Eric Kelly, president of Quantum Foundation in West Palm Beach is the 2019 Excalibur Award winner for Small Business Leader in Palm Beach County.
Ask Eric Kelly about the key to his success, and he’ll respond with one word: Faith.
As a young child growing up in economic poverty in Palatka, Kelly learned to care about others in Sunday school. But he also learned the importance of fighting for people and teaching them how they can live a quality life.
Those are skills Kelly taps every day in his role as president of Quantum Foundation, a West Palm Beach-based health corporation that manages a $150 investment portfolio and makes grants to fund initiatives that improve the health of Palm Beach County residents.
This year, Quantum provided grants to organizations such as the Caridad Center (to deliver free healthcare to indigent, uninsured residents of Palm Beach County), the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Pathways to Prosperity (to provide education, training and support to 50 families at or below 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines) and Project LIFT (to help 150 at-risk teens in Belle Glade).
In recognition of his business achievements and contributions to the community, Kelly has been named winner of the South Florida Sun Sentinel Excalibur Award as Small Business Leader of the Year in Palm Beach County.
Kelly said he has always “busted his butt” at his various jobs, which included working with at-risk youth, but attributes his success to what he learned from scripture. “I scripted my life based on what I learned in the Bible — integrity, hard work, all of the parables about working hard,” he said. “My rule of life has been the Bible.”
In his role at Quantum, Kelly is responsible for formulating strategy to deploy about $7.5 million a year to organizations that benefit the health and wellbeing of Palm Beach County residents. His focus is not only on providing immediate assistance to those in need, but also to teach them how to negotiate, navigate and advocate for themselves to remove barriers and enable them to achieve success.
The business achievement Kelly is most proud of is Northend RISE, a community revitalization organization in West Palm Beach created to transform lives and create opportunity for families living in poverty through access to quality education, employment opportunities, affordable housing, walkable streets and improved health and wellness.
“It has been the hardest work I’ve done,” Kelly said. “We’ve had to work with local municipalities, county government and the school district, as well as other foundations and partners. But Northend RISE for me is that greatest achievement — I get to see people elevate out of poverty, have social mobility and an optimal quality of life.”