Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Story Behind Glamour Gone Good

Did you know: US charitable contributions slumped 3.6% in 2009 as the recession crimped gift giving, according to an annual survey released in June 2010 that showed the steepest decline since 1974. The survey by Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University showed charitable contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations fell to $303.75 billion in 2009, from $315.08 billion in 2008. Moreover, foundation grants saw a sharp 8.9% decline to $38.44 billion.


I re-located to Boston from New York City last summer for my husband's job, in the midst of this awful recession. Unemployment rates were rising by the day and here I was in a new city with no contacts and no job, looking for new opportunities (to no avail), at which point I began contemplating launching a foundation that would award grants to deserving organizations (something I've been dreaming about doing for years). The only problem was that I'm not exactly independently wealthy. So, what was I to do?

During a trip to my new hair salon in Boston that August, I began chatting with my new hair stylist about the life I left behind in NYC and what lied ahead for me in Boston. In this new city, where I barely knew anyone, I had so many questions...and I found myself asking all of them to her! With my hair at her mercy, I found myself letting my guard down pretty quickly and developing an intimate relationship with a woman I'd barely met 30 minutes ago. When I got home, I felt so excited to have made a new friend and to have learned so much about this city so strange to me. That's when I realized that hair stylists, like manicurists, makeup artists and even masseuses, have this gift - or special power - that allows them to break down barriers with total strangers. Before I knew it, I started wondering: Is there a way to leverage these special powers for social good???


Shortly after our fateful meeting, the pieces of this puzzle starting falling together for me. After much thought and discussion with numerous friends and colleagues, I discovered there's definitely a way to help women’s and girls’ organizations raise funds during the recession by activating these glamour industry professionals and the small businesses that women swear by. There's no question that when a woman enters a salon or spa, she is there to spend money to look and feel good about herself and at the end of the experience, she leaves feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and confident about herself. So, what better time to ask that woman to make a contribution to help other women and girls feel good about themselves? The wallet is already open, the mind is already relaxed, and the woman is ready to take on the world!

With that in mind, the concept of Glamour Gone Good was born. I decided that by recruiting salons, spas and makeup artists to raise funds for charity by hosting in-house events and executing creative cause marketing campaigns, we could raise some serious cash for women’s and girls’ organizations each year.

We're a start-up like any other, building our brand and our network of supporters. Our goal is to have 1,000 glamour-makers raising funds for us by the end of 2011!!! We'll select three different charities each year. This year, the three organizations that stand to benefit from Glamour Gone Good are Dress for Success Worldwide, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, and Sister to Sister.

Dress for Success Worldwide is an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to more than 100 cities in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, the UK and the West Indies. To date, Dress for Success has helped more than 500,000 women work towards self-sufficiency.

Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) serves girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. GEMS was founded in 1999 by Rachel Lloyd, a young woman who had been sexually exploited as a teenager. GEMS helps young women and girls, ages 12-21, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and to develop to their full potential.

Sister to Sister: The Women's Heart Health Foundation is dedicated to preventing heart disease in women. It accomplishes this by increasing awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women, offering free cardiac screenings for early detection and treatment, and by educating that healthy lifestyle changes can reduce heart disease risk dramatically.

If you wish to support us, stop by!

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