Sag Harbor resident Joe Quinn has donated $12,500 to the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center on behalf of his daughters, Madeline, 11, and Olivia, 10, in memory of their late cousin.
Terming it a challenge grant, it is Mr. Quinn’s hope that the donation will inspire other families and businesses to support the cinema, a nonprofit that has made education central to its mission.
“It’s the holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — and they are so close to finishing that project and I wanted to do something for them because I live right down the street, I know my girls will use the cinema and I want them to know how important it is to give back to your community,” said Mr. Quinn in an interview last week.
It is also a way for Mr. Quinn to pay tribute to his late nephew, Cian Neary, who died in Quinn’s native Ireland in September at the age of 15 from a rare form of lymphoma.
“It feels nice to have the girls donate something important in his memory,” said Mr. Quinn, who owns Aran Construction in East Hampton.
Cian, the son of Mr. Quinn’s sister, Evelyn, was a gifted football player — soccer in United States — picked to play for a County Longford team, and was also a fan of Gaelic football. “He was a very gifted young kid,” said Mr. Quinn. “It was just bad luck of the draw.”
Despite numerous treatments, he added, Cian never complained. An avid pool player, he dreamed of beating his uncle — a former champion Billiards player — one day. One of their last moments together, Mr. Quinn remembers talking with Cian in a pub over the pool table, noting the young man had a tough go of it. “And he looked at me and said, ‘What can you do.’ And wouldn’t you know it, that day he beat me and I didn’t even let him,” said Mr. Quinn.
In addition to remember their cousin, Mr. Quinn hopes the donation also teaches his daughters the importance of giving back to the community you are a part of and perhaps this gift will inspire similar donations.
“I am fortunate enough to be able to do it and am at a stage in my life where it is important to me to give back to the community,” he said. “I want to instill in them that same value.”
“We are deeply, deeply touched that Joe and his family thought to make their donation a family legacy by contributing to the Cinema. It is support like this that make this project so meaningful and worthwhile,” Cinema Board president April Gornik said this week.
Supporters of the Cinema may donate and join in honoring the Quinn and Neary families by visiting sagharborcinema.org/donate or by sending a check to: Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, P.O. Box 152, Sag Harbor, NY 11963 and writing “Quinn Fund” in the memo field.