By Lori Dougherty
Photography by Justin Knight, Bryce Vickmark
Since the earliest days of the Jimmy Fund, passionate and committed individuals have devoted their time, talents, resources, and relationships to raising money in support of a powerful possibility: curing cancer for everyone. A handful of these advocates over the years have held a leadership role now known as Chairman of the Jimmy Fund—including Larry Lucchino, the Dana-Farber Trustee, Chairman/Principal Owner of the Worcester Red Sox, President/CEO Emeritus of the Boston Red Sox, and Dana-Farber patient who has served as Chairman of the Jimmy Fund since 2016.
As lead ambassador and public spokesperson for the Jimmy Fund, Lucchino often seems to be everywhere at once, speaking at events and with the media, participating in the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance and the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai, visiting with patients in Dana-Farber clinics, and more. As a member of The Dana-Farber Campaign Cabinet, Lucchino has also provided guidance and philanthropic support to the progress of the campaign.
“I’m continuously impressed by the resilience and dedication of the entire Jimmy Fund community,” Lucchino says. “What we’ve been able to accomplish together over 75 years for cancer research and care at Dana-Farber—the benefits of which I have experienced firsthand—is nothing short of monumental. I can’t wait to see what the future holds as we continue to defy cancer.”
The precedent for this key leadership role was established by William “Bill” Koster, who in 1947 was executive director of the Variety Club of New England, a social and charitable organization connected to the film and entertainment industry. Koster was one of the organizers of the May 1948 radio broadcast that launched the Jimmy Fund, and became its founding Executive Director. Known widely as “Mr. Jimmy Fund” for his passionate fundraising and advocacy, Koster also served as a Dana-Farber Trustee from 1948 until his death in 1978. His son Stephen Koster, a Dana-Farber Trustee since 1976, carries on his legacy.
When Koster stepped down as Executive Director in 1977, the Jimmy Fund turned to Boston Red Sox radio broadcaster Ken Coleman, who had been a loyal Jimmy Fund volunteer for more than a decade. Coleman served as its Chairman until 1984, attending events across New England and engaging with the Jimmy Fund Councils to drum up support. In 2003, Jimmy Fund Golf’s Extra Mile Award was renamed for Coleman, who exemplified the award’s “above and beyond” spirit.
Perhaps one of Coleman’s most important acts as Chairman was recruiting his replacement, Boston Red Sox All-Star second baseman Mike Andrews. A committed volunteer since his rookie Red Sox season in 1967, Andrews served nearly as long as Bill Koster himself, retiring as Chairman in 2009. He helped to launch major programs like the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk, WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, and Jimmy Fund Golf, which are still going strong.
The awareness, participation, and philanthropic support generated by these uniquely dedicated leaders has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars raised for the Jimmy Fund over the past 75 years, accelerating Dana-Farber’s momentum in our mission to defy cancer for patients and families everywhere.