For those too young to remember, the link between charities and road racing was not universally embraced in the early years of the Running Boom. As the sport was finding its footing within the broader society, many race directors felt their events were still too fragile, and needed to focus all their attention and fundraising efforts on building their own events, not some outside agency, irrespective of how worthy it may have been.
New York City Marathon co-founder Fred Lebow was particularly adamant in his opposition to charity running. Yet in his battle with brain cancer, Fred famously ran the 1992 NYC Marathon with nine-time champion Grete Waitz to raise funds for cancer research. After his death in 1994, a charity team bearing Fred’s name – FRED’S TEAM – was started and flourishes to this day. As does Grete’s AKTIV AGAINST CANCER, an innovative program begun by Grete and Helle Aanesen in Norway in 2007 that ties exercise to cancer treatment. Grete succumbed to cancer in 2011.
Charitable giving tied to road racing expanded as the sport did. Race directors and runners alike came to embrace the sense of sharing that running represented. Tying themselves to local and national charities also gave races a civic headstart in procuring necessary city permits to close streets and generate public support. Especially over the last twenty-five years, the connection between running and charitable giving has become all but axiomatic, with American road races generating over $1 billion annually for various causes.
Of course, there are some events whose connection to the spirit of giving has been foundational. One such event is the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, which is truly one of the American road racing classics.
Begun in 1973 specifically to raise money for the Falmouth Girls Track Club by local bartender Tommy Leonard, the Falmouth Road Race has embraced its role as a focal point for giving in the Falmouth community for nearly half a century.
As the years rolled on, Tommy co-founded The Falmouth Walk, an annual fundraiser now in its 31st year that raises funds for 13 local charities and takes place on Falmouth race weekend at the Quarterdeck, the Main Street pub that Tommy called home in his retirement.
Even before Tommy passed away in early 2019 at age 85, however, efforts around town had begun to honor the great man and solidify the spirit of giving that defined his legacy.
In that spirit, Tommy’s Place was initiated in June of 2018 by long time Falmouth summer resident, Quincy native, and real estate developer, Tim O’Connell with the intent of raising funds to restore and rehabilitate the former Elm Arch Inn into a vacation home for kids fighting cancer, all in the name of Tommy Leonard.
But Tommy’s Place has plans to be more than a place for kids. After all, TL was a bartender through and through, serving thousands at the Brothers’ Four on Falmouth Heights – where he dreamed up the Falmouth Road Race in the summer of 1972 watching Frank Shorter win the Munich Olympic Marathon – also at the legendary Eliot Lounge in Boston’s Back Bay, and finally back in Falmouth again at the Quarterdeck.
TOMMY’S TAVERN at TOMMY’S PLACE
Memorabilia from all three of Tommy’s haunts will adorn the Tavern at Tommy’s Place. The barstool on the right end of the bar will be permanently Tommy’s. No one will be allowed to sit on that stool! His usual Sam Adams will be placed on the bar, inviting the parents to join him!
All this having been said, here’s our chance to contribute to TL’s legacy. Your investment will go toward the Tavern. Geared toward all the friends that runners/walkers have made because of their connection through The Eliot Lounge, The Falmouth Road Race, The Falmouth Walk or just sitting with Tommy at the bar. A great way to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Tommy Leonard!
NAMING OPPORTUNITY GIFT LEVEL # AVAILABLE
Platinum Sponsorship– 1 Available – $25,000 (1 of 1 RESERVED!)
Sponsor receives permanent naming rights for Tommy’s Tavern. Examples – Tommy’s Tavern by Sam Adams or by the Smith Family, etc.
Gold Medal Sponsorship – 25 Available – $1000 each
Gets you a “Seat at the bar” with Tommy. A permanent “Tommy’s” seat reserved at the corner of the bar in Tommy’s Tavern and your name will be on a plaque next to Tommy’s signature glass of Sam Adams beer.
Silver Medal Sponsorship – 50 Available – $500 each.
Your name will appear on a sign that will hang permanently below a plaque, containing a portion of the brass rail from “Cheers” that was presented to Tommy, recognizing you as one of the founding “best friends” donors of Tommy’s Tavern at Tommy’s Place.
Bronze Medal Sponsorship – 250 available – $100 each.
Your name will appear on a sign that will hang permanently inside of Tommy’s Tavern recognizing you as one of the founding “best friends” donors of Tommy’s Tavern at Tommy’s Place.
Have your own level? If you can do more or can do less, any donation is gratefully accepted.
To learn more about supporting these “Tommy’s Place” funding priorities, please contact us at:
Tommy’s Place Foundation, Inc. 90 Shore Ave., Quincy, MA 02169 617.799.5494 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.tommysplace.org and facebook.com/tommysplacefalmouth
Tommy’s Place Foundation, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3), all-volunteer, non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. EIN: 83-1069410
TO MAKE A DONATION TO TOMMY’S TAVERN AT TOMMY’S PLACE:
1) www.tommysplace.org/donate – Make a note “Tommy’s Tavern”
2) Venmo – @tommysplace Make a note “Tommy’s Tavern”
3) Mail: Tommy’s Place Foundation, Inc. 90 Shore Ave., Quincy, MA 02169 – In Memo “Tommy’s Tavern”
4) You can also contact Russ Pelletier directly to arrange payment in person 508.274.4703 or