Palm Health Foundation's B.J. & Paula Harris Fund to Help Rebuild Children's Development Center in Belle Glade, FL

Contribution to support First Haitian Baptist Church as they replace
dilapidated 1940s children’s center beyond repair.



The B.J. & Paula Harris Fund at Palm Health Foundation has made a $10,000 gift to The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller, Commandery of the Palm Beaches (SOSJ) to support the First Haitian Baptist Church of Belle Glade’s Youth and Children’s Development Center.  The gift will be used to support the construction of a new 5,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose facility for the children of Belle Glade replacing the current building, a 1940s house that is beyond repair and too small to meet the needs of the community.

The SOSJ has made a three-year commitment to raise the funds needed to build the new children’s development center.  The B.J. & Paula Harris Fund gift will help the new center meet its $500,000 goal and expand to meet the growing needs of the 120+ children who attend the center for after-school care.  Educational programs including reading, math, science and social studies are offered in English and Creole as many of the children and young teens attending are from Haiti and need bi-lingual support to help them excel at school.  The center will also offer supportive nutrition and mentoring for the children. With the new, expanded facility, the center hopes to become a true community hub for all ages, offering senior programming, cultural activities and space for a nursery and children’s area when church services are held.

“We know that the social determinants of health—conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play—can affect health and long-term outcomes,” said Patrick McNamara, CEO of Palm Health Foundation.  “The B.J. & Paula Harris Fund gift will help provide children with a safe, productive environment where they can experience the joy of learning, have a healthy meal and get exercise through play, contributing to a healthy youth and establishing life-long healthy practices.” 

The B.J. and Paula Harris Fund honors the memory of B.J. Harris who whole-heartedly believed in giving back to the community where he lived. His deep commitment to community coupled with a keen interest in health improvement compelled him to establish the donor advised fund at Palm Health Foundation. 

For more information about establishing a fund at Palm Health Foundation, please visit  To learn more about the SOSJ and First Haitian Baptist Church of Belle Glade’s Youth and Children’s Development Center please visit


About Palm Health Foundation Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. The foundation supports health equity for Palm Beach County residents of all backgrounds, heritage, education, incomes and states of well-being. Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $80 million in Palm Beach County health since 2001. For more information about Palm Health Foundation, visit or call (561) 833-6333.