WEST PALM BEACH — The board of trustees of Quantum Foundation, under the chairmanship of Ethel Isaacs Williams, recently approved 12 new grants totaling more than $1.1 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 $150 million, the organization’s focus remains on keeping Palm Beach County healthy. Their awards to date total more than $140 million and have impacted hundreds of local nonprofit organizations. Every dollar the foundation grants continues to stay in the county to benefit local communities.
“The most recent cycle of grants focuses on better engagement in health, greater access to resources for health, and stronger connections for healthy communities,” said Eric Kelly, president of Quantum Foundation. “We take an upstream approach to whole-health initiatives, and our funding reflects organizations with that mission.”
One of the 12 grants allocated for the second quarter of 2019 was awarded to Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, with $75,000 to support their Meals for Veterans program. Many of their clients are lower-income, isolated military veterans, ages 75-95, who are homebound. These clients have been paying for meals on a sliding scale, but this grant ensures they get nutritious meals delivered to them five times a week for free. With this program, Meals on Wheels plans to provide 7,800 free meals to current clients for a year.
“These meals are about more than the food,” said Pamela Calzadilla, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. “We base our program on four pillars: compassion, nutrition, quality of life, and independence. Quantum Foundation has been such a wonderful partner since we were established, and they truly care about our organization. We are a lifeline to our clients, and Quantum is helping us make an impact on our local seniors.”
Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches provides fresh, hot meals to those ages 65 and older who are homebound and living alone from Lantana to Tequesta and Royal Palm Beach.
“Food is the great connector,” said program recipient Capt. Douglas Randolph, a retired Marine. “The essence of the program is to help people, and that’s a great thing. I have my retirement fund I live on and use to pay bills, but I really rely on these meals by the end of the month, and it’s nice to have the meals every day.”
Other grants approved in this cycle:
• Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (serving Jupiter, Belle Glade, West Palm Beach and Lantana) — $100,000 for the Centering Pregnancy Palm Beach County program: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies will be expanding its Centering Pregnancy program to Jupiter and Belle Glade. This evidence-based model of prenatal care places eight-to-12 women of similar gestational ages into a centering group to meet for a total of 10 sessions throughout their pregnancy and the early post-partum period. Along with group sessions, the women spend part of their prenatal term with a medical provider for a personal health assessment and to develop a personal care plan. Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies has a network of care providers connect clients to additional services with available benefits.
• Legal Aid Society (serving all of Palm Beach County) — $25,000 for the Children’s Healthcare Advocacy Project. The Children’s Healthcare Advocacy Project ensures the ability to access medical, dental, behavioral, and mental healthcare for foster care, relative care, opioid-addicted, disadvantaged, dependent, and other vulnerable children in Palm Beach County. Through specialized legal representation, systemic advocacy, education, outreach and coalition building, Legal Aid Society is able to protect these vulnerable children and get them access to appropriate healthcare.
• Palm Beach State College (serving all of Palm Beach County) — $74,000 for the Math Jump for Medical Careers Pilot: Palm Beach State College (PBSC) offers incoming students “Math Jump,” a one-week intensive and interactive summer math immersion program designed to fortify students’ math skills to prepare them for the rigors of post-secondary course work. The program infuses career awareness and provides examples of workplace math. PBSC will enhance the existing Math Jump curriculum with a focus on developing student awareness, particularly that of black male students, of basic and physical science studies as a pathway to Florida Atlantic University’s pre-med program or toward other health careers.
• South Tech Academy (serving South Palm Beach County) — $35,000 for the Health Science Skills Lab program: South Tech Academy’s Health Science Skills Lab will provide hands-on training in their Practical Nursing and Medtech program for a traditionally underserved student population. By both extending the school day with the skills lab, and by providing real-time classroom interventions, medical science teachers will better prepare students for 21st century health science careers, internships and post-secondary education. The Health Science Skills Lab will increase student performance on healthcare industry certifications, resulting in 100% of their medical students earning at least one industry certification. This grant will provide the necessary medical training equipment and funding to continue training students after traditional school hours.
• 211 (serving all of Palm Beach County) — $50,000 for building capacity through volunteers and community awareness: 211 will continue to develop and build their well-designed program to increase their capacity, efficiency, and advance 211’s mission by recruiting more people into their volunteer program. The team at 211 will also be educating the community on mental health matters and suicide prevention through its Community Educator Program. The Community Educator will increase awareness of its life-saving mission to help prevent more suicides.
