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At Paul Mitchell Schools, the Giving Never Stops: Nationwide Network Closes 2021 by Raising $1.3M for Charity

The Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom was filled to socially distanced capacity as Paul Mitchell School leaders, Future Professionals, charity representatives, and guests celebrated the results of the Paul Mitchell School network’s 18th annual FUNraising campaign and 20-year anniversary.

“At a time when most people are understandably focused on their own struggles and challenges, I’ve never been prouder of our future professionals and school leaders for doing all they can to raise money and awareness for others in need,” said Dean and Cofounder Winn Claybaugh.

Each year, participating Future Professionals from the 100+ Paul Mitchell cosmetology and barbering schools voluntarily raise money for a variety of national and local charities. After a year and a half of COVID-related school closures and few opportunities to connect and serve others, they jumped at the chance to give in 2021. From August 1 to October 12, the annual FUNraising campaign raised over $1.3 million, bringing the Paul Mitchell School network’s 18-year total to over $23 million. The 2021 campaign benefited dozens of local nonprofits as well as the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation, which donated on the Paul Mitchell School network’s behalf to Best Friends Animal Society, Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (Cast), Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Food 4 Africa, Gary Sinise Foundation, Leeza’s Care Connection, No Limits, and Thirst Project.

2021 Gala Highlights

The International Ballroom’s iconic chandeliers and glittering stage provided the perfect backdrop for an event that felt like a family reunion – in formal attire. Co-hosted by Winn Claybaugh, Marie Osmond, and Leeza Gibbons, the event also celebrated and welcomed the 2020 and 2021 First 100 contest winners: the first 100 students and school team members who individually raised at least $3,000. The outpouring of support was so strong that this year’s contest acknowledged 110 winners. Thanks to generous event sponsors who donated more than ever before, the First 110 winners received a ticket to the Gala, accommodations at the Beverly Hilton, and a day of hands-on education with Redken Master Artist and celebrity stylist Ruth Roche, award-winning barber and cosmetologist Fern Andong, and
award-winning film and television makeup artist Debra Dietrich.

No Gala is complete without entertainment, and this one featured two powerhouse vocalists. Ava Paige, a 17-year old singer/songwriter from Nashville and the Children’s Miracle Hospital Network’s 2021 Tennessee Ambassador, sang an original song and shared her story about battling cancer. Later in the evening, Broadway and TV star Megan Hilty, known for playing Glinda in Wicked, Doralee in 9 to 5 the Musical, and Ivy Lynn in NBC’s musical drama Smash, brought the audience to their feet with her show-stopping performance.

The audience also heard from this year’s selected charity representatives. John Paul DeJoria, cofounder and chairman of John Paul Mitchell Systems, acknowledged the schools’ longtime support for Food 4 Africa. which has resulted in more than 34 million meals for orphaned children. To date, the Paul Mitchell Schools network has raised $1.1 million for Food 4 Africa, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation, resulting in more than 34 million meals for children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Leeza’s Care Connection provides support to those who care for the victims of Alzheimer’s and other memory-related diseases. Founder Leeza Gibbons said, “On behalf of the millions of family members who care for someone they love (maybe families like yours), we are so much more than grateful. You are unique in the hair dressing world, unique in the beauty industry, and unique in fundraising. We’re damned lucky to be worthy of being loved and supported by you!” To date, the Paul Mitchell School network has raised $1.3 million for Leeza’s Care Connection, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation.

Seth Maxwell, founder and CEO of Thirst Project and Legacy Youth Leadership, said, “In a year that has been so hard, when it would seem the least logical to give, I thank you for showing up and being such an incredible movement.” To date, the Paul Mitchell School network has raised $550,000, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation, to help Thirst Project provide clean water for hundreds of thousands of people.

Representing Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, cofounder Marie Osmond said, “The culture of giving that Winn and others have created is so awe-inspiring. Your efforts are blessing children’s hospitals to be able to address the most challenging health concerns today while preparing for those that come tomorrow. The funds you raised help children’s hospitals provide the best care by meeting their most urgent needs.” To date, the Paul Mitchell School network has raised $1.6 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation.

