Father of three John Quinn coaches girls’ lacrosse at Community School of Naples, where his two daughters attend. (Anna Nguyen)

MINI / Dad's Corner


Calling the Shots

Meet John Quinn, a Naples dad who gives back to his adopted town in varied ways.

Since relocating to Naples from Newport Beach, California, two years ago, John Quinn, with his wife Amy, created the nonprofit Fountain 33 Foundation, which focuses on mental health education, evaluation and treatment. The father of three also instills the core values of athletics to youngsters as the coach of the Community School of Naples (CSN) girls’ elementary lacrosse team. We recently spoke to Quinn—who is a real estate developer and investor by day—about family life, coaching and helping others.

ON RAISING A FAMILY IN PARADISE

“We visited town for my cousin’s wedding in 2010 and stayed at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. We loved Naples, and it stayed in the back of our minds for years. After my mother passed away three years ago, I convinced my dad that we should all move here. It couldn’t have been a better move for him—his grandkids used to be 3,000 miles away; now they are five minutes away.

One of the things we appreciate about living in Naples is that seeing people socially is so much easier than it was for us in California. You run into people at school, while having lunch, at parks, at events. We also like seeing how involved people are in giving back to charities.

There are so many family-oriented activities, and the outdoor living can’t be beat. When COVID-19 hit, we started riding bikes every morning, seven days a week, for several months. We now try for Saturday rides. It’s a great way to bond as a family. We also like to go out on the boat, but the bike riding has been such a blessing, as we get to see our kids blossom in their abilities.”

ON COACHING

“Sportsmanship and teamwork are the way that the world operates—it doesn’t matter what aspect of work you are in, these traits make an organization successful. Playing sports is the best way for kids to learn this. I think some of the best people out there who know how to organize, lead and manage, grew up being on teams.

When I coach the girls on the lacrosse team at CSN, I teach them that if you’re on the sidelines, you can’t pout, you have to cheer on your teammates. You want to win, but you also want to congratulate the opposing team, appreciate their competitive nature.

As a dad, it can be challenging to coach your child’s team. I have to make sure that we’re encouraging all of the girls equally and that there’s no favoritism. Madeleine’s another player on the team, who happens to be my daughter. It’s a balancing act.”

ON FATHERHOOD

“I love seeing the aha moments, when they (Austin, 3, Genevieve, 6, and Madeleine, 8) have an epiphany, and realize how to connect the dots. It could be anything—taking the dog outside, putting together a puzzle—it’s rewarding to see how they come up with their own approach and seeing that self-discovery play out.

During the pandemic, I’ve found it’s even more important to be actively involved in our kids’ lives. Even though they’re home more, they’re also more alone in some ways, since they aren’t doing their regular school routines or interacting with other students. We make sure to talk to our kids daily—ask how they’re feeling, what they’re concerned about and let them know they have a reassuring shoulder. You’re a disciplinarian, but you’re also their cheerleader, there to help them navigate their feelings and challenges.”

ON GIVING BACK

“My wife is a marriage and family therapist and working to complete her Ph.D. in mental health, so this is an issue that’s close to our hearts. In addition to supporting Lee Health Foundation’s Kids’ Minds Matter, we launched Fountain 33 Foundation.

There’s a major mental health crisis out there for all ages, but it particularly impacts children. And, it covers all socioeconomic backgrounds—mental illness doesn’t discriminate. We want to move the needle so all children have access to help themselves mentally. We’re interested in developing a mental health clinic for the county to provide additional resources for children, and we’re partnering with CSN to help launch a comprehensive mental health program for the school, including a new position that will roll out a social emotional learning program for the Lower School (pre-K through 5th grade) in the 2021-2022 academic year. In 2019, we made a donation to the school to help them complete their Fountain 33 Institute for Science and Environmental Research building, where there are science classrooms, offices for guidance counselors and environmental research, as well as other tools.

Education and mental health are core issues for us. Impacting kids at a young age and helping parents know how to better handle these issues is an ambitious goal. But if you get a hold of this early on, you can change the trajectory of a child’s life.”