WEST PALM BEACH — The board of trustees of the Quantum Foundation, under the chairmanship of Ethel Isaacs Williams, recently approved 17 new grants totaling $2.7 million to Palm Beach County-based nonprofits.
Quantum Foundation’s mission is to fund initiatives that improve the health of Palm Beach County residents. In 1998, Quantum Foundation marked its rookie year as one of Palm Beach County’s newest and largest philanthropic organizations with an impressive $7.6 million granted to more than 40 Palm Beach County projects. Just over 20 years later, with assets of approximately $155 million, the organization’s focus remains on keeping Palm Beach County healthy. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded $145 million. Every dollar the foundation grants continues to stay in the county to benefit local communities.
“Your zip code is more of a marker to health than your genetic code,” said Eric Kelly, president of Quantum Foundation. “On top of those longstanding challenges, families are facing the harsh realities of economic struggles due to the pandemic. More and more people are relying on a holistic approach to fixing their health, and that starts with the work that our grantee partners are doing. Health equity is our way forward, and these vulnerable communities need their basic needs met now more than ever. Health is not simply the absence of illness, but rather a positive state of physical and mental well-being, and these grants are a step in the right direction.”
Of the grants allocated for the third and fourth quarters of 2020, $1.25 million was distributed to Feeding South Florida (FSF) for its Community Kitchen and food distribution programs. The program will address the associated short- and long-term needs in five ways: production kitchen for after school, summer and senior meals; workforce development and job placement through culinary training; healthy cooking classes for families; catering social enterprise; and an incubator space for program graduates who use the kitchen space for their own entrepreneurial activities.
With Quantum funding, FSF’s Food Distribution Program will yield 1.125 million meals (1.350 million pounds) per year for five years — a total of 5.625 million meals (6.75 million pounds) for food-insecure families in Palm Beach County. FSF will also provide immediate access to 39,000 healthy, prepared meals per year for five years — a total of 195,000 meals for individuals in Palm Beach County. Feeding South Florida has become the second-largest food bank in the United States.
“This grant means everything to our organization,” said Paco Velez, president and CEO of Feeding South Florida. “It is critical to have such an investment from an organization like Quantum Foundation. Both of our missions align as we look to break the cycle of hunger and poverty, and the first step is providing access to the programs that we can provide thanks to this grant. Quantum’s five-year investment signals understanding of what it takes to meet needs in Palm Beach County. It is not about feeding the line, it is about ending the line and moving people from dependency to self-sufficiency.”
The pandemic has been catastrophic for families. Since March, FSF has more than doubled its output of food as there is double the need. The agency went from distributing 62 million pounds of food annually to 120 million pounds of food annually.
“A little boy came through our drive-through distribution recently and asked if we knew of any jobs for his family so they will not turn off the lights,” Velez said. “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for better long-term solutions for families.”
However, Velez says that the work is about more than handing over bags of food. “We live in a diverse community, and the one thing we all have in common is family recipes and the tradition that food is comforting,” Velez said. “That is why we provide culturally appropriate food to restore dignity. A story that stands out is when we provided a pre-diabetic grandmother who was too busy taking care of her grandchildren to care for herself, (with) fresh food from us, and her A1C levels went down as a result. She is now able to live a healthier lifestyle, and that shows you the impact we are making right here in Palm Beach County.”
Other grants in this cycle include:
• Adopt-A-Family (AAF) — $80,000 for the On-Site Mental Health Program
With Quantum funding, AAF will provide accessible, flexible mental health therapy services to at least 40 formerly homeless clients, many of whom will be voluntarily engaging in counseling for the first time, to improve their mental health and daily global functioning and to help stabilize their families.
• Alzheimer’s Community Care ACC) — $60,000 for the Care Navigation Project
With Quantum funding, ACC will provide 800 individual care plans to caregivers and patients with Alzheimer’s disease, make connections to social and health services, and coordinate their follow-up system to ensure the patients are able to stay in the comfort of their own home as long as possible.
