Our History

Our History

Since 1988, Hackers for Hope has raised funds primarily through an annual golfing event held in Darien, CT. Each year, 12-20 golfers (or Hackers) play as many holes of golf as they can in a single day. Friends, colleagues and supporters sponsor teams or individuals through per-hole pledges or outright donations.

In the spring of 1986, Alfred E. Smith, IV and Edward D. Brown (Tim) were diagnosed with cancer while in their 30’s. As a result of their prognosis, each underwent treatment of chemotherapy or radiation and neither was able to return to work for the remainder of that year. Both members of the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien, Connecticut, Al and Tim spent the summer of 1986 on the golf course. Despite feeling weakness from their treatment, playing golf allowed them physical activity outside and refocused their attention away from their disease to a more positive attainable goal – improving their golf game. In 1988, Al and Tim wanted to do something to raise funds for the American Cancer Society while making use of their golf skills. Al and Tim enlisted Dr. Michael Moore of Sloan-Kettering and Bob Rex and put together a small “golf marathon” fundraiser. The original group of golfers played or “hacked” from sun up to sun down.

They call the event “Hackers for Hope” and Wee Burn Country Club fully supported Al and Tim’s efforts. They raised $47,000 for the American Cancer Society in that first year. Since that first “tournament” in 1988, The Hackers for Hope Program has grown exponentially. Incorporated in 1994, Hackers for Hope has refocused its mission to provide funding for local cancer research and treatment centers in the New York and Connecticut areas, such as the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut and Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center.

In 2010, longtime Hacker and cancer survivor Eric Kirby hosted the first Hackers for Hope Golf event and dinner in his home city of Pittsburgh. Eric’s friends and family joined together and raised funds for the University of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Institute for research on women’s cancers and for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for fellowships in pediatric oncology. Now held annually at the venerable Longue Vue Club, the event has grown each year. The Hackers are pleased to have expanded the reach of the organization and to have more support for such meaningful research and treatment efforts in the fight against cancer.

To date, Hackers for Hope has raised over $16 million.