Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation
The Skating Club of Boston is proud to have partnered with the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation on two separate occasions in 2017 and 2021. In December 2017, the Club partnered with the CARES Foundation for its Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer – Boston event. This event proved to be a record-breaking success with the Club raising $165,000 for the Foundation. Most recently, the Club again partnered with the CARES Foundation for the Grand Opening Celebration of its new facility in December 2021. The celebration consisted of a full weekend of events including a Frozen 5K, A Night of Stars ice show, and a Gala Dinner. Proceeds raised have gone to the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and local beneficiaries Mass General Brigham and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
These events proved to be a remarkable celebration of fundraising, skating and community, as well as an incredible reminder that the power of figure skating extends well beyond the ice rink. To read features on both events by U.S. Figure Skating’s Official Publication, SKATING Magazine, please select from the options below.
Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer – Boston
“The Skating Club of Boston and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation Join Forces and Break Records”
By Doug Zeghibe, Executive Director of The Skating Club of Boston
The Skating Club of Boston welcomed the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation to Boston, November 30 – December 1, in a remarkable celebration of fundraising, skating and community. For two days, Club members came together to not only raise money for the Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer – Boston event, but to prove that the power of figure skating extends well beyond the ice rink.
For those of you not yet familiar with its work, Olympic Champion Scott Hamilton created his eponymous Foundation out of his own experiences with cancer, and to take what he had learned from fighting the disease to help others across the country. The CARES Foundation’s mission is to support both cancer research and its survivors, and it established the Sk8 to Elimin8 series of events as a platform for every U.S. Figure Skating club to get involved. The CARES Foundation slogan “To Turn Cancer Upside DownTM” is truly its mission, and every member of its leadership team proved to be as committed and passionate and focused on its audacious mission, as Scott himself. They are a small, but impressive team, and they could not have been more generous with their time and support to make the Boston benefit all that it could be. They warmly embraced our event committee, and helped create an experience that was not only profound, but a lot of fun too.
We planned the Sk8 to Elim8 Cancer – Boston event to be multi-dimensional, and to take advantage of Club resources as well as all those available from the CARES Foundation. It included a two-month, on-line fundraising drive, an outdoor ice show and celebration at Boston’s annual tree lighting ceremony, Scott visiting children receiving treatment at both the Mass General Cancer Center and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a luncheon at the home of Club member Peter Lynch, and an on-ice celebration and ice show at the Club’s home facility on December 1st. It was a whirlwind of events, and an emotional, meaningful, and ultimately, uplifting journey for everyone involved.
Club management was initially hesitant to commit to a Boston fundraiser. Like a lot of clubs, our Club has a full year of regularly scheduled events, and we were not sure how adding in a major fundraiser at the end of the year between our send-offs for the Sectional and U.S. Championships would appeal to the membership. Would they be exhausted? Too focused on the competitive season? Distracted by the holiday season? Tapped out from other year-end fundraising appeals? We hoped we could raise the $25,000 we initially discussed with the Foundation’s leadership, but we weren’t even sure of that.
What we learned very quickly was that the shared experience of cancer is an unbelievably powerful stimulus. Close to 100 members signed up for the on-line crowd sourcing campaign in October, and raised $25,000 in a little over a week. We were astounded. And excited at just how wrong we had been. We increased our goal to $50,000. Then to $75,000. After that, $100,000. And then we stopped posting thermometers all together, and just let the membership decide the final effort. In the end, the Club raised a record breaking $165,000 for the Foundation, with at least 20% of the funds staying local with the Mass General Cancer Center and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Significantly too, 34 skaters raised a minimum of $1,000 each, and performed a solo program during the on-ice celebration. One coach even came out of retirement to perform a program with her students in a tribute to her sister who had recently passed away from the disease. It was just one of many moving experiences for us all.
