Kelly's Brides for Kids

Kelly Marie McQuate loved the beach. She loved to sit and listen from our balcony as the stars lit up a show. There is something soothing about the powerful sounds of waves as they come crashing down on one another, and then roll under and back out to sea. It was as priceless as anything we had ever known together. It was here that she informed me, “I’m going to back to school when we return from Florida.” It would be difficult; she managed the family restaurant. But she didn’t care. She had her mind set and knew the future depended on getting a degree in business management.

It wasn’t the first time she was determined to get an education. As a single mother of three young boys, she made the time to graduate with a degree from Brown Mackie College in 2002. Later, as my wife, during one of our countless discussions about the future, she talked about how she was very concerned about our children’s education. She knew her children needed a good education to have a better future.

On our way home from Florida and to that additional education, Kelly was hit and instantly killed by a drunk driver. This enormous, beyond-imagination devastation left her three boys and one stepdaughter without a mother. In the wake of this tragedy, a foundation was formed to provide needed financial and emotional support to grieving Quad City area children who have lost a parent or sibling. The Ride With Kelly Foundation ( is operated by caring board members who knew and loved Kelly and want to help children through difficult times.

As time went on, I wanted to do more for Kelly’s memory. And I wanted it to be permanent, something no one could change, and something to last long after I was with her again.

The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend ( provided that avenue. After countless hours trying to decide what legacy to leave in her name, I remembered our conversations about education. And I couldn’t help remembering how much she enjoyed planning our wedding and being a bride.

The Kelly Marie McQuate Memorial Scholarship (KMMS) is an annual $500 to $1,000 award given to a Quad City area high school senior who has lost a parent. Currently, there is funding for one scholarship award per year.

Of course, anyone can donate, but future brides and grooms are especially encouraged. Often, today’s marrying couples come from relatively complete households, like Kelly and me, and they don’t need many of the traditional wedding gifts. (As the saying goes, “We don’t really need two toasters.”) These couples can make the scholarship fund a part of their weddings by asking family and friends to donate a gift in the couples’ name.

Like all endowments, KMMS depends on funding. It takes an endowment of approximately $25,000 to award one annual $1000 scholarship. But every little bit adds up, whether $1, $10, $100, or even more, as little or as much as donors can afford. And it’s a permanent way to help a teen who has lost a parent to continue their education and to help parents fulfill their dreams for their children’s education. One person can make a difference in a child’s life. It would be the way Kelly would want to be remembered - helping children


Our Mission:
The Kelly Marie McQuate Memorial Scholarship helps wedding guests give the most meaningful gift: fulfilling a departed parent’s dreams for their child’s education.

We at the 1 Marine 1 Life Foundation hope you will consider a donation to the Kelly McQuate Memorial Scholarship administered by the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend.  Please visit us on Facebook at

Donating to the scholarship is done through the CFGRB.  Please use the following information to make your donation:

Make Checks Payable to:

Community Foundation of the Great River Bend (or CFGRB is fine, too), with Fund Name: Kelly Marie McQuate Memorial Scholarship, in the memo line.

Gifts of Cash or Checks should be delivered to:

852 Middle Road, Suite 100
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Questions can be directed to:
Phone: 563.326.2840

Credit Card donations can be made at:
CFGRB’s “Donate Now” webpage, found at

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Several photos of Kelly