Representing No Limits for Deaf Children and Families, motivational speaker and deaf comedian Kathy Buckley said, “We never knew that we could reach out virtually until the pandemic happened, so that really has been a blessing. Because of you we have reached out to 45 states in this country, and we are working with 8 different countries.” To date, the Paul Mitchell School network has raised $1.03 million for No Limits, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation.

Gary Sinise Foundation Ambassador and wounded military hero Cedric King lost both of his legs from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Describing the customized smart home he and his family received from the Gary Sinise Foundation, Cedric said, “It’s given me an ability to live in a home that I never could live in. To reach things. To regain my life back.” To date, the Paul Mitchell School network has raised $1 million for Gary Sinise Foundation, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation.

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (Cast) ambassador Nicole Scherzinger was unable to attend the event but shared her gratitude in a special message: “During the pandemic, Cast saw a 185% increase in urgent human trafficking cases, and that number is holding steady. That’s why your fundraising support means so much: it has a direct impact to survivors who need it most.” To date, the Paul Mitchell School network has raised $505,000 for Cast, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation. Several individual Paul Mitchell Schools have also provided one-time scholarships for Cast survivors.

Local Charity Donations

Future Professionals and team members from Paul Mitchell Schools also support their schools’ volunteer efforts for organizations in their local communities. This year, participating schools raised nearly $150,000, donated through the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation to 96 charities of their choice. Their efforts benefited more charities and raised more funds than any previous year and brought the Paul Mitchell School network’s total local charity contributions to $878,000. This year’s recipients included boys and girls clubs, animal shelters and rescue groups, nursing homes and senior centers, organizations that help people return to the workforce, and domestic violence and homeless shelters, to name just a few. (Local fundraising and volunteer activities vary by school.)

Winn says, “People often ask why we promote FUNraising in our schools. We believe that service is the rent we pay for room on this earth, so it’s our job to provide opportunities for our students to give back. Our FUNraising campaign lets us give back to our communities, join together as a team for something important outside of work, and provide our students with opportunities to develop skills that will help them in their careers and in life.”

Andrew Gomez Compassionate Service Award

The Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation started 18 years ago in honor of a special Future Professional who had a magical way of knowing when someone was struggling, depressed, or needed a hug – maybe because Andrew struggled with mental illness and depression himself. Despite his meteoric rise to success, Andrew ended his struggle by taking his own life in 2002. Because so many people loved him and wanted to continue the gift he gave, his family, former instructors, and friends formed the Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation in his honor.

Each year, the Foundation recognizes people like Andrew who exemplify selfless, compassionate service and tireless dedication to their organizations and communities. This year’s Andrew Gomez Compassionate Service Awards went to the late educator and hairstylist Martin Parsons, school and salon owner Sharon Riser, educator Dennis Claybaugh, and celebrity stylist and author Dean Banowetz.

To learn how you can support or be supported by your local Paul Mitchell School’s philanthropic activities, visit www.paulmitchellschoolsfunraising.org.

About the 2021 Charities

Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation was founded to honor a successful Paul Mitchell School graduate whose struggle against mental illness ended tragically in suicide. The foundation helps cosmetology students, graduates, and cosmetology-related enterprises. Funds have provided educational opportunities, assistance after natural disasters (through our support of the PBA Disaster Relief Fund), and support in the fights against breast cancer, domestic violence, and other destroyers of self-esteem. Learn more at www.facebook.com/AndrewGomezDreamFoundation.

Best Friends Animal Society is dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. In addition to running lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 2,800 animal welfare groups, Best Friends operates the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Working collaboratively with shelters, rescue groups, other organizations and you, we will end the killing and Save Them All. Learn more at https://bestfriends.org.

Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation exists to both normalize and improve access to mental health services for African American communities. The foundation has built its reputation on demonstrating a deep understanding of population health and a timely response to challenges by deploying relevant initiatives and programs. Your contribution will provide resources and support to increase mental health services in Black communities across the country. Learn more at https://borislhensonfoundation.org

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (Cast) is a Los Angeles-based social justice organization that is working to put an end to human trafficking through education, advocacy, and empowering survivors to be agents of change. Providing 24/7 emergency care to help victims escape traffickers, Cast supports thousands of survivors and their families to heal from trauma and rebuild their lives with newfound freedom. 2020 was Cast’s most challenging year yet, as the pandemic threw human trafficking survivors into crisis. This pivotal time called for collective resilience, and Cast rose to the occasion by providing more intensive services and advocacy for survivors and their families. With a 185% increase in urgent human trafficking cases, Cast placed 98% of survivors in safe housing, and nearly 80% of graduated clients are either employed or attending school. This year solidified Cast’s commitment to its values, grounded in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, driving Cast to take bold action to support survivors and end human trafficking. Learn more at www.castla.org

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada, helping make sure every child receives the best possible care. We let our member hospitals decide how to use these funds, ensuring the most urgent needs are met, but we have our sights set even higher because we know that when we improve treatments and facilities, we can address the most challenging health issues of today while preventing and preparing for those to come. When we fund pioneering research, we transform how we care for children not just in their youth, but throughout their lives. When we make it easy and exciting for people to support local hospitals, our impact grows exponentially. Learn more at CMNHospitals.org and facebook.com/CMNHospitals

Food 4 Africa is committed to supplying at least one vitamin- and mineral-enriched meal each day to the children of Southern Africa, where the HIV/AIDS epidemic has left more than 11 million children orphaned. Of the 3.9 million orphans in South Africa, approximately 2 million have been orphaned as a direct result of AIDS, and countless others have been orphaned as an indirect result. Learn more at https://food4africa.org.

Gary Sinise Foundation was established under the philanthropic direction of award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, who has been an advocate of our nation’s defenders for 40 years. The Foundation’s mission is to serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. Its programs – designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities – serve America’s heroes and their loved ones 365 days a year. Learn more at www.garysinisefoundation.org.

Leeza’s Care Connection is there for families trying to answer the question, “Now what?” when there is a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other illness or disease. Through our free programs and services, we offer strategies and solutions to help family caregivers cope. Learn more at www.leezascareconnection.org

No Limits for Deaf Children and Families teaches underserved deaf children and their families the skills to succeed in school and in life through its renowned national theater program and educational centers, promoting awareness and advocacy worldwide. Deafness can often accompany feelings of isolation and loneliness and the pandemic has heightened these emotions with the onset of face masks and deaf children not understanding what is happening around them. Many of our deaf children received only 10% of instruction for over ten months with no captioning, compared to their hearing peers. No Limits fights for an inclusive and equitable education that removes systemic barriers for children with special needs and marginalized populations. No Limits encourages deaf children to dream big and know that they can achieve anything if given the opportunity. Learn more at www.nolimitsfordeafchildren.org

Thirst Project is the world’s largest youth water organization. In just 12 years, Thirst Project has mobilized millions of students and young people who have funded water projects in 13 countries, giving more than 500,000 people access to safe, clean drinking water – for LIFE! Learn more at www.thirstproject.org

About Paul Mitchell Schools

At Paul Mitchell Schools, we believe that education is an adventure and the learning experience needs to be fun and well rounded. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we quickly developed distance and hybrid courses to provide safe, uninterrupted, quality education and support to our Future Professionals and team members. Whether delivered in person or virtually, our courses focus on important theory, practical, and business skills with an emphasis on social and community responsibility. Our Learning Leaders are trained to draw out the artist in our Future Professionals and prepare them to enter their chosen careers as community-conscious salon, barbershop, beauty, and spa professionals.

Through our annual “FUNraising” campaign over the last 20 years, the Paul Mitchell School network has collectively raised and donated over $23 million in support of many charitable causes. Established over 40 years ago, the Paul Mitchell network is nearly 50,000 salons strong and in 81 countries worldwide. With the addition of more than 100 Paul Mitchell Schools, we’ve taken the world of cosmetology, esthetics, and barbering education by storm. Visit www.paulmitchell.edu to learn more.

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