Tallahassee Man Pays it Forward to Help The Homeless

By: Lee Gordon Email
By: Lee Gordon Email

30 Years ago Rick Kearney was angry that he was transferred from Pensacola to Tallahassee. But now, three decades later. the CEO and President of Mainline is one of the biggest community activists in the Capital City and to list the number of awards he has won could take hours.

You could say Rick Kearney is a visionary, but that wouldn't be doing him justice. Maybe more of a prophet of sorts. In 1986 he left a job at IBM in Tallahassee. He did it to spend more time helping the homeless and in doing so, almost found himself out on the streets.

"When I left my real job, I had zero dollars and I had to live off the generosity of other people which I didn't feel to good about at the time. So having been virtually destitute myself, it gives you an indelible memory of what it's like to be out there without."

These days, Rick Kearney will never again have to live without. He decided to re-engage in the business world while continuing his public service. But his business, which is now the number one business partner to IBM, outperformed anything he could ever dream of.

"I just wanted to pay my bills, I had life issues, babies."

And now Rick Kearney pays his bills and the bills for many others. At last check, Mainline Industries is somewhere in the neighborhood of a 500-600 million dollar per year global company. It provides system software help for those who need it, but beyond that, it's a forum for Rick to help the entire Tallahassee community.

"I love Tallahassee. I love the people. I love what it brings, the environment."

Kearney could have taken his business anywhere. Atlanta and Orlando came calling, but he wasn't interested. What he is interested in though, even more than expanding his business, is helping the homeless in Tallahassee. And now for the first time, he's ready to unveil his plans about what he hopes to accomplish in the not so distant future.

"I have a secret. I have a heart for the homeless and I would like to be part of a major undertaking in Tallahassee that serves the chronically homeless, indigent, as well as those who are on the border line and need something to tip them over."


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  • by Jim Location: Tallahassee on Mar 18, 2010 at 12:26 PM
    I am a Board member of a local charity. Rick Kearney has supported our organization for the last two years. He has asked for no publicity or recognition. We help feed, shelter, and job place the homeless and less fortunate. This man is truly a Saint.
  • by Interesting... Location: Underground Bunker on Dec 14, 2009 at 08:38 AM
    George - don't you manage his properties?!? Folks, I always support charity efforts no matter who or what is behind it. At least he's using his own money and not mine like our buddy Obama. But get some perspective...see the whole picture for what it's worth.
  • by Sam Location: Tallahassee on Oct 16, 2009 at 05:49 PM
    Rick Kearney is hardly a saint. He is a heavy handed yet simple minded man who treats his company like a personal piggy bank. He takes credit for other people's work and is paranoid that the world is out to get him. It is unfortunate that due to his lack of scruples and morality, his wife will have to let the entire truth out in divorce court. There is no place in God's heart for greedy and self rightous people like him!
  • by rich Location: Tallahassee on Sep 28, 2009 at 07:32 AM
    Anybody ask him why he's leaving his wife and why this sudden PR campaign?
  • by Christine Location: Tallahassee on Sep 24, 2009 at 09:33 PM
    To Truthfully speaking: I am very Godly joyful that God sent someone like Mr. Rick Kearney to tallahassee, God could have sent thisman any where he wanted too, however He choose to send Mr. Kearney to Tallahassee!!!And it is people like you that get jealous and you want to do nothing and say everything wrong about a good situation! All I heard was good things about this man. Did you not understand when it was said he almost became homeless, too, b/c his heart was in the right place helping less fortunate people!!! But God step in on time lilke He does and said to Mr. Kearney, " You was a faithful servant over little, therefore I shall make you ruler over much!". Besides, Mr. Kearney was air through the article "Someone you should know" in case u don't know what this is- it is where someone who think you deserve to be 'Honor' acknowledge you and you yourself!!! There are many of important people from around Tallahasse on there (wctv.tv sponsors it). Give credit where it is due!thanx
  • by Truthfully speaking Location: Tallahassee on Sep 24, 2009 at 07:54 AM
    Truly sincere people who want to help just do it...no need for a public broadcast or announcement...no need for a self indulgent, meaningless news article. If he wants to help the homeless, then shut up and just do it. False modesty makes it appear this person has other motives behind his desire to help the homeless. What is it that he has to gain is more like it.
  • by George Location: Tallahassee on Sep 24, 2009 at 07:42 AM
    I met Rick in the '80s when he did computer work for the association management company I was employed with. I could tell immediately he was a Godly man. If individuals like him were running this country, instead of those hypocrites currently lost in the effort, we'd all have a better place to live. I'm thankful Tallahassee has been blessed with his presence. Thanks, Rick, for making Tallahassee a better place.
  • by Bob Location: Tallahassee on Sep 24, 2009 at 05:53 AM
    I've known Rick for years and everything in this story is 100% true. He's a great man, everyone LOVES working for him and he gives back so much.
  • by seen heard it b4 Location: tally on Sep 23, 2009 at 11:56 PM
    i notice they don't actually say what this man has actually done for the homeless and poor it is apparrent he helped HIMSELF TO MILIONS OF DOLARS. I don't know this man but i've seen plenty of what i call social preditors in Tallahassee that actually make thier living off the misery of the poor and the helpless. perhaps if this greedy man had not felt the need to take millions the homeless lady would actually have a home . these vultures cost every one money and cause untold misery. Its like goodwill most people think good will is a charity.. look at thier liscence they are a for profit business that essentially makes money by selling things to the poor that people think thye are donating to the poor they then grind thier foot on the back of the poor by say a hand up not a handout. what a crock. It's their, hand that is out and thier managers skim the finest of the goods to sell at flea markets setting thier own prices. remembe its only a few month to thnks-taeking day in tallk
  • by Patricia Location: Tallahassee on Sep 23, 2009 at 06:34 PM
    I don't know who this man is or where he is but God above knows we need an angel just as he is.... that is my daughter,who just turned 18 after having been in states custody for 10 yrs came and found me and to what avail as I am 44 have been basically homeless for the last 2 1/2 yrs due to being disabled,{I have no disk at 2 levels in my lumbar spine}an can no longer do manual labor... am trying will all I have to go to school at the moment but do you have any cue how hard that is when you are homeless. I just need a start and I think we could be self supporting.... Is there an angel out there?????? PLZZZZZZZZZ
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