The Rivers Health Scholarship Foundation is a truly community-based endeavor, organized in 1985 under the leadership of Point Pleasant businessman and civic leader Vitus Hartley Jr. This financial aid program was initiated in response to a shortage of health care professionals in West Virginia and the Ohio Valley, and also to offset the increasing costs of higher education. Since the first stipends were announced in the late 1980s, the Foundation has awarded more than $900,000 in scholarships to more than 225 students.

In 2005, the year after Mr. Hartley’s death, the Foundation established the Vitus Hartley Jr. Scholarship to recognize his outstanding leadership in creating this program. This is a one-time, $4,000 award meant to help train health care professionals who will return to the community to provide quality care to their family, friends, and associates. Dr. Jessica Wilson, who became the Vice President of the Medical Staff at Rivers Health in January of 2024, was the recipient of the Hartley Scholarship and other Foundation assistance during her studies. The endowment has surpassed the one million dollar mark, and gifts to it are tax deductible.

To be eligible for financial assistance from the Rivers Health Foundation, a student must be a resident of Mason County, West Virginia, or Gallia or Meigs County in Ohio; a graduate of an accredited high school or possess a GED certificate; and have been accepted for admission or declared a major area of study in a clinical health care field at an accredited program of higher education in West Virginia or Ohio.