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Meet the Board

Who Teaches Is Just As Important As What They Teach


Co-founder and Board Chairman, The Freedom Institute

Tom Grady

Tom Grady is an investor in kids, startup businesses, and the financial industry. His investments in the future include helping kids graduate from high school and college to enjoy great jobs and extraordinary lives, most recently including co-founding The Freedom Institute. Tom also invests in startup businesses (where most jobs are created) and in the financial industry and helps clients do the same. He is the CEO of Continental Equities Group, Inc. (an asset management and real estate development, construction, brokerage, and finance company), Chief Investment Strategist for PureAssets Management Company (a family office investing in global asset, wealth and real estate managers) and CEO of GradyLaw (financial industry law and consulting). Prior positions include Commissioner, Office of Financial Regulation (banking, finance, securities); President, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation; member, Florida House of Representatives; Commissioner, 2018 Florida Constitutional Revision Commission; member, SBA Investment Advisory Council; Chairman, Quest for Success (scholarships and college prep); Chairman, Florida State Board of Education; and trustee, Florida Gulf Coast University. Tom and his wife Ann are proud parents and grandparents and longtime residents of Naples, Florida.


Co-founder and Board Trustee, The Freedom Institute

Ed Morton

Ed Morton of Naples served as a Principal and Managing Director of the investment firm Wasmer & Schroeder & Co. He retired in 2006 after 34 years of service as the CEO of the NCH Healthcare System, a diversified healthcare holding company. 

He is a Florida native who was raised in Islamorada. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami, and a Master’s of Health Science from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Following graduation from Notre Dame, he served as a Captain, Ord, USAR from 1969-1972. 

Morton has served as a Board Member on several civic-minded boards serving the citizens of Southwest Florida. He has served four terms as a Trustee of Florida Gulf Coast University. Morton is a past Chairman of the Greater Area Chamber of Commerce. 

He has also served as Chairman of the FGCU Foundation and is currently a Member of the FGCU Board of Trustees. Edward is a seven-year member of the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida. He is also a past Chairman of the Partners in Education Program of the then Education Foundation (Champions for Learning).

In 2004, Morton received the Edison State College LIFE Award for his service to the field of education.


Co-founder and Board Trustee, The Freedom Institute

Tad Dekko

Tad Dekko is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist with a long history of leadership in various industries. 

Dekko’s career began in 1978 with the founding of Dri-Dek Corporation, where he served as Chairman and President. He continued his entrepreneurial journey by founding Kendall International (1984) and Kendall Products (1988), holding the Chairman and President positions in both companies. Iy 1992, Dekko became Chairman of Group Dekko and Dekko Foundation, further solidifying his commitment to building successful organizations. 

In 1993, Dekko co-founded Quest for Kids (later known as Quest for Success), demonstrating a growing interest in education and youth development. At this pivotal moment, he shifted his focus, leading him to establish the Quest Educational Foundation in 1994 and serve as its Chairman and President. 

Dekko’s dedication to youth empowerment extended beyond his foundations. He actively participated on the boards of several organizations, including Parents as Teachers, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Junior Achievement. Additionally, he founded the Youth Development Foundation and served as a Trustee. 

Dekko remained engaged in various initiatives throughout the 2000s. He served as a Director for Hodges University Foundation (2006) and joined the Advisory Board of the University of South Carolina (2010). 

Dekko continues to serve as a Trustee of the Quest Educational Foundation and has been a Board Member at The Freedom Institute, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to education.

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