If you think mustaches are somehow creepy, old fashioned or just for men with fire trucks or police cars – think again! Mustaches are sexy (well at least in this case they are)! And the men I’ve met through Mustaches for Kids are hip, handsome, fun, and young professionals.
Mustaches for Kids started three years ago. Our friend Katie is the east region’s “head-honcha” of DonorsChoose.org, an online platform where teachers post much needed classroom projects and regular folks help fund them. Katie needed a fundraiser for DonorsChoose.org and thought mustaches would be fun! Our core group of 10 jumped on board, some begrudgingly. We thought we’d get a few friends to grow and we’d raise some money. That first year, the “few friends” became 70 young men. And “some money” turned into $55,000. What was most amazing – we tapped into a new, otherwise unengaged group of young men and introduced them to philanthropy. The majority of the men were in their early 20’s to 30’s, unmarried and without children. In all likelihood, they would not have started giving back to their community, least of all to the public school system, for another 10 years.
The first year, we enticed guys to grow with the prizes. The best and worst ‘staches win free beer for a year. This year, Dan Black, who won for best ‘stache didn’t even know there was a prize. In year three, we’ve found the men who are part of Mustaches for Kids did it for the camaraderie (we get together at a local bar every Thursday for four weeks), for the kids, and I guess because it’s silly. And thanks to our guys, they got 1,092 people to donate, raising more than $58,000 to help more than 26,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg students in high-need classrooms. (And the money and matching funds are still coming in!)
Through this experience, I’ve learned there are really two types of men out there: those who will look a bit foolish and grow a mustache to raise money for a charitable endeavor and those who won’t. I like hanging out with the guys who will. They’re more fun and they’re conscientious enough to care about others a little bit more than caring about their appearance.