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The Jimmy Fund

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The Jimmy Fund
Named afterEinar "Jimmy" Gustafson
Formation1948; 76 years ago (1948)
PurposeCancer research and patient care
HeadquartersBrookline, Massachusetts[1]
Larry Lucchino
AffiliationsDana–Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Red Sox

The Jimmy Fund, established in Boston in 1948, is made up of community-based fundraising events and other programs that benefit Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since 1948, millions of people have given money to the Jimmy Fund to help save lives and reduce the burden of cancer for patients and families worldwide.[2]

The Jimmy Fund holds fundraising events including Jimmy Fund Golf, the nation's oldest and largest charity golf program,[3] and the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk.[4] The Jimmy Fund is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox,[5] the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association,[6] the Pan-Mass Challenge, and the Variety Children's Charity of New England.[7][8]


In 1947, Sidney Farber founded the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The following year he launched the Jimmy Fund to raise money to support the hospital.[9][10] The fund was named after a patient who was named "Jimmy" to protect his identity – his real name was Einar Gustafson and his identity was revealed in 1998.[9][10]

On May 22, 1948, "Jimmy" inspired a movement on Truth or Consequences, a national radio program hosted by Ralph Edwards.[10][11] During the program, "Jimmy" was visited in the hospital by star players from the Boston Braves; the visit was arranged by future New England Patriots owner Billy Sullivan.[10][11][12] Listeners were moved to act when asked to send in money to buy Jimmy a TV so that he could watch the Boston Braves.[11][13] More than $200,000 was raised for the Jimmy Fund that year.[10]

Beginning in 1949, some movie theaters began showing a Jimmy Fund trailer before movies and asked audience members to contribute to the fund.[14]

The Jimmy Fund’s baseball origins later evolved into a longstanding partnership with the Boston Red Sox after the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953.[15][16]

In 1980, the Pan-Mass Challenge, a charity bicycle race, was founded to benefit the Jimmy Fund.[17] In 1983, the Jimmy Fund began holding the Scooper Bowl, an ice cream festival, in Boston.[18] Also in 1983, the fund began organizing golf tournaments to raise money.[19] In 1989, the fund began organizing the Jimmy Fund Walk, which runs in conjunction with the Boston Marathon.[20]

In 2002, the first WEEI Jimmy Fund Radiothon was held.[21] In 2003, NESN joined the event and simulcasted it around New England.[22]

In 2013, the Jimmy Fund held its first Big Ideas Contest asking the public to submit new fundraising ideas for the fund.[23][24]


  1. ^ a b "Contact Us". jimmyfund.org. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  2. ^ "Saugus residents to participate in Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk". Saugus Advertiser. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "Western Mass. Jeffrey Vinick Memorial Jimmy Fund golf tournament helps contribute to record-breaking $7.68 million raised for 35th season (photos)". masslive. November 15, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Serrano, Alejandro (September 24, 2018). "Walkers participate in 30th annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  5. ^ "Jimmy Fund cancels trip to Red Sox spring training over coronavirus concerns". WCVB. March 5, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  6. ^ Rattigan, David (September 10, 2009). "For police chiefs, this year's walk against cancer is personal". Boston.com. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  7. ^ "Help 'Strike Out Cancer' with the Jimmy Fund". Newspapers.com. July 29, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  8. ^ "He's alive and well". Newspapers.com. May 17, 1998. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Einar Gustafson, Jimmy Fund inspiration". Newspapers.com. January 23, 2001. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e "He's alive and well". Newspapers.com. May 17, 1998. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c "Jimmy Fund gets 50th anniversary gift: 'Jimmy'". Newspapers.com. May 17, 1998. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  12. ^ "A mystery story with a happy ending". Newspapers.com. May 17, 1998. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  13. ^ "Einar Gustafson '40s cancer survivor, famous as Jimmy". Newspapers.com. January 25, 2001. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  14. ^ "Dedham movie theater to raise money for the Jimmy Fund". Wicked Local. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  15. ^ Boston Braves team ownership history, SABR (Society for American Baseball Research), Bob LeMoine.
  16. ^ "Red Sox Replace Braves". Newspapers.com. April 10, 1953. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  17. ^ "Pan-Mass Challenge raises $39M for Jimmy Fund". AP NEWS. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  18. ^ "Annual Scooper Bowl benefiting Jimmy Fund returns to Boston's City Hall Plaza". Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  19. ^ Aicardi, Robert. "Frazier receives Jimmy Fund Extra Mile Award". Wicked Local. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  20. ^ "Thousands Turn Out for Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk". NBC Boston. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "'67 Sox backdrop for fund-raiser". Newspapers.com. August 23, 2002. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  22. ^ "$1 million is all in a day's work for WEEI". Newspapers.com. August 23, 2003. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  23. ^ "Share your BIG ideas with the Jimmy Fund". WCVB. March 4, 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  24. ^ Edes, Alyssa. "Jimmy Fund hopes Big Ideas game will have a big payoff - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved April 20, 2021.

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