Meet the Board: Dave Johnson

Q: What is your name, occupation and how long have you volunteered to serve on the St. Joe Foundation Board?

Dave Johnson PhD, Professor of Nursing at the University of Saint Francis and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with Parkview Health. I am in my ninth year on the board with the St. Joe Foundation.

Q: What inspires you about the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and their Foundress Saint Katharina? Are there particular values or works that you find especially important?

I began working for the Poor Handmaids at St. Joe Hospital starting in 1972. I am drawn by the charism of St. Katharina and have seen the PHJC Sisters in action with their attentive ears and courageous hearts. They provide hope, compassion, and kinship to serve God’s people who are marginalized and underserved. They serve the poor in body, mind, and spirit. Because of this personal inspiration, in 2021, I began the process of formation to become an Associate for the Poor Handmaid community.  

Q: Please share a memorable interaction you have had with a grantee and their staff/clients. 

When visiting Carriage House, I saw the executive director Andy Wilson (seen in photo above) and his staff with the “Clubhouse Model” program assisting people in their recovery from mental illness and reintegration into the community. In this setting, I was challenged to know who the “members” were in that the team worked side-by-side on meaningful activities, building the confidence and self-esteem necessary to reclaim their lives. Kinship and love prevailed. I was awestruck and filled with hope.
In the Fall of 2021, the St. Joe Foundation hosted international speaker Fr. Greg Boyle and partnered with the University of Saint Francis in bringing many community partners together, along with several hundred students from social work, political science, education, business, nursing, and health. The topic was the POWER of BOUNDLESS COMPASSION. Inspiring next generations to their call to service and kinship with the poor and underserved was transformational. USF students have told me personally that this was a powerful and moving experience for them.

Q: What do you enjoy most about serving on the St. Joe Foundation Board?

I appreciate the attentive listening of Meg Distler and her compassionate team along with the board of directors. I feel fortunate to be part of a response to the community needs with grants and to leverage collaboration with community partners. Many of the initiatives that have moved forward during my tenure have truly been transformative. I have formed lifelong friendships with folks who are committed to serving God’s people.  

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment in your professional or personal life that you are proud of.

My wife Rosie (who is also a nurse and worked at St. Joe Hospital for 46 years) and I have six children and 14 grandkids. In a world that sometimes feels divided in so many ways, we feel the hope of a new generation committed to knowing, loving, and serving God. The Poor Handmaids not only influenced my career in nursing and mental health counseling, but to hopefully be a pebble in the pond with my own family. My grandchildren’s prayers, artwork, stories, and hugs fortify my faith in the future.