Adapting to our new virtual world and defying the odds of philanthropy in 2020

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute’s Community Partners Program consists of corporations, individuals and community groups that raise funds in support of the work being done at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. From corporate initiatives to local events, more than 400 Community Partners bring in significant dollars to further research, education and patient care at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and the OSUCCC – James.

The OSUCCC – James and Ohio State Wexner Medical Center also host and sponsor special events throughout the year. These are known as signature events. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many of these community partners and signature events to rethink how they continue to fundraise and have an impact. Many events made the decision to continue to do everything they can to raise important funds during this time in a way we have all become familiar with–virtually.

Faces of Resilience 2020

The 11th annual Faces of Resilience event was celebrated virtually on July 29. The virtual event raised nearly $400,000 to support The Ohio State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. Supporters were invited to a livestream event to learn how the department was able to transition and provide mental health services to our community in the midst of ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions set in place to protect caregivers and patients.

The Columbus Mac and Cheese Festival

The Columbus Mac and Cheese Festival would have celebrated its fifth event in fall 2020. Changing to a virtual event in the late summer, the NextGen James Ambassadors and event committee felt compelled to raise funds for the Adult and Young Adolescent cancer program at the OSUCCC – James. Fundraising opportunities included selling mac and cheese masks, and starting the #MacOutCancerChallenge. This year’s virtual fundraising efforts totaled over $26,000.

Step Up for Stefanie’s Champions 2020

The 5th annual Step Up for Stefanie’s Champions took place virtually June 6 – July 5, 2020. Registrants were able to participate any time during the month-long event initiative by choosing their own route to walk or run with family, friends and/or pets. More than $50,000 was raised for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.

Monroe County Alzheimer’s Golf Scramble

The Deb Schumacher Foundation and its officers hosted the 3rd Annual Monroe County Alzheimer’s Golf Scramble in mid-July. In order to be compliant with social distancing guidelines, the scramble cancelled its traditional evening festivities. Despite these changes, this event managed to raise $45,000 for the Deb Schumacher Family Fund in Alzheimer's Research at The Ohio State University. Deb Schumacher’s daughter, Allison Juszczak, reminisced on that gorgeous day in July as she said, “Friends really are the family that you choose, and we are blessed to call an entire village in South Eastern Ohio our family. Even though we lost mom this year, and we are smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic, the Monroe County Alzheimer’s golf scramble was amazing because of the people that help, play, plan, donate support and come together to celebrate her life and her memory. This event is necessary, not only for her family and friends to honor her, but to build hope for others also dealing with Alzheimer’s. My mom would have been so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Muscles for Myeloma

The Muscles for Myeloma 5K and 1 Mile Walk has been fundraising for multiple myeloma research at the OSUCCC – James for four years. This year’s event, like many, was converted to a virtual format, but the goal of reaching out to patients and participants to “build muscles for myeloma” remained the same. More than 700 people participated, with many survivors sharing that this annual event continues to motivate them to keep walking and moving forward through their treatment and diagnosis.

The Angel Open

The Angel Open Golf Outing hosted its 20th anniversary golf fundraiser at Oakhaven Golf Club on Aug. 7 to benefit the Angel Open Cancer Fund at the OSUCCC – James. For this milestone year, the outing hosted more than 200 socially distanced golfers during morning and afternoon tee times and raised $35,000, bringing the 20-year fundraising total to $645,000. The Angel Open was created in 2001 by Keith Hamilton, Bob Coonfare and Larry Wilson in memory of Keith’s sister Kelley Hamilton, Bob’s wife Judy Coonfare and Larry’s wife Jan Wilson. In 2016, the Angel Open Cancer Fund was created to allow the outing to support different areas of cancer research. Since then, event proceeds have supported research for colon, prostate, brain, lung and breast cancer.

Roosters Golf Outing

The Roosters Golf Outing reached the $1 million fundraising milestone as the company’s vendors and other guests celebrated 10 years of raising money for cancer research during Roosters’ socially distanced golf outing on Aug. 21. Each year, a dedicated group of mostly repeat guests gathers for a fun day on the course, a silent auction, a “Hen House” prize raffle and inspirational speakers—but the reason for the event is never far from anyone’s minds. “In honor of” signs throughout the course remind golfers of the cancer patients and survivors they are playing for. Next year’s event has already sold out. This event supports the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer and the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research.

Community Partners Events

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