Bridges Announces $100k Bequest and Sets Challenge Match

(above) John J. Hurley of Chatham, NJ

$100k Bequest and Sets Challenge Match

Bridges Outreach

Bridges is honored to announce a $100,000 bequest from the estate of John J. Hurley of Chatham, NJ. Mr. Hurley found his way to Bridges through former Board Treasurer, Bob Rowan, and founders, Geoff and Ginger Worden, formerly of Summit, NJ. Bob and John’s friendship during retirement was partially founded on a mutual connection to Bridges Outreach. Together they made numerous “Bridges Runs” to Newark. As John experienced the full impact of the Bridges Organization in action, he became a strong proponent of its work, ultimately working with Rowan and the former Executive Director, Lois Bhatt, to commit to this major gift.

Mr. Hurley was born in Glen Gardner before moving to Roselle Park, New Jersey. Having lost his parents early in life, he was raised by his godmother and her family as one of their own. After graduating from Roselle Park High School, he attended Rider University. He was also a US Army veteran. Professionally, Mr. Hurley worked for Wilkinson Sword, Inc. before it was associated with Gillette. While there, he was known for his attention to detail and respect of the family atmosphere. He ended his professional career as the Business Manager for Kent Place School. He managed the school’s finances with respect for the program and the wisdom of careful spending. It is there that he connected with the Worden’s, with whom he stayed in contact well after his retirement in 1997. Arlene Gibson, former Head of School at Kent Place, worked with John for nine years. She remembers him fondly as a man with a wry sense of humor who supported the school with care. “It is not surprising that John became involved with Bridges, a program in which the school’s faculty, staff and students worked both to aid the homeless and to learn from them. I am touched by his gift and applaud Bridges in the effort to match his generosity.”

Bridges is grateful for his commitment to our work, and we have begun the John J. Hurley Housing Success Fund with his bequest. This fund will help cover the cost of the voucher process, provide a basic care package, and extended transition support for those newly housed. Rich Uniacke, Executive Director, recognizes the long-term impact of this bequest. “Getting people out of homelessness and into housing, rather than shelter, is our highest aim. Keeping them successfully housed can itself be a challenging process which can last indefinitely. The establishment of this fund is meant to be a lasting tribute to the man who made this kind of impact possible.”

Bridges’ aim is to raise another $200,000 dollars to match this gift by September 30, 2021 and transform the lives of those we serve- covering the costs of the housing voucher process and providing some basic items to start a new home. Bridges has raised $96,000 of our $200,000 goal, and we are asking for your help.

To support the John J. Hurley Housing Assistance Fund and help meet our $200,000 match, donate at; send donations to Bridges Outreach, Inc., P.O. Box 1444, Summit, New Jersey 07901 in honor of John J. Hurley. For stock transfers and/or planned giving, please contact Liz Christou-Woodall at 908-273-0176 or

Founded in 1988, Bridges Outreach has actively supported people experiencing homelessness in New York City, Newark, Irvington, and Summit. Bridges works to end homelessness through volunteer driven outreach and case management focusing on health, housing, and independence. We form relationships with those experiencing homelessness while meeting their most urgent needs. With case managers at our drop-in center, Project Connect, in Newark, we have been the primary organization providing identity documents, access to health and social services, shelter, daily food, and connections to employment.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Bridges has sustained Runs in New York City, Newark, and Irvington and self-care access in Summit. Bridges has also committed to Street Outreach in Newark seven nights a week to provide food, clothing, PPE, and access to Covid-safe shelter. We have worked tirelessly to permanently house 30 clients with HUD mainstream housing vouchers and are working to prevent imminent homelessness with rental arrears support. Since April 2020 with our volunteers and case managers hard at work, Bridges has had more than 1,100 shelter placements, distributed over 35,000 lunches, and served over 8,000 people.

Bridges Outreach, Inc. is a NJ 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit Bridges’ website at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.