Jerome and Brenda Jones – Generosity Transforming Lives at Paine College

Posted by painewebmaster | 06/23/2016 08:12 AM

“The need to support Paine College is real and the time to give is now,” commented Jerome. “I cannot imagine the Augusta community without Paine College.”


Story by Helene T. Carter

Augusta, Ga…At first glance, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome and Brenda Jones appear to be ordinary hardworking people quietly going about their business living everyday lives.  A closer look will reveal that they are not quite so ordinary. The Joneses have learned the secret to a happy and prosperous life. God is at the foundation of their existence while giving is interwoven throughout the fabric of their lives.  “We believe that God has truly blessed us and through our blessing, we owe it to God to give back,” said Jerome.  The Joneses were able to turn a start-up construction business into a successful venture that has served the Peach state since 1989.  He is especially proud of the 2002 Georgia District 8a Minority Business Person of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award exemplified successful minority entrepreneurship. 

Jerome attributes much of the success of J & B Construction Company to his wife who supported his vision to go into business.  He was employed as a construction leader for approximately 16 years and also served in a supervisory position at Plant Vogtle. During that time, he gained valuable experience about project management and construction.

Humility, meshed with generosity, is evident in the spirit of their giving. They don’t seek publicity for their generosity and are often shy about receiving recognition and applause during public events for their philanthropy.

Along with her experience in the classroom, Brenda served as principal of Brookwood Elementary School until she retired in 2012.  She had served over 40 years in the field of education.  Her belief that all students should have access to a quality education combined with his desire to pay it forward produced a healthy spirit for giving to Paine College.

Paying it forward is an ever-present mantra in their household. Jerome has served as a mentor to many contractors, especially those who desired to venture into the business. Although retired from the public school system, Brenda continues to mentor and steer young people on the path of pursuing an education.

“During the early days, I was fortunate to have people around me who shared resources that helped me to succeed,” said Jerome.  Someone introduced me to the U.S. Small Business Administration that played a key role in my education of managing a business.  I feel that it is my duty to impart the knowledge to those who truly desire to venture into entrepreneurship. God opened doors for me and now it is a privilege to open doors for others by giving to an institution that has served the community since 1882.”

Mrs. Juanita Harps, Executive Assistant to the President at Paine College, introduced the Joneses to her employer in 2003.  Serving on the planning committee for the annual Scholarship Masked Ball, Mrs. Harps invited the Joneses to make a one-time gift to the fundraising event.  The Joneses happily made a donation of $3,500.  However, the Joneses’ one-time gift evolved into multiple gifts to the College over the years. They have given over $130,000 of their personal funds and served as ambassadors by facilitating additional gifts from their friends and business partners.

“They are regular people like you and me,” said Juanita who affectionately refers to Brenda as her BFF. “I’ve witnessed Jerome and Brenda go out of their way to help others in need. They have always supported the church, the community, and the family.”  “They work as partners to ensure that they reach downward to give others a hand upward,” said Juanita.  Since the Joneses’ initial gift to the Masked Ball in 2003, the College has recognized them as the top donor or sponsor for the event.

Dr. Samuel Sullivan, President, said, “The Joneses perfectly fit the description of what it means to be philanthropists.”  “They give their time, talent and treasures while taking action for the common good.”

During one of President Sullivan’s public appeals to the community to support the Build it Back Campaign, the Joneses instantly responded with a gift of $15,000.  The ongoing campaign addresses immediate and critical needs of the College.

They are convinced that Paine College will never stop transforming lives.  “A Paine College education is a gift that keeps on giving to the community,” said Jerome. “It gives Brenda and me satisfaction and joy to see students or graduates who may have benefited from the likes of our giving and from the generosity of many others.” 

“The need to support Paine College is real and the time to give is now,” commented Jerome. “I cannot imagine the Augusta community without Paine College.”

Residents of Harlem, Georgia, they worship at Second Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Harlem. The couple serves on community and civic boards as well as other committees.

The Joneses are the parents of two daughters (Tamara and Valerie).  They have four grandchildren.

 

For more information about Paine College, contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 706.396.7591, or via email: Tjwilliams@paine.edu. For ways to make a donation to the College, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement located in Haygood-Holsey Hall, Room 115, 1235 Fifteenth Street, Augusta, Georgia 30901, or call Ms. Sunya L. Young at 706.821.8233.