The Foundation

Established in 1985, the United Methodist Communities Foundation supports the missional focus of the communities. Acting as an independent entity, the Foundation helps and enhances the mission, philosophy, and ministry of United Methodist Communities. It has its own Board of Trustees who govern, establish broad policies and objectives, and oversee financial resources to support the charitable mission of United Methodist Communities.

The Foundation conducts various fundraising initiatives including annual and deferred giving, donor cultivation and relationship building programs, special events, and various community engagement opportunities. These efforts help raise financial contributions for to support the charitable mission of the United Methodist Communities.

The Foundation Leadership Team

Susan Sharp
Corporate Director of Philanthropy

Phone: 732-922-9802 ext. 2122
Email: ssharp@umcommunities.org
susansharpSusan brings more than 13 years’ experience in faith-based philanthropy. A Master of Public Arts in Philanthropic Studies from the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Indiana University complement certification as a Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Prior to joining United Methodist Communities Foundation, Ms. Sharp served Sand Cove Ministries as director of mission advancement. Her experience includes overseeing all phases of capital, major, annual and planned gift processes, expanding revenue and managing special events.


Gary Engelstad
Annual Giving Officer

Phone: 732-922-9802 ext. 2129
Email: gengelstad@umcommunities.org

GaryEngelstadGary Engelstad, annual giving officer, came to United Methodist Communities Foundation in June 2015. Gary brings a wealth of experience and expertise in developing strategic initiatives and understands the importance of creating value for our current, as well as, future donors. His 20 years of experience in senior housing overseeing sales, philanthropy, community resources, community television, pastoral ministries, social work, wellness and volunteer programs lend themselves to his role at the Foundation. Gary and his wife, Stephanie, have lived in Bradley Beach for the past 19 years after relocating from Washington, D.C., where he served at the White House and Treasury Department in the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations.


Rebecca Roe
Philanthropy Assistant

Phone: 732-922-9802 ext. 2128
Email: rroe@umcommunities.org
rebeccaroeRebecca Roe is the Philanthropy Assistant for United Methodist Communities Foundation, working from the Home Office in Neptune. She graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts in History/Government in 2012. After temping in the Foundation for several months, Rebecca officially joined the United Methodist Communities team in December 2013. Rebecca provides administrative support to the Foundation staff, supports the Foundation’s relationship with its Board of Trustees, and manages the Foundation’s donor database, handling all gift processing, reporting, and donor acknowledgment processes. She received her Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge bCRE certification in 2016. Rebecca can often be found writing notes on Post-Its® and reading historical fiction.


Rosalie “Rody” O’Rourke
Major Gift Officer

Phone: 732-922-9802 ext. 2133
Cell: 732-239-1896
Email: rorourke@umcommunities.org
rodys-headshotRody O’Rourke, major gifts officer, has been with the United Methodist Communities Foundation for over two years. Her role is to promote and steward the mission of the Foundation by building on the interconnections between our communities, churches, and local organizations. As a fundraising coach, Rody works closely with our residents and their families discussing creative ways to leave a meaningful legacy through major and planned giving. When Rody isn’t traveling the state meeting with donors, she can be found kayaking, singing with the praise band at St. Peter’s, actively involved with the Ocean City-Upper Township Rotary, and participating in volunteer work within her community.