14 Apr Quantum Foundation announces $1 million in COVID-19 Relief Funding
(West Palm Beach, Fla.) – Quantum Foundation has announced a $1 million funding package, to be immediately distributed to meet Palm Beach County’s basic needs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will go to multiple local nonprofits, funding programs providing rental assistance, financial assistance, and targeted COVID-19 vaccination education efforts.
Quantum Foundation is a health foundation that was formed with $135 million in proceeds from the sale of JFK Medical Center. Now in its third decade of community investment, the foundation has assets of approximately $170 million. Since its inception, Quantum Foundation has awarded $150 million to hundreds of Palm Beach County nonprofit grantees. Every dollar the foundation grants stays in the county to benefit local communities.
The foundation has evolved to become a valued strategic partner in grantmaking to Palm Beach County initiatives that improve access to health services, improve health systems, expand health education, and focus on whole-health initiatives.
Of the $1 million, $300,000 went toward the Community Health Workers (CHW) Program for COVID-19 response. A joint effort across organizations, CHWs are a bridge to hard-hit communities that are often skeptical about the vaccine. The CHW program is working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through education, outreach services, and contact tracing assistance.
Urban League of Palm Beach County also received more than $100,000 of funding from the $1 million grant for ongoing support for vaccine efforts and pop-up vaccine stations to micro-target underserved communities when vaccines are made available.
Quantum Foundation earmarked $700,000 to rental (housing) and financial assistance to be distributed to Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach.
The fallout of the pandemic has upended livelihoods, forcing homelessness rates to be on the rise in Palm Beach County. According to the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, the impacts have disproportionally affected minority communities.
“Health equity is the way forward, and these grants ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors are getting the help they need,” said Eric Kelly, president of Quantum Foundation. “Health inequities in underserved communities are longstanding, but the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the impacts of social determinants of health. We know that economic and social conditions influence a person’s health status, and that is why we decided to move forward with the $1 million in relief funding. We believe in a holistic approach to health, and the organizations receiving the support are aligned with that goal.”
Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches is running its Housing Stabilization Program, providing short-term rent/utility assistance, case management, budget counseling, and referrals. Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is using the money for its Rapid Response Eviction Assistance Program to provide legal housing representation. The organization provides tenants with legal representation through negotiations, mediations, settlement agreements, and up to $5,000 in rental assistance.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach is using its Hunger, Homeless & Outreach program to provide rental and utility assistance, benefit enrollment assistance and food as well as case management and referrals to clients. Part of the money it received from Quantum Foundation will fund a new position to help streamline the process of identifying needs and connecting to the correct avenue.
“Our goal is not to just give out money,” said Francisco (Frankie) Chevere, CEO/Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach. “Our goal is to help clients become self-sufficient and financially stable by taking care of their core problems, rather than the symptoms. We work extensively with those who come to us for help to identify needs and create a plan with doable steps on the path to success. We are concerned with every aspect of health, implementing a holistic approach by addressing every part of the client’s life, from referring clients to the Early Learning Coalition for reduced day care bills to referring a client to a therapist. It goes above and beyond handouts as we try to empower people to get to a better place and move forward. We provide help for the body, mind, and physical well-being.”
Catholic Charities can help people through homeless prevention programs before they are evicted. The Quantum Foundation grant will be put toward Rent and mortgage payments. “Most grants are for rental assistance only, so this will be a great way for us to help homeowners keep their homes,” Chevere said.
Leaders say they are seeing clientele from all walks of life. “We have helped flight attendants, psychologists – people from higher paying jobs who are not used to seeking out help, but have lost work from the circumstances surrounding COVID-19,” Chevere said.
Charlotte Lipscomb is a Catholic Charities client, benefitting from the Hunger, Homeless & Outreach program at the beginning of the pandemic. She and her husband had relocated to the area with her granddaughter, but her husband lost his job while she got laid off. Unemployment was not making ends meet. Lipscomb found a job at JFK Hospital, but they still fell behind on bills and their housing situation became unstable. That is when Lipscomb reached out to Catholic Charities.
“I reached Catholic Charities at a point of financial desperation, and they are a godsend,” Lipscomb said. “If I seek help, it is because I have no other option; my caseworker and her team have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the agency, and I honestly do not believe I would’ve gotten through if not for the help I received.”
Catholic Charities temporarily set up the family in a hotel, then referred them to a housing organization to find an apartment and even found them a connection for furniture. Lipscomb said she is paying it forward by giving back when she can.
Chevere said Catholic Charities always welcomes financial donations, but volunteer opportunities are also available with a range of duties.