Skating Charity Heads Present Check to Fund

The organizers of last fall's An Evening With Champions figure-skating gala presented representatives of the Jimmy Fund with the largest check thus far in the benefit's history in a ceremony at Eliot House last night.

The presentation of the $164,000 check marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ice skating charity. Mike Andrews, executive director of the Jimmy Fund, accepted the check on behalf of his organization, which is a division of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston.

The record-breaking fundraising effort was largely the result of an increase in ticket prices for the November 4 to 6 event, according to Lee D. Sossen '95, a co-chair of the benefit.

Higher prices proved a profitable gamble; despite the hike from $20 to $25 for adults and from $10 to $12 for students, the event sold out on both Friday and Saturday and nearly sold out on Sunday, Sossen said.

This past summer the celebrity skating event attracted media scrutiny when two former fundraising chairs were indicted on counts of embezzlement.


But this year's benefit, which featured Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan, was deemed successful by all. In fact, many contributors increased their donations in honor of the event's historic silver anniversary.

Marc T. Rosen '95, another benefit co-chair, said increased corporate sponsorshipalso contributed to the rise in revenue.

"Our corporate sponsors committee chairs wereextremely successful in acquiring additionalsponsors for the show," Rosen said, listing Rolex,Samuel Adams and Gillette among the new recruits.

Corporate sponsorship plays a crucial role inthe funding of An Evening With Champions throughprovision of free goods and services and throughoutright donations, Sossen said.

CVS was the event's largest corporate sponsor,he said. In addition to making a substantialdonation, CVS also paid mailing costs, bankrolledthe advertising effort and underwrote the PBSproduction of the benefit by Boston affiliateWGBH.

The fund is overseen by the DanaFarber CancerInstitute, whose own resources are oftenear-marked for specific projects such asbreastcancer research. By contrast, the Jimmy Fundis a discretionary account that is slated to payfor everything from patient care to research forchildren and adults with cancer, according toLinda Fechter of the Jimmy Fund public affairsdepartment.

"The beauty of [the Jimmy Fund] is that it canbe used where we need it," Fetcher said.

"If we've accepted a family as patients, wewill never put a financial burden on [them],"Andrews added.

Andrews said that the fund benefits from agreat deal of continuity. Many former volunteershave gone on to work in the business world, andhave themselves become corporate sponsors.

Andrews explained, "What's happened here hasbeen an outreach for Jimmy Fund support by all ofthese Eliot House students who have been with usall these years."

In its quarter-century history, An Evening WithChampions has earned the distinction of being thesecond longest-running event held for the benefitof the Jimmy Fund, Sossen said. The event hasdonated a cumulative total of over $1.6 billion tothe Fund