Advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need

2018 Matthew J. Quinn Youth Leadership Award Guidelines


In honor of the Cooke Foundation’s founding executive director, Matthew J. Quinn, the foundation created an award that may be given annually to one or more current Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars recognizing outstanding achievement during the prior two years (January 2016 through December 2017)*. Winners will receive a cash prize of up to $5,000. Such achievements might include the creation of a significant community program, the establishment of a student organization, or the development of an artistic or research project that supports a social cause. In all cases, it is important that the outstanding achievement touches the lives of others in meaningful ways and demonstrates impact. The Matthew J. Quinn Youth Leadership Award will be awarded by the Board of Directors of the foundation to the individual(s) selected. The foundation may distribute awards of less than $5,000 or divide the award among multiple recipients. The recipient(s) will be honored at Scholars Weekend 2018.

* Cooke Scholars who applied previously are eligible for reapplication. Recent winners are currently ineligible to apply again.



Any Cooke Foundation staff, scholar, or alumnus/a may nominate one current Young Scholar for the Quinn Youth Leadership Award. Young Scholars may also nominate themselves. Nominators must fill out a brief Nomination Form with a description of the achievement and the nominee’s relevant characteristics. The nominee will then be contacted by foundation staff to provide a Nominee Form, a resume or CV, and a letter of recommendation discussing the nominee’s achievement. Scholars may also self-nominate. The foundation will review additional supplemental materials on a case-by-case basis.  Select staff will review all applications and make final recommendations to the selection committee. This selection committee of senior staff will recommend the finalist(s) to the Board of Directors.



The foundation will select one or more prize recipients who best exhibit the following accomplishments and characteristics:

  • Extraordinary achievement in an academic field, the arts, or public service.
  • The traits that have marked Matthew Quinn’s life and career: concern for others, love of learning, creativity, integrity, and leadership.



The Quinn Youth Leadership Award of $5,000 is a cash award given directly to one or more recipients. The award may be used for any purpose and will not be considered in the determination of Individualized Learning Plan scholarship amounts.



For nominators

The Nomination Form deadline is February 2, 2018 and must be submitted to either the mailing address or email address listed below. If a Cooke Scholar wishes to self-nominate, they should send an email indicating so to the email listed below. Once received by the foundation, the nominee will receive an email from the foundation with a Nominee Form attached. 


For nominees

Nominees will be asked to submit a brief Nominee Form to the foundation. The nominee will be asked to submit their Nominee/Self-Nominee Form and supporting documents to the Foundation by March 16, 2018. The supporting documentation must include:

  • a resume/CV (students must submit a resume).
  • a letter of recommendation from a teacher, community leader or some other person who can write about the nominee’s achievement in specific terms.

The supporting documents must be submitted by the nominee, not the nominator. Any additional supporting documents a nominee would like to submit must receive prior approval. Please submit request for approval to

Nomination Forms can be submitted through:

Matthew J. Quinn Youth Leadership Award
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation                                     or
44325 Woodridge Parkway
Lansdowne, VA 20176                                                    

Please make sure to indicate “Matthew J. Quinn Youth Leadership Award” on the envelope or in the email subject line.

The Quinn Award will be presented at Scholars Weekend 2018.



Matthew-J-QuinnMatthew J. Quinn was born in Brooklyn in 1935. His parents were Irish immigrants with less than grade-school educations. Dr. Quinn’s father drove a streetcar; his mother cared for their home and raised three children.

Dr. Quinn’s life changed when he had the opportunity to attend Brooklyn Prep, a highly selective Jesuit high school, where the teachers helped him discover his love of learning. He went on to spend 12 years with the Society of Jesus, during which time he received three degrees: a B.A. in classics and an M.A. in English from Fordham University and a Ph.L. in philosophy from Woodstock College. He also served in the Society’s mission in the Philippines for three years. As part of his extracurricular activities while a Jesuit, he sang lead for the Woodstock Singers, a group of seminarians that gave frequent concerts on tour, appeared on T.V., and recorded for CBS Records.

After leaving the Jesuits, Dr. Quinn joined a Manhattan advertising firm and then began a distinguished career in higher education spanning 45 years. He earned two additional degrees—a Ph.D. in management of higher education from Boston College and a J.D. from Fordham University—and held significant positions at Saint Joseph's University, Iona College, the New Jersey Department of Higher Education, Boston College, and College of the Holy Cross. He became president of Carroll College in Helena, Montana, in 1989.

Dr. Quinn served as founding Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation from 2000 to 2010, leading the creation of the foundation’s scholarship programs. This position was an ideal intersection of his many interests and talents: his knowledge of higher education, his curiosity about many academic disciplines, his management and leadership skills, and his commitment to helping people grow and develop to their fullest potential. The foundation benefited significantly from his creativity, open-mindedness, wisdom, congeniality, strong ethical compass, and commitment to serving others. 

Dr. Quinn is also a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He continues to serve on a number of nonprofit boards and is a talented photographer. He is passionate about his family, Cape Cod, poetry, and chocolate ice cream. He enjoys singing Gilbert and Sullivan tunes and began studying the piano when he turned 70.   P 703-723-8000   F 703-723-8030   44325 Woodridge Parkway, Lansdowne, VA 20176
© Copyright 2018, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
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