Road builders: Bill and Doreen Quinn invest time, expertise to benefit Catholic education, nonprofits

North Texas Catholic
(Jun 23, 2024) Feature

Bill and Doreen Quinn in their Arlington home. 
(NTC/Richard Rodriguez)

If Bill and Doreen Quinn built freeways, they would specialize in on-ramps and guardrails: on-ramps to help others get up to speed and guardrails to keep people moving in the right direction.

Although freeways are essential on road trips, the Most Blessed Sacrament parishioners in Arlington assist in spiritual journeys instead. The Quinns’ donations of time and resources to Catholic education and Bill’s investment of financial expertise to the diocese and other nonprofits have propelled the lives of faith for their children as well as Catholics here and across the country.

The couple has arrived at an unlikely destination given where they started when they married 54 years ago. However, considering their upbringings, their commitment to stewardship was quite foreseeable.

Both are products of Catholic education in the New York City area and believe the schools molded them into the persons they have become. 

Years of daily chapel and the “wonderful sisters” of the Ursuline School in New Rochelle formed her, Doreen explained. “It’s your core foundation, and the core is what carries and gets you through life somehow. If you go astray a little, it’s that foundation, that God foundation inside of you, that pulls you back.”

She graduated more than 50 years ago, but Doreen still visits the school regularly and helps fund scholarships and special projects.

Bill also attended Catholic elementary and high schools, and after graduation, he hoped to attend Fordham University, a Jesuit university in New York City. Family funds were tight for the oldest of six children of a police officer, so he earned tuition by selling Bibles door to door in the summer. 

After early work as an accountant, he joined American Airlines, which brought the couple and their four children to Arlington. In 1986, he founded American Beacon Advisors to manage pension funds for the airline as well as other clients.

Bill reflected, “God has directed my life and my career in some very strange ways that I would have never predicted. Part of that was giving me the ability to have some expertise in investments in a corporate world. Given what I’ve been given, I feel I do need to give back to both the Church and other nonprofits.”


On-ramps to education

Their four children grew up with their parents’ example of stewardship. Doreen, a schoolteacher, helped with religious education at the parish. The Quinns served as a sponsor couple for marriage prep. They remain extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, and Doreen brings the holy Eucharist to the sick and homebound.

They are now empty nesters, but when their children were home, attending Mass as a family was a must, despite busy schedules of sports, school activities, and business travel.

Their routine was to go out for breakfast after Sunday Mass — a distraction-free time to bond and communicate as a family.

It’s a practice they frequently enjoy with their 15 grandchildren now.

Because Catholic education was critical to their own lives, the Quinns have provided some financial support so that all their grandchildren could attend Catholic schools in the Metroplex.

But the couple didn’t stop there. They have funded scholarships at their alma maters and local Catholic schools and stepped in to assist with special projects. Bill’s outlook is simple. “You just observe and see that there’s a need, and we can do it.”

A Catholic education was critical to their success, and they want others — family or not — to have similar opportunities.


Guardrails to protect

After serving on the finance council of Most Blessed Sacrament, Bill was invited to join the diocesan finance council about 14 years ago. With his background, he was asked to oversee the management of the pension funds for priests and diocesan lay employees.

Don Wagner, who retired as diocesan chief financial officer in 2023, said “you couldn’t put a price” on the value of Bill’s oversight.

The retired priests of the diocese beg to differ. 

In January 2023, Bishop Michael Olson was able to increase the monthly pension amount that retired priests receive because of the growth and stability of the retired priest pension fund.

Wagner emphasized, “Proper management is so important. There are real consequences for the pensions of priests and retired lay employees.”

For these funds, a successful investment portfolio is not defined only by the bottom line, but by how the corporations achieve those results.

Under the guidance of Bishop Olson, Bill implemented an additional screening of companies to exclude those whose business does not align with Catholic values, plus those who make donations to nonprofits that do not align with Catholic values.

Wagner added that the Diocese of Fort Worth was one of the first to embrace Catholic values in investing and uses criteria even more stringent than the guidelines from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

After Bill retired in 2016, his volunteer service to the diocese, the Advancement Foundation, Catholic Charities Fort Worth, Southern Methodist University, United Way, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, and others almost totaled full-time work.

He has scaled back. “I’m trying to find and mentor younger people who can take these on at some point.” 


A Catholic legacy 

In February, Bill and Doreen were two of 15 Catholics in the diocese who received Benemerenti medals, an honor bestowed by Pope Francis in recognition of exceptional service to the Catholic Church.

Although the distinguished medal is precious to them, it isn’t the most important thing they hope to pass to the next generations, which include one great grandchild and another on the way.

According to the Quinns, the most valuable treasure is a life of dedication to family, to education, and to their Catholic faith. 

Doreen laughed and said, “What do we say to our kids? ‘Pray together and stay together.’”

Bill hopes the next generations will remember their example and will “follow a path along the lines of us, being faithful and involved in their churches and communities.”

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