The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, the nonprofit of former NY Giants Coach Tom Coughlin, is gearing up to host its 21st annual golf tournament on May 22nd and 23rd in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL at the renowned TPC Sawgrass. The tournament is near and dear to the foundation as it represents the beginnings of its fundraising efforts to help families tackling childhood cancer. At its first golf tournament, the Jay Fund raised $51,600. Last year they raised $500,000. The tournament has grown exponentially, allowing the Jay Fund to distribute over $6 million to assist families financially in New York, New Jersey, and Jacksonville, FL.
Cancer is expensive. Many two-income families often find themselves in a situation where one parent must limit his or her work hours, or the family must forego a second income all together in order to take care of their sick child. This makes the work of the Jay Fund critical as the need continues to rise. This past year the foundation dispersed in grants and allocated expenses nearly $1.5 million which is up 14% from the previous year. The annual golf tournament, drawing members of the sports world and various celebrities, is an important way for the Jay Fund to ensure that they can meet that need.
I asked Eli Manning, quarterback for the NY Giants and Jay Fund supporter, if he had a favorite memory from the event, and this is what he shared:
It's always fun going down to Jacksonville for the Jay Fund. It's a great tournament. I remember in 2012, coming off of the Super Bowl. It was a packed house and I think there's 36, maybe 39 groups. There's a 1A, 1B (for the shotgun start at every hole). Some of them had a C team in there. I'm thinking, "Hey, I'm the quarterback. Coach, he's got to put me off in 1A, get an early start." But I'm 1B, behind (ESPN's) Chris Mortenson, who I am thinking about a lot these days as he fights a fight he is going to win.
Luckily, I had my camera phone on me all day and filmed every single one of Chris' shots. I believe he lost 14 balls in the water; at least two on 17, on the island hole. That was fun. Every once in a while, I'll send Mort just a little clip of one of his swings that could not be any worse. Maybe a whiff, a skull, just a shank to the right, a top. He has them all in the bag, every bad shot in the bag - he has it. That was a fun day. It's all in good fun.
It's always fun (to play in the Jay Fund tournament). The night before we have a great dinner, and you're with all your teammates. Sometimes you get to see some ex-teammates. After dinner we hang out and the guys are telling old stories. It's very laid back, very fun and the guys are just relaxed and we're able to be ourselves, and tell a lot of fun stories and be around the old teammates and different people around the football world.
What Coach Coughlin does with the Jay Fund and helping out families who unfortunately have a child going through cancer is incredible. The Jay Fund helps those families with their bills so they can continue their lives, and a situation like that doesn't put them in such a bad place. It's unbelievable what he does with the families and the people he helps out. Tom is so passionate about it and he's done a great job. It shows. That's why he gets guys to continue to go down there and be at the events year after year because of his passion for it.
To learn more about the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, you can visit tcjayfund.org.