While 2020 was different for many reasons, one thing that never wavered was the support of the Jimmy Fund Golf community, which helped raise $4 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute last year through Jimmy Fund Golf presented by Mohegan Sun. Across the board, the program’s volunteer tournament organizers showed incredible perseverance and resilience to fundraise for cancer research and care during a year like no other. Creativity was the theme of the summer to overcome challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many events successfully adapted their tournament days to bring supporters safely together on the course and adhere to local guidelines, others decided to expand their events beyond one day and offered participants the flexibility to play a round of golf on their own time.
In cases where it was not possible to gather in person, many tournament committees chose to continue their fundraising virtually, making appeals to their dedicated golfers, donors, and sponsors to raise funds for Dana-Farber’s patients and families during a time when their support was needed most. Some tournaments creatively added to their fundraising efforts by selling tournament-branded T-shirts and face masks, along with running auctions online. And instead of typical post-golf banquets, organizers pivoted to online video platforms to safely celebrate their fundraising success with their generous supporters.
Many tournaments, groups, and individuals also joined the new Jimmy Fund Golf Challenge to continue their fundraising in a fun and competitive way (See article on facing page).
During such extraordinary times, Jimmy Fund Golf is grateful to the thousands of volunteer tournament directors, committee members, donors, and sponsors for their steadfast commitment to the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber. In a year with many challenges, this community of dedicated golf supporters showed it will never let up in the fight against cancer.
New Initiative ‘Challenges’ Golfers to Think Outside the (Tee) Box
With many traditional golf tournaments canceled or postponed due to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jimmy Fund Golf Challenge was launched for the 2020 golf season as a way for golfers to get creative and safely fundraise without attending a “traditional” golf tournament. This new virtual initiative gave golfers of all levels the opportunity to play and raise funds their way—anytime, anywhere—in support of patients and families at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Some participants took this opportunity to play golf on a special day or place, while others decided to play more than one round in a day, all while utilizing their online fundraising page to share their story and easily fundraise. With its flexibility of play and no fundraising minimum, the Jimmy Fund Golf Challenge was the perfect way to give new and seasoned golfers alike a way to get involved and give back. Leaning on support from the program’s generous sponsors, participants were also treated to prizes from companies like Mohegan Sun and Callaway as they hit their fundraising goals.
As Jimmy Fund Golf’s flagship event, the Sunrise to Sunset Jimmy Fund Golf Tournament, was canceled due to the pandemic, many past participants took part in this new initiative. Golfers included top individual fundraiser Kathy Moore and her husband Kevin, who played two rounds at their favorite New Hampshire courses; Sean Toland and his group of friends, who played 44 holes in one day in memory of Sean’s father; Jon Iorio, golfing in honor of his son, Luke, a patient at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic; Richie Crifasi, a Dana-Farber pharmacist who hosted a virtual “closest to the pin” event in honor of his mother; Greg Fedynyshyn, who played 36 holes to raise money for the treatment that saved both him and his brother; and John Cronin, who played a round of golf on his birthday at the last course he played before he started treatment at Dana-Farber.
A few existing Jimmy Fund Golf tournaments rallied their participants and joined the Jimmy Fund Golf Challenge as well. Leading the way was the DefinitiveCares Charity Golf Challenge, which encouraged their employees to fundraise for Dana-Farber’s patients and families virtually. Other top tournaments included the Jim McNally Memorial Golf Tournament and the Steve Ronan/Tom McKay Budweiser Jimmy Fund Golf Classic, whose dedicated supporters continued to fundraise despite not being able to gather in person. In total, the Jimmy Fund Golf Challenge raised over $200,000 for Dana-Farber, funds that will make a lifesaving difference for adults and children with cancer during these difficult times.