I could not be prouder of the Club’s membership, its membership director, and our volunteer members who led the effort. I have been involved with figure skating in one way or another for a large part of my career, and this experience reminded me of something I learned leading the local organizing committees for several U.S. and World Championships. Don’t ever come between a skating volunteer and their mission! You are a formidable community, and once focused on success, you rarely miss. And in Boston, skaters and skating volunteers demonstrated to the larger Boston community the power and generosity of their sport. And now, maybe even to the country. I think we are all very proud of that.
I encourage the membership at every U.S. Figure Skating club to get involved and host a Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer event of their own. The folks at the CARES Foundation will provide the platform and road map for success, and meaningful support every step of the way. It can be done with little to no club resources too. Our Club is fortunate to have relationships with the City of Boston and connections with its medical institutions. But every club invariably has members with relationships to the community, including the media and your local medical institution(s). The Foundation’s on-line fundraising platform could not be easier to use, and provided a great home page for Club members to share their reasons for getting involved, personal photos, and check their fundraising efforts and those of their friends. And in the end, every one of your skater’s social media contacts will be become your most powerful tool of all.
Importantly, your club community will benefit as much as the CARES Foundation and your local medical provider will benefit from the proceeds. Our Club has a membership of over 800 members, most of whom are involved in one or more of the many U.S. Figure Skating disciplines. Everyone is doing different things and on different schedules. Some at different ice rinks. The unifying goal to raise as much money as we could, created a shared experience for everyone. People came together, and the event demonstrated the power of one to members young and old alike. It gave all of us the opportunity to make a difference and doing something great with own experiences with the disease. And in the end, this event touched our entire community because the disease itself has touched our entire community.
More information about the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and its Sk8 to Elimin8 fundraising events can be found at scottcares.org. or by emailing Nadia Kogeler, the National Sk8 to Elimin8 Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t underestimate your club. Identify a leader within your membership and think big! That’s all it takes. And it’s what Scott certainly did when he created the CARES Foundation.
This article was originally published in the February 2018 Issue of SKATING Magazine.
A Grand Opening Celebration of The Skating Club of Boston
to Benefit the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation
Letter from the Editor: ‘Things Don’t Just Happen, People Make Them Happen’
By Troy Schwindt, Editor of Skating Magazine
It was only fitting that one of U.S. Figure Skating’s original seven chartered clubs, The Skating Club of Boston, officially unveiled its stunning new facility in Norwood, Massachusetts, last month.
Coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of U.S. Figure Skating, The SC of Boston ceremoniously opened the doors to its $68 million, three-rink building during a two-night gala celebration that was attended by thousands of current and former members and dozens of figure skating’s past and present stars. The weekend’s activities were a benefit for the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and local beneficiaries Mass General Brigham and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
All those who hadn’t had the opportunity to see the new venue in the past year were awestruck by its unmatched amenities and grandeur.
SC of Boston Executive Director Doug Zeghibe observed everyone’s reactions as they enjoyed an ice show inside the plush 2,500-seat Tenley Albright Performance Center and strolled through the hallowed spaces of the Dick Button Trophy Room.
As he made his handful of speeches over the weekend, Zeghibe was reminded of a comment made by Albright’s husband, Gerald W. Blakeley Jr., who toured the facility with her prior to his passing last summer. Blakeley was an innovative developer whose work in commercial real estate, beginning in the 1950s, changed the landscape of greater Boston and had a deep impact nationwide.
“He was excited and animated,” said Zeghibe, who has served as the executive director of the club since 2011. “He said something to me that I repeated over the weekend. He said, ‘Doug, things don’t just happen, people make them happen.'”
Those profound words were never more true than when applied to how the Skating Club of Boston facility became a reality.
Almost 21 years ago, former Skating Club of Boston president Joe Blount and club member Ted Clarke were having dinner, discussing how the club needed to replace its beloved but aged one-rink building on the Charles River in Allston, Massachusetts, with something bigger and better.
