Paul Palank Memorial Foundation
We will strive to facilitate creative, effective programming that addresses the immediate needs of children
in crisis while seeking long term solutions to the abuse, neglect and abandonment problem facing the
children of our community.
About the Foundation
The Paul Palank Memorial Foundation was formed to aid abused, neglected and abandoned children in
Dade and Broward Counties. The funding became possible because of the successful conclusion of a
legal battle that lasted more than nine years, ending in the United States Supreme Court, over the
wrongful death of Paul Palank. In addition to being a husband and devoted father of two small children,
Paul was a Sergeant with the Miami Police Department, who focused his professional and personal
efforts on helping children. Sadly, he was killed, along with seven others, in a train derailment wherein
CSX Railroad was found by a jury to have put enormous profits above human life. When the jury
punished the corporation with a large financial verdict, Paul's family contributed proceeds of the jury
award to this cause in an effort to honor Paul's values as well as Paul himself for his examples of
courage and commitment to the most vulnerable in his community, the children.
The Foundation in 2014 - A Ten Year Review
What has gone before for the Foundation started in his honor, and what is envisioned for our future.
We have granted for over 10 years now, always seeking to be effective while keeping in mind both Paul's
values--protecting some of the most vulnerable of children--and the values of the current directors--
innovation, collaboration and successfulness.
Now we have taken the time to assure that our future direction is equally informed and contemplative, as
the community of need matures and changes. We are grateful to the many community “experts” from
each county that educated us on the current issues.
The organizations we have been fortunate enough to work with have been impressive. From larger
organizations such as Kristi House or Kids in Distress, to smaller ones, such as KidSafe or Heart
Gallery, as well as a full spectrum in between, we have personally verified their exceedingly high
standards for helping the children, as well as their efficiency and intent on assuring the most amount of
improvement for the most children.
The individuals we have met, moreover, have shown themselves to be nothing short of amazing! It is not
surprising to find so many workers and volunteers making sacrifices, considering the type of people who
make children their life’s work, but even in such a caring community it has been wondrous to meet such
soulful, committed, and clever people. The people we have met, whether briefly or repeatedly, could teach
other communities many things about working in harmony and cooperation, and the value of being
unified in their common goals. They have been true professionals, regardless of their titles. Their
generosity in teaching us how to do this work both optimally and optimistically is deeply appreciated.
Now we are looking forward to the next stage in our Foundational Plan. While we intend to keep our eye
on the same problems and issues we have been committed to since our inception, we are also updating
our priorities and approaches in hope of being more pro-active in both comprehensive program
coverage, as well as innovation.
Sadly, we cannot do anywhere near all that we would like to, so we are sharpening our focus. So to share
the outcome of our recent, in depth discussions and analyses, we intend to continue our funding
priorities specifically for children of abuse, neglect and abandonment in Miami-Dade and Broward
Counties, with an eye toward preventative programs. For the mid-term, however, we are going to focus on
three areas: Foster Care; Life Skills training, particularly programs beginning as early as 14-years-of age;
and Aging Out Assistance, seeking creative programs that motivate success.
This is a difficult economic period, but we are looking forward to helping those programs that are making
a positive difference in the lives of these children. We hope to help “shrink” the problem.