• American Cancer Society (ACS) — $120,000 for the HPV Quality Improvement Collaborative
• Children’s Home Society (CHS) — $38,753 for the Families 4 Kids initiative
With Quantum funding, CHS will provide clinical post-adoption counseling for 35 children and their parents/caregivers. CHS will also provide its Families 4 Kids program, which is a Trust-based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training, to 30 caregivers. It is designed to support children from “hard places” such as abuse, neglect and/or trauma. Because of their histories, it is difficult for them to trust the loving adults in their lives, which often results in perplexing behaviors. TBRI offers practical tools for parents, caregivers, teachers and others working with children to see the “whole child” in their care and help them reach their highest potential.
• Community Health Center of West Palm Beach (CHC) — $250,000 for Continuum of Care
With Quantum funding, CHC will provide free primary health and support services to 3,000 patients, serve 300 individuals in its Chronic Disease Management Clinic, and provide 300 female patients with women’s health services.
• CROS Ministries — $200,000 for Food Pantry Program/Gleaning Program
With Quantum funding, CROS will provide food to 20,000 individuals and recover 500,000 pounds through its Gleaning Program each year to aid in efforts to reduce food insecurity across Palm Beach County.
• Florida Outreach Center for the Blind (FOCB) — $60,000 for training for blind and visually impaired individuals
With Quantum funding, FOCB will provide training and support to 65 blind and visually impaired individuals each year. Services will allow clients to maintain their independence and preserve their health and safety.
• GCI Training & Empowerment Center — $25,000 for The Western Community Consortium (WCC)
Quantum funding will allow WCC to hire a GCI consultant to provide capacity building services to help the organization collaborate effectively, provide efficient programs and evaluations, and leverage grant funding dollars.
• Genesis Community Health Center — $300,000 for general operations support in the COVID-19 era
With Quantum funding, Genesis will continue to provide primary medical care to their patient population serving 6,000 individuals. They will also screen 900 patients for social determinants of health to better coordinate services and provide health education classes to 600 individuals.
• George Snow Scholarship Fund — $100,000 for Health Professions Scholarship Initiative 2020
With Quantum funding, The George Snow Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships to 12 low-income students from the Palm Beach County School District’s Medical Science Academy Program, with a focus on underrepresented backgrounds in the health care pipeline. They will also provide support and supplies to help the students complete their first year of college and to eventually graduate with a health science degree.
• Grandma’s Place — $60,000 for Family Support Program
With Quantum funding, Grandma’s Place will provide after-school and weekend respite care for parents of special-needs children. The caregivers will experience lower stress-related illnesses while enjoying the continuation of care they otherwise could not have afforded. Children will improve health, including learning how to communicate more efficiently, thereby reducing the chances of unintended neglect.
• Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network (LORHN) — $50,000 for improving health outcomes in the Glades
With Quantum funding, LORHN will employ a community health worker who will be integrated into health and other settings to facilitate social determinants of health screenings for individuals living in Western Palm Beach County. Education, self-advocacy and linkage to resources will be provided for at least 100 individuals with identified social determinants of health/care coordination needs.
• Mental Health America of PBC (MHAPBC) — $94,288 for the Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS) Training Program Expansion
With Quantum funding, MHAPBC will develop a customized training curriculum for individuals seeking certification as peer mentors (CRPS) through the State of Florida Certification Board and expand the availability of skilled mental health professionals to community support centers located throughout Palm Beach County.
• Palm Beach County Food Bank — $25,000 for COVID-19 Food Purchase
With Quantum funding, Palm Beach County Food Bank will purchase 15,400 pounds of nutritious food, which will make an equivalent of 12,860 meals. This food will be distributed to their 130 partner agencies (food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters) that directly serve people in Palm Beach County.
• Palm Beach Habilitation Center — $26,000 for Connecting & Creating Healthy Habits
With Quantum funding, Palm Beach Habilitation Center will offer five, eight-week sessions of physical fitness and nutrition/cooking classes.
• Take Stock in Children — $25,000 for Quantum Foundation Scholars
With Quantum funding, Take Stock in Children will expand its current project model of one-on-one mentoring, college readiness, college retention and guaranteed two-year college scholarships to address the shortage of underrepresented groups in the health career pipeline.
Groups funded by Quantum Foundation must meet strict grant criteria and must be classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All grants must benefit the people of Palm Beach County. For information about Quantum Foundation, or to learn about applying for grants, please visit http://www.quantumfnd.org/ or call 561-832-7497.