plan to continue working in Grand Rapids where I will promote optimal health to all ages, expand access to essential healthcare, and emphasize primary prevention practices that improve health outcomes. I am passionate about universal quality health care, optimal wellness, and holistic care as it relates to human interaction, coping, and healing.


Sarah Jensen

My story is one in which I am very proud. I am a wife and a mother of three beautiful children. I have worked very hard to be where I am today. I was born and raised here in Grand Rapids and in 2008, after graduating high school, I moved to the Twin Cities. I worked full time, and was in school full time. I had to put my education on hold in 2012 when I had my first child. Life was a struggle; I had to work many jobs to support us. I decided that I needed to make a change and challenged myself to get back to school to provide a better life for my daughter. I started classes that spring at Dakota County Technical College. That fall was when I met my now husband and moved back to Grand Rapids where I enrolled in the Practical Nursing Program at Itasca Community College.

I now work at KOOTASCA Community Action and I am proud to be able to help support my community in the way my community supported me. I am back in school and finishing my pre-requisites for the RN program at Northwest Technical College. My goal is to become a Licensed Public Health Nurse and School Nurse. I want to use my education and skills to help my community by finding more resources and access to routine medical care and help in the fight to end poverty and homelessness.

I want to keep setting an example to my kids that no matter your circumstances, with hard work and dedication you can overcome anything. I want them to remember watching me walk in my graduation ceremony and be proud of who their mother is and where she came from, and what it took to get there.

The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area – and the world – a better place to live. We invite you to become part of the good work we do, and to include us in the conversation with your financial or estate planner. What is your legacy? For more information, schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.

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350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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