The SMA Healthcare Foundation (the Foundation) honored Larry Kelly at its annual dinner celebration and auction on July 3rd, with the presentation of the Benny Parsons Award, followed by the surprise announcement of the establishment of the Larry and Joan Kelly Scholarship Fund. 

The Benny Parsons Award was presented in appreciation for Mr. Kelly’s remarkable commitment to SMA Healthcare, the SMA Healthcare Foundation, and our community. Mr. Kelly served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors since 1999, and after 55 years of service to the community, recently resigned to “turn some things over to the next generation”. 

“Presentation of the Penny Parsons Award, after all the years of service and significant contributions to SMA, just didn’t seem like enough” states Carl Lentz, IV, the SMA Healthcare Foundation’s Chairman of the Board, “we knew we had to do more to say thank you, to honor both Larry and his late wife Joan.”

The Larry and Joan Kelly Scholarship Fund will be used to provide a minimum of $1,500 annually to a student either already enrolled or enrolling in nursing courses with a focus on behavioral health. A lead gift of $10,000 was received from the Perryman Family Foundation to kick off the scholarship, and another $6,900 was raised with the auction of teddy bears at the dinner.  With each bear auctioned, a child of a mother in SMA’s WARM (Women Assisting Recovering Mothers) program will receive a bear of their own, and all funds raised go directly into the fund.    

Mr. Kelly was instrumental in helping with the initial discussions between the Foundation and Michelle and Vince Carter for the capital campaign that built the Vince Carter Sanctuary, which now houses WARM. Mrs. Kelly was a long-time volunteer with the WARM program, where she loved the children and shared with clients many stories of her career as a nurse. 

“Incorporating the auction of teddy bears for the kids at WARM in order to raise funds for a scholarship fund for nursing seemed like a great way to honor Joan” said Jennifer Secor, Executive Director of the Foundation. “and we are thrilled that the bears were such a great success.”

Larry Kelly receiving Benny Parsons Award from Carl Lentz