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Long Hair, Do Care: When Friendship and Philanthropy Collide

August 22, 2016


Rochester is fortunate to be built on a community of non-profits and generous individuals. Which makes it the perfect city for a well-intentioned man-bun to kick-off Farley’s Friends, a newly formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization geared toward fostering philanthropic friendships in our community.

Farley's Friends

RAF member, local financial advisor, and serial volunteer, James Farley, had the simple idea to gather like-minded friends to raise money and increase the reach and resources of select nonprofit organizations. Since 2009, Farley has been hosting small-scale fundraising events in his spare time, but like any philanthropist, wanted to grow his reach. The premise of Farley’s Friends is simple: gather great people, create awareness about philanthropic giving, and raise funds to be granted to Rochester-area organizations.

Over the past eight years, Farley has become somewhat known for his charitable events and happy hours. In December 2015, to kick-off his annual happy hour fundraiser Farley’s Friends Give Back, he offered up his infamous man-bun to be chopped off by the highest bidder. Chopping almost 12 inches to the tune of $4,760, Farley donated the funds to the Open Door Mission of Rochester and to Rehema Home – an orphanage in Kenya. It wasn’t long after that the idea to cultivate a nonprofit organization that combines friendship and philanthropy was born.

Farley founded Farley’s Friends in April of this year as a way to a way to continually give back. With so many causes and non-profit organizations in Rochester, our region, and beyond, Farley wanted to provide an opportunity for anyone to become involved, discover new organizations, and support a variety of causes – whether once or on an on-going basis.

While this is a very big part of his life, it’s still secondary to his career. That’s not to say that the two don’t ever cross over. Farley has seen many of his clients become involved in the different organizations Farley’s Friends supports. One such client was so moved by his support of the Rehema Home that she started becoming involved on her own. She sponsored several children in the home and even took the initiative to write a letter to her own employer, who in turn donated to the orphanage.

Although the sacrifice of a man-bun is off the table for this year, Farley’s Friends will be hosting FOREforFOUR, a charity golf tournament on Monday, September 12, 2016, at Victor Hills Golf Club in Victor, NY. This is the first time the organization has hosted such an event and something that is becoming less frequent in the Rochester community. Many non-profits lack the staff or volunteers to support an event of this size, or have come to the conclusion that the work that goes into planning golf tournaments is often not worth the return. For Farley, though, to be able to support four distinguished regional charities – Causewave Community Partners, New York Warrior Alliance, Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley, and Farley’s Friends – is worth the work.

To show your support, participate or find out more information visit www.forerochester.org. All are welcome to participate in this inaugural FOREforFOUR Charity Golf Tournament.

James Farley and Farley’s Friends is supported by board members Alyssa Belasco, Steven Argento, and Phil Farley. You can catch James Farley and Alyssa Belasco speaking about FOREforFOUR in a recent segment on Good Day Rochester.

James Farley is RAF VP of Finance