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Every August, hundreds of people spend a day in the bright Southern California sunshine to cheer on fellow golfers hitting the ball for a good cause. Actor and comedian Will Ferrell lights up the greens with his golfing talent and inimitable sense of humor as host of the event. But this isn’t just any golfing tournament; every dollar that’s donated is given as college scholarships to cancer survivors and amputees through the organization Cancer for College (CFC). It’s golf with a conscience, though as founder Craig Pollard says, “For cancer patients, everything is life and death. So we try to make everything as fun as possible while also making a difference.”
For its first ten years, CFC was a scrappy nonprofit, where Craig Pollard, his wife Stacy, and six dedicated friends pulled together a golf tournament and gave every penny to scholarships. Then, one of Pollard’s USC frat buddies and CFC supporter from the start became famous: Will Ferrell. The organization took off with his help. It now employees two staff members and awards around 90 scholarships annually of $1,000 to $4,000 to kids heading to schools such as Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Texas A&M. Fueled by Pollard’s own amputations in 2006, the scholarships include amputees. Since the organization’s creation, over 800 scholarships have now been given totaling over $1 million.
To read more about Cancer for College's achievements, click here.
Will Ferrell hosts golf event fundraisers, puts his name and face on sunscreen, attends all of the organization’s events, and even goes into hospital wards to meet the kids battling cancer. “I’ve never seen so many kids with IVs laughing, quoting Elf, and kicking up their feet in happiness,” says Craig Pollard, founder of Cancer for College. “He makes a difference just by showing up.”
To read an interview with Will Ferrell (and find out how he might come to your house to make you a grilled cheese sandwich), click here.
A two-time cancer survivor and amputee, Craig Pollard vowed as a teenager to help others if he made it through chemo alive. As a counselor at Camp Ronald McDonald, he saw how cancer treatment sucked families financially and emotionally dry and left little left over to even think about college. In 1993, he started Cancer for College to give scholarships to cancer and amputation survivors—and to provide a personal example of triumphing over a terrible disease.
Read an interview with Pollard here.
Aside from volunteering, donations are the lifeblood of the organization since the money goes towards college scholarships for cancer survivors and amputees. With donation levels starting at $75 for the comedy night or $500 for the golfing events, it’s a great way to have fun while also supporting a great cause. And at the awards ceremonies following each event, donors can see the scholarship winners—both past and present—so that as Pollard says, “it’s not just a check going to an invisible charity, you get to see first hand where your money is going by meeting and talking to all the kids you’re helping.”
Click here to read more about how to help!