“That idea was first sketched out on a napkin at dinner,” Zeghibe said. “It was first sketched out as a two-rink facility. Ted has since passed away, but Joe Blount [current chairman of the club] is the one person who has carried that torch for the whole 21 years.”
Over the next two decades, countless people volunteering their time and energy made the project happen, and the gala last month served as a celebration of that community spirit.
“We had a lot of Olympic, World and national medalists and champions come back to us for this event,” Zeghibe said. “A lot of people came because they had starred in Ice Chips over the years and made a connection with our club. But what we all realized and felt was that there is a national skating family out there spread across the U.S.
“The love and camaraderie that was in the building on Friday and Saturday was amazing. It was folks from around the country coming together to celebrate the sport. Sure, they were celebrating the club’s facility, but the energy was really the result of community, and a national community having a gathering place.”
Zeghibe emphasized that the club didn’t build the new venue just to attract more members and serve its own interests. He and Blount, instead, pushed to build the spacious performance center in order to accommodate larger events within the club and U.S. Figure Skating.
“We wanted a place figure skating and U.S. Figure Skating could count on,” Zeghibe said. “That includes ourselves. Over decades we’ve had to rent space for our big ice shows. We said we need to build this and make sure it’s comfortable for figure skaters and not just another hockey auditorium.”
That said, Zeghibe emphasized that the new facility was not going to be the only game in town.
“We are not here to grab business from other groups,” he said. “We are here to add to the options and opportunities. We don’t have the energy and manpower to grab every event on the planet. Nor do we want to. That’s not good for the sport. We want to help do our part.”
Zeghibe said the club has an additional 22 acres of land available in Norwood, on parts of which it could build housing and eventually a fourth rink.
But for now, The Skating Club of Boston plans to celebrate its new digs and add another chapter to its coveted history.
– This article was originally published in the January 2022 Issue of SKATING Magazine.
Ice Breakers: Stars Come Out for The Skating Club of Boston’s Official Opening Celebration
By Sarah S. Brannen, Skating Magazine
A bright constellation of skating stars gathered last month in Norwood, Massachusetts, for the pandemic-delayed opening of the new Skating Club of Boston facility.
The club welcomed back many of its own Olympians for a dinner on Dec. 3, including 1956 champion Tenley Albright, 1992 silver medalist Paul Wylie, and Sheryl Franks, Emily Hughes, Suna Murray, Tina Noyes, John Misha Petkevich, and Elaine Zayak. Also attending were greats Scott Hamilton, Sarah Hughes, Scott Allen, Frank Carroll, Tai Babilonia, Randy Gardner, Jojo Starbuck, Ken Shelley, Linda Fratianne and famed ABC skating commentator Doug Wilson, along with many other U.S. Figure Skating luminaries.
“It’s just stunning, isn’t it?” said Wylie, looking out at the arena. “I just look at that ice and I’m like, wow, this is so delicious, so inviting. It has so much potential. I’m really glad for the athletes who are going to come through these doors. It’s an incredible center of excellence that is maybe the nicest in the entire world.”
The event celebrated the naming of the Tenley Albright Performance Center, the main space of the facility, and the dedication of the Dick Button Trophy Room. Among the memorabilia on display are Button’s two Olympic gold medals and Albright’s Olympic gold medal and one of her costumes. Many other medals and trophies are on display, including those of Maribel Vinson Owen. Button had visited for a tour three weeks previously, but he was unable to attend the gala.
The next night, the club put on its first skating show since before the COVID shutdown. Proceeds from “A Night of Stars” benefitted the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation. Hamilton hosted the show, which starred Ashley Wagner, Mirai Nagasu, Max Aaron, Jimmy Ma, Ashley Lu and Misha Mitrofanov and the Haydenettes. The highlight for many of those present was a performance by Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, skating together for the first time since 2014.
– This article was originally published in the January 2022 Issue of SKATING Magazine.