Harry Hurley's new nickname is the "Mayor of the Afternoon," since his talk radio show moved away from its morning slot when Hurley joined WOND-AM 1400 early this year. But his big charity event is still the Hurley in the Morning Golf Open, to be held this year June 15 at Mays Landing Country Club.
It remains a great name, Hurley said, because while his radio show now airs from noon to 4 p.m, the tournament starts in the morning.
Each year the event has raised more money than the previous year, and Hurley is hoping to keep that trend going. But he's also branching out into other fundraisers.
"This year we did something a little different. I've been doing an annual dinner at Congress Hall (in Cape May) every year for four years in April," said Hurley, of Egg Harbor Township. "This year we had a silent auction and raised $10,000. That was all found money."
Last year the tournament raised about $80,000. It awarded about $10,000 each to four charities, and smaller amounts to many more, for a grand total of 66 nonprofits helped, Hurley said.
This year the main charities, which will receive at least $10,00 each, are the Shore Medical Center, the Ensign John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, and the Gold Foundation. The tournament made a $50,000, five-year pledge to Shore Medical Center, and this year's tournament will make the second payment towards that pledge.
Hurley said the golf event is now maxed out in terms of number of golfers. That means sponsorships, in which individuals or businesses give money to be identified as supporters on tournament signs and written materials, become even more important. Weeks before the event Hurley already had more than 20 in the Hurley's Hero category, each giving $1,000.
"The challenge has been how to continue to drive revenue to charities" through added events associated with the tournament, he said. He's looking at adding a pre-event comedy dinner next year, inspired by a similar event put on by Isabelle Mosca, of Ventnor, for the FACES Autism Support Group.
Martin and Sheila O'Boyle, of Longport, are back as banner presenting sponsors, Hurley said.
"Their support for the last four years has been amazing," he said. "They have made contributions averaging $15,000 to $22,500 each year and they've purchased our golfer gift bags, and paid for at least eight golfers to play each year. "
Hurley said he'd like to branch out to help cancer charities in a bigger way, since he lost both parents to lung cancer at an early age.
"Probably the nearest cause to me is cancer. I was 14 when my mother died. My father died right after I got married. He was too sick to attend the wedding, even though we moved the wedding up. I lost my dad when I was 20," he said.
They were both lifelong smokers, he said, in the World War II era.
"It was a time when doctors wearing lab coats were saying smoking was health," he said.
He and wife Margie started a scholarship in for nursing students at Atlantic Cape Community College about five years ago. It gives two, $1,000 awards each year in honor of Margie's mom Joan Fineran, of Ventnor, a nurse for 50 years in the area. Hurley's daughter Lauren is now a nurse, too, he said.
One of his proudest moments, he said, was finding out that a staff worker at Court Appointed Special Advocates of Atlantic and Cape May Counties kept her job because of a $10,000 contribution from the tournament last year.
"They were going to be laying someone off, but that person kept their job. That was pretty cool," he said, stressing his name is on the charity, but it's really the donors who make it all happen.
"It's amazing. People are extremely generous," Hurley said.
Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:
If You Go
Fifth Annual Hurley in the Morning Golf Open, 8 a.m. registration and 9 a.m. shotgun start, June 15 at Mays Landing Country Club, 1855 Cates Road, Mays Landing. Player fee $150; hole sponsor $250; luncheon and silent auction. For information and registration email HarryHurley@aol.com or visit http://www.harryhurley.info/harry/golf/golf2012/2012_registration_form.html/.