By Steve Blanchard - April 08, 2021
Jonathan Graham has a passion for golf. He also has a passion for Moffitt Cancer Center. He is, after all, directly involved in the construction of the institution’s brand-new hospital currently under construction along McKinley Boulevard.
It made sense, he said, to combine two of his passions for a good cause that raised $50,000 for cancer research, especially noteworthy after a difficult year of COVID-19 isolation and social distancing.
“Moffitt is a leader in research and really doing some incredible things for cancer patients and the community,” Graham said. “When I learned about the cancer center’s George Edgecomb Society (GES) that supports research specific to the African American community, I was even more impressed.”
The GES was launched in 2017 so donors can support work that will address and eliminate cancer health disparities by ensuring equitable health outcomes among Blacks and African Americans.
Graham is African American and said Moffitt’s commitment to diversity is what motivated him to organize the Inaugural Hook & Slice Golf Tournament. He knows the funds will be used for research that can have a positive impact on the Black/African American community.
“I’ve been engaged with Moffitt for 20 years in different forms and fashions,” Graham said. “I’ve helped with donations in the past, I’ve had friends treated for cancer there and have been involved in construction projects. I’ve seen Moffitt’s commitment personally and after a year of possible fundraisers never getting to the finish line, I decided to just make it happen.”
The golf tournament was small compared to other tournaments, but it was very successful. Graham said that 44 golfers participated and helped raise the $50,000 that was donated to the GES. Even the winning team donated back the $5,000 prize to the cause.
Plans are already in development for future Hook & Slice Tournaments, Graham said, and one may return as soon as this fall to make up for the lost time of 2020. The next goal? $75,000.
Dr. B. Lee Green, Moffitt’s vice president of Diversity and Strategic Communications, accepted the check on behalf of the cancer center and the GES.
“The commitment from Jonathan on helping us address disparities is truly incredible,” Green said. “He said he was going to make this tournament happen and he made it happen, and he hit his goal of $50,000.”
Tim Adams, chair of Moffitt’s Board of Directors, thanked Graham for his donation during a virtual check presentation event.
"Jonathan Graham is really helping us maximize our impact on the community, especially through his recruitment of minority vendors on the new hospital. It’s a game-changer."- Tim Adams, chair of Moffitt's Board of Directors
“One of the best things about building the new hospital, from my point of view, is that I got to meet Jonathan, who I think is remarkable,” Adams said. “He is really helping us maximize our impact on the community, especially through his recruitment of minority vendors on the new hospital. It’s a game-changer.”
So far this year, the GES has raised about $800,000, Adams said.
“This money is really going to help us impact health disparities we see in the minority community,’ Adams added. “And I thank Jonathan for adding to that sum.”
While Moffitt and the GES will continue to do research in minority communities, Graham said HORUS Construction will continue doing what it can to ensure minorities have opportunities on large-scale projects like the new hospital’s construction.
“As a construction manager partner with Barr and Barr, we have the ability to develop a program where other small companies come out to the job site and see what’s going on,” Graham said. “We’re doing some diverse training and mentorship. We are going for a record on this project for diversity and inclusion in a community project – the whole team remains focused on that.”