June 16, 2005
Million Dollar Week for Jimmy Fund Golf, June 20–27
Thousands Tee Off to Support Cancer Research
When thousands of people participate in 15 golf tournaments held in three states during the last week of June, they will be putting, chipping, and driving to raise $1 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund.
Held in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, this week of charity tournaments will range from large to small and public to private. Part of Jimmy Fund Golf, they are among the 150 golf events throughout the year that together will raise $5.2 million to fund the fight against cancer.
There are 25,000 golfers, volunteers, and sponsors who make Jimmy Fund Golf what it is today — one of the largest organized golf programs for charity in the nation. It is also among the first. One of the tournaments held during this million-dollar-week will mark its 52nd year. The Variety Club of New England Golf Outing, which will be held at the Spring Valley Country Club in Sharon, Mass., started just a few years after the Jimmy Fund itself was founded, in 1948.
Another tournament held during the million-dollar-week has the distinction of having the most participants in the program. With 600 golfers participating on five courses in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Jeffrey Vinick Memorial is famous for its history, size, and spirit.
Golfers at the Falconhead Charitable Foundation Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament on June 21 will share the green at the Glenarbor Golf Club in Bedford, NY with Greg Norman and Jim Courier, along with supermodel Maggie Rizer, former NY Jets players Joe Klecko and Marty Lyons, Earl Monroe of the NY Knicks, and Yankee all-star Goose Gossage.
The majority of Jimmy Fund Golf tournaments are held in New England, though there are many along the East Coast and as far west as Washington state. The Jimmy Fund Golf office, with a full-time staff of eight, provides organizational support, and offers volunteer organizers tips on getting sponsors and running their events efficiently. Yet each Jimmy Fund Golf tournament has the mark of those who create it, run it, and play in it. Many of the tournaments offer golf enthusiasts the unique opportunity of playing at exclusive and private clubs. Others are corporate events that are closed to the public. Most tournaments include dinners and auctions. There are tournaments held in memory of loved ones lost to cancer, or in honor of those who have survived. From $1,000 to nearly $1 million, each Jimmy Fund Golf tournament has a different fundraising capacity, but each has the same mission, to raise money for cancer research.
Jimmy Fund Golf's history is unique. The program was founded by volunteers who took it upon themselves to turn the game of golf into a fundraising tool for cancer research. The Jimmy Fund did not solicit golfers to run tournaments or to play to raise money. Each volunteer organizer came with his or her own personal reason for wanting to give back to the Jimmy Fund and started creating charity golf tournaments one by one.
"What is so special and unique about Jimmy Fund Golf is that this $42 million fundraising program has grown entirely from the work of volunteers," says Suzanne Fountain, director of the Jimmy Fund. "Each season, we get more requests for new tournaments. It's extraordinary."
The growth and success of Jimmy Fund Golf has spurred other charities to form fundraising tournaments too. Now charities from MS to other cancer research organizations host golf tournaments to raise money. And, although Jimmy Fund Golf is the most senior, it is still a grass roots effort, as each tournament is run individually with only some guidance and assistance from the Jimmy Fund.
"Jimmy Fund Golf is a hole-in-one because thousands of people have come together on their own accord to play golf and raise money for cancer research," says Nancy Rowe, director of Jimmy Fund Golf. "The program is passion driven, and that's why it works. Golfers are passionate about golf, and Jimmy Fund Golfers are also passionate about raising money for cancer research."
Jimmy Fund Golf is sponsored by American Airlines, Top-Flite, Dunkin' Donuts, and the Community Newspaper Company. For more information about Jimmy Fund Golf, visit www.jimmyfund.org/golf.