Jim Boland of Gloucester is known to many as the owner of four Fuddruckers restaurants on the North Shore. He is often recognized in and out of the restaurant from the commercials he has appeared in for the restaurants for many years on the Phantom Gourmet TV show.
More recently he has been getting much-deserved recognition for his long-standing efforts of giving back to the local community. Within the past seven months Boland has been recognized by the Red Cross of Northeast Massachusetts with its 2017 Enduring Hero Award and the Massachusetts Society of Clinical Oncologists with the “Audesse Award,” presented to an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution in the area of cancer care and treatment, patients’ rights, or cancer education.
Jim accepting the Audesse Award from the Massachusetts Oncology Association.
Boland has always valued the importance of giving back and supporting the community, it was about nine years ago, however, when he started directing much of his philanthropy towards charities that support cancer research and treatment programs.
Boland’s inspiration came from Dr. Eric Wong, a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). He was sitting with one of his best friends during his treatment sessions for brain cancer and quickly knew he wanted to do something to give back. Dr. Wong introduced Boland to Tom and Judy DeFosses of Peabody, the founders of A Reason to Ride, a bicycling event that that raises funds for cancer research at BIDMC. “Their energy and commitment to making a difference were so contagious that I knew I immediately wanted to get involved with the event,” said Boland.
“When Fuddruckers came on as the event’s presenting sponsor several years ago, A Reason to Ride became a legitimate fundraiser that Beth Israel now relies on each year to support Dr. Wong’s Brain Tumor Fund,” said Tom DeFosses.
Jim participating in A Reason to Ride.
The 9th annual event, which took place last September, was the biggest to-date and Tom DesFosses credits much of the success to Jim. “Without Jim’s leadership on the planning committee, donation of a BBQ lunch for the hundreds of participants and volunteers each year, and his financial commitment, I question whether the event would still be in existence today. It certainly wouldn’t be at the level it is without his dedication,” added DeFosses.
While A Reason to Ride is a signature event for Jim and Fuddruckers, it is one of hundreds of events the company supports. Fuddruckers makes donations to a variety of organizations ranging from local Y’s and Reid’s Ride to Merrimack College Athletics and Voices of Hope.
Fuddruckers also host hundreds of fundraisers, or as they like to call them, Fuddraisers, in their Saugus, North Andover, Reading, and Methuen restaurants raising an average of $50,000 each year for a variety of non-profit organizations, such as the American Liver Foundation, National Kidney Foundation, St. Jude, and various Relay for Life teams to benefit the American Cancer Society. Fuddruckers also supports multiple local school organizations, PTOs, scholarships, and youth sports teams as well as countless community groups each year.
Jim Boland is a quiet leader who believes strongly in giving back to the community without seeking any recognition in return. He is the first to deflect credit for his generosity and praise his wife and daughters for making everything he does possible.
He is also the first one to commend and applaud his more than 100 employees at Fuddruckers for giving their time and energy to support so many worthy causes.
At the 2017 Red Cross Heroes Breakfast, held at the Double Tree hotel in Danvers, Boland stated, “Everything we’ve done—and all that we plan to continue to do — is because we love doing it and we know we can make a difference. Now, more than ever, we all have to keep working to support those in need right here in our communities.”