Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coughlin: Jay Fund's Future Is Now; A New Capital Campaign for the Coach's Foundation Aims to Boost Its Longevity

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coughlin: Jay Fund's Future Is Now; A New Capital Campaign for the Coach's Foundation Aims to Boost Its Longevity

Article excerpt

Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

Even though he coached the New York Giants to the Super Bowl championship and recently signed a four-year contract extension believed to be worth $21 million, Tom Coughlin knows he won't be here forever.

So to help ensure that the work of the charity closest to his heart - the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation - continues, Coughlin's Jacksonville-based organization is launching its "Now and Forever" capital campaign to raise $5 million for an endowment.

"We want this foundation to go forward in the hands of my children and their children," Coughlin told the Times-Union in a telephone interview Friday. "We want it to be here forever because we often are the only ones who help these families."

He has been in Jacksonville this week attending two fundraising events for the Jay Fund.

Coughlin started the charity in 1996, and so far more than $2 million has been given to more than 1,000 families of children suffering from leukemia or other forms of cancer. Jay Fund dollars have helped Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia families keep up car and mortgage payments, utility bills, household expenses, and pay for expensive umbilical cord blood transplants, which often are a last-ditch effort to save a child's life but are not covered by most insurance policies. And sadly, fund dollars have also helped pay for funerals.

A $5 million endowment should produce about $250,000 a year for grants to families, Coughlin said.

It was one young man's courage, compassion and faith as he fought an eight-month losing battle with leukemia that inspired Coughlin to start the foundation.

Jay McGillis played for Coughlin when he was the football coach at Boston College. He played 10 games in the 1991 season before becoming ill around Thanksgiving Day and being diagnosed with leukemia.

"We experienced what Jay's family went through and how they rallied around their son," Coughlin recalled. …

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