• Center for Child Counseling (serving all of Palm Beach County) — $200,000 for the Fighting ACEs program: Center for Child Counseling will continue their work to prevent and combat the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). They will equip important sectors of the care network that works with children in Palm Beach County with a strong understanding of ACEs and knowledge to provide trauma-informed care for families facing chronic stress. Center for Child Counseling, in partnership with other organizations, has released a White Paper that will serve as a springboard to educate specific sectors in the community in order to drive momentum towards further training about ACEs so that others can begin to use it as part of their everyday practice. Center for Child Counseling will also continue to provide evidence-based screening to identify ACEs in childcare, school and pediatric settings.
• Community Health Center (serving West Palm Beach) — $78,000 for Capacity Building: Community Health Center of West Palm Beach provides access to timely primary care services for 1,800 qualifying PBC residents who do not have health insurance. Services include a non-emergency, walk-in, primary care clinic; a chronic disease management clinic; a women’s health clinic; an eye clinic; mental health services; and a pediatric clinic. All services are designed to reduce avoidable or non-urgent emergency room visits among uninsured and underinsured residents and are provided free of charge. With the addition of its development and marketing manager role, Community Health Center will seek new relationships and cultivate existing ones in order to increase the center’s financial stability and overall visibility • Genesis Community Health Center (serving South Palm Beach County) — $100,000 for general operating support: Genesis Community Health Center, with primary care sites in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, serves as an access point to health resources and a medical home for the uninsured and underinsured in southern Palm Beach County. In 2018, Genesis provided care to 5,335 underserved patients and had 10,683 patient visits. Genesis will continue to serve as a medical home for the population that is uninsured and needs access to healthcare.
• Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine (serving South Palm Beach County) — $150,000 for Senior Smiles: The Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine (NSU) will extend its new Senior Smiles program that delivers weekly mobile oral screenings and denture adjustments by NSU dental students and residents, supervised by NSU faculty, who can treat minor oral issues and refer patients to dental clinics for more serious needs. Through a year-long trial period, NSU has identified a population in need of basic and, in some cases, extensive oral healthcare in the elderly population in Palm Beach County. Senior Smiles aims to change the way much-needed oral healthcare is provided to senior citizens across Palm Beach County. These elder adults currently lack access to oral care due to barriers such as transportation, income restrictions, and availability of trained providers. As Senior Smiles uses mobile dental equipment, it has the capability to greatly impact oral and general health of Palm Beach County’s elderly population by bringing this care directly to the patient. By providing oral health education and prevention to seniors, the amount of oral health and general health issues related to oral care is expected to decrease.
• Opportunity Inc. (serving West Palm Beach) — $31,350 for the Quality Health in School project: The Quality Health in School project will address unmet healthcare needs of preschool students and their families who attend the Opportunity Early Education and Family Center. Opportunity Inc. will bring on a school nurse who will procure medical and health education supplies for Opportunity’s new Quantum Medical Suite. The school nurse will have at least one appointment per school year with 90% of the students to screen them on the following health issues: BMI, vision, hearing, blood pressure, dental hygiene and scoliosis. For students who present with medical issues requiring the care of a physician, but do not have a usual source of care, the nurse will also make appropriate referrals to Florida Atlantic University’s Community Health Center. Lastly, the nurse will evaluate 90% of the students per school year in order to assess the students’ immunization status and provide or make a referral for needed immunizations.
• Orange Bowl Committee (serving Belle Glade) — $200,000 for phase two of the Pioneer Park project: The Orange Bowl Committee and Palm Beach County have partnered to revitalize Pioneer Park in Belle Glade. Both Orange Bowl and Palm Beach County committed $1.5 million for a total of $3 million, of which $1.875 million was spent to complete Phase I of the project. Phase I included the installation of a new synthetic turf field named Orange Bowl Field, an electronic scoreboard, an entry monument, and fencing.
The feature project of Phase II will be the new multi-use field house facility, which will contain a medical wellness room, restrooms, office for park support, locker rooms, and storage. The remaining projects for Phase II will be focused on building the seating around the field (shaded and unshaded) and cosmetic improvements. The project at Glades Pioneer Park will provide an improved recreational and cultural experience in addition to promoting health and wellness programming for the surrounding residents for both youth and adults. Enhancements made to the park will provide an opportunity for residents to increase physical activity, obtain necessary health screenings, and have access to a wide array of wellness activities to improve overall health. The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department has hired part-time employees to coordinate the activities that will be held at the field. Phase II of this legacy gift is projected to be completed within a 15-month timespan.
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.