Profiles In Philanthropy: These Roots Run Deep

Nellie Coyle Quinn founded the Sussex County Red Cross in 1917. She is so revered for her work at a crucial time in the county and its history that every year, hundreds of friends of the Sussex County Red Cross gather to award a worthy recipient, the Mrs. Joseph P. Quinn, Sr. Award.

Her son, Joseph P. Quinn, Jr., left an indelible mark on the Sussex County area as well. A very active alumnus of Notre Dame, Mr. Quinn served in World War II, as a trustee for his church, awarded member of the Knights of Columbus, leader in the American Legion, member of the Newton Rotary and the Andover Regional School Board of Education.

PIP BG Arbor Day
Consistent with his passion for serving others, Jeff digs a hole for some new plants outside The Harris Healthcare Center on Arbor Day.

Naturally, he followed his mother’s lead and volunteered for the Sussex County Red Cross, and served on the New Jersey Ethics Committee. He topped it all off with recognition from Pope John Paul II for his 42 years of commitment and support to Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta Township.

Nellie’s grandson and Joseph’s son, Jeff, is the director of community life of United Methodist Communities at Bristol Glen. It is abundantly clear that his ancestors’ legacy of giving and caring for those less fortunate is flourishing in him as well.

Jeff lives and breathes Sussex County. He grew up in Lake Lenape, attended grade school and high school in Sparta, and following college and postgraduate work, assumed banking leadership positions in the county. He lives with his wife, Lisa, who he met in Franklin while both were high school students.

In the early 90s, as the banking industry was going through turmoil, Jeff made a critical career change. His experiences caring for two elderly aunts motivated him to choose a career in helping seniors and their families through the inevitable challenges of aging. In 1998, he went to work for a company that helped the new Bristol Glen community in Newton come together — they enjoyed working with him so much that they asked him to join the team, where he has been for the past 20 years.

PIP BG Burgers
Jeff (third from right) helps at the barbecue grill during Bristol Glen’s Burgers with the Boss event in August 2018. Fellow associates, Miles Scott, dining services director (leftmost); executive director, Jeff Lisk (second from left); and Trevon Wilson, assistant building services director (rightmost); take turns cooking.

Jeff carries the passion for service demonstrated by his forbearers. He has dedicated years to the formation of Sussex County Community College, Newton Memorial Hospital and the Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council, to name only a few. But, he also has a real passion for supporting the United Methodist Communities Foundation.

“I support the mission of the Foundation,” Jeff says. “I see the good that it does for the Bristol Glen community. They are true to their word. It makes a real difference in the lives of our residents in need.”

What is his advice to other UMC associates? “There’s got to be one good thing to motivate you to do good for someone and I challenge you to pick that one thing and do it. The rewards that you would get from that would make you want to do it more.”

Nellie would be proud.

Gary Engelstad is Annual Giving Officer for the United Methodist Communities Foundation.