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Paul Mitchell Schools Raise $1.5M for Charity

13th Annual Gala Features Beauty Industry Icons & Hollywood Legends Fran Drescher, Michael Jai White, Marie Osmond, John Paul DeJoria, Leeza Gibbons, Chyler Leigh, Kathy Buckley, Ruth Roche, Robert Lobetta, Martin Parsons, and More    

Beauty industry royalty walked the red carpet with Hollywood superstars at the Paul Mitchell Schools’ 13th annual FUNraising Gala, held May 15 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. The black-tie event capped off two and a half months of cut-a-thons, fashion shows, princess parties, and thousands of other “FUNraisers” held by over 14,000 future professionals and team members from the 110 Paul Mitchell cosmetology schools. This year, they raised over $1.5 million, bringing their 13-year total to $16.7 million!

Co-hosted by Celebrity Apprentice winner Leeza Gibbons and Paul Mitchell Schools’ Dean and Cofounder Winn Claybaugh, the Gala celebrated the top FUNraising schools and other major contributors, including the artists and educators who donated their time and talent to the campaign, and the winners of the “First 100” contest—the first 100 students and team members who raised at least $3,000 were invited to attend the Gala, a “meet and greet” photo op, and a day of hands-on education the next day with celebrity stylist Ruth Roche, Paul Mitchell Global Director of Film and Motion Takashi Kitamura, Paul Mitchell Global Artistic Director Robert Cromeans, and world-renowned inspirational speaker Tim Storey. It was also an opportunity to mingle with some of the industry’s leading icons and artists, including Robert Lobetta, Martin Parsons, Sam Brocato, Jeanne Braa Foster, Hollywood Hair Guy Dean Banowetz, Ellen DeGeneres’s hairdresser Laini Reeves, Dancing with the Stars Emmy nominee Melissa Jaqua, and Melissa Yamaguchi.

The evening included a hilarious comedy routine by Paul Mitchell School owner and standup comic Dante Carter, plus entertainment by the James Garner Tribute to Johnny Cash band. Winn and Leeza introduced the 9 charities and their representatives, including John Paul DeJoria (Food 4 Africa), Fran Drescher (Cancer Schmancer), Marie Osmond (Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals), U.S. Army Master Sergeant Cedric King (Gary Sinise Foundation), Michael Jai White (CAST, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking), Kathy Buckley (No Limits), Seth Maxwell and Supergirl star Chyler Leigh (Thirst Project). Magic Johnson (Magic Johnson Foundation) was unable to attend the Gala but he appeared the following day at the Paul Mitchell School Owners conference.


2016 Gala Highlights

Paul Mitchell Cofounder and Chairman John Paul DeJoria acknowledged the schools’ longtime support for Food 4 Africa, an organization close to his heart. To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $855,000 to Food 4 Africa.

Cancer Schmancer founder Fran Drescher delighted the audience with the story of how she got the idea for her popular TV show, The Nanny. On a more serious note, she acknowledged the schools for their longtime support. “I thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart,” Fran said. “You guys are awesome!” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $775,000 to Cancer Schmancer.

Representing the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, movie star Michael Jai White said, “By raising money for CAST, you are helping us empower more survivors and fighting to put an end to this horrible human rights abuse plaguing our world today. You are improving the human condition. I thank you so very much for your support of our work. Together, with your support, we can make sure that this generation of survivors is our last.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $150,000 to CAST.

Speaking on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, cofounder Marie Osmond shared the story of Jessica, a 13-year-old cancer survivor, “Through annual FUNraising events such as cut-a-thons, hair shows, car washes, to name a few, you’re helping make miracles happen for your local sick and injured kids. Thank you, again, for your continued support!” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated over $1.1 million to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Thirst Project founder Seth Maxwell spoke about the global water crisis and how the FUNraising campaign has helped. “Kids aren’t able to go to school because of the hundreds of hours they spend walking to get water,” Seth said. “We’re so tremendously honored to be a part of the Paul Mitchell Schools family.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $200,000 to Thirst Project.

In their after-school programs, No Limits helps deaf and hearing-impaired children from low-income families develop language. Kathy Buckley introduced Kimberly and Britani, two sisters who took four buses, five days a week to come to No Limits. “I’ve known them since they were 5 years old,” Kathy said, “not being able to speak a word. Now I see them speak in public, in front of you… You don’t understand what you do for these kids and their families. We’ve been able to open up a third program in Oxnard. We are getting kids off the waiting list, because my Paul Mitchell Schools family is making a family with No Limits.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $741,575 to No Limits.

Gary Sinise Foundation Executive Director Judy Otter said, “The Gary Sinise Foundation is coming up on our fifth anniversary this June. You were our very first foundation donor and our largest donor, and no other can ever have that place that you have: the amazing Paul Mitchell Schools community who gives back unconditionally. Paul Mitchell Schools support the RISE program, by building specially adapted custom smart homes and delivering them mortgage free.”

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Cedric King will soon receive one of those homes. During his third deployment in Afghanistan in 2012, Cedric lost both of his legs. Since his injury, he has earned numerous medals and awards, climbed mountains, run marathons, and launched a public speaking career. Cedric spoke about the many wounded heroes who return home unable to experience the freedom they just fought for. “They come back without legs, they come back home without arms, sometimes without families,” he said. “I’m a father and a husband. I’m a proud warrior. These medals that I wear, I earned them. But when I come home, I’m unable to live in the house that I have,” because of its stairs, showers, and small doorways. “The Gary Sinise Foundation understands that … I’m going to be able to start our life all over again!” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $585,000 to the Gary Sinise Foundation.


2016 Compassionate Service Award

 In recognition of her longstanding commitment not only her own organization but also to the annual FUNraising campaign, the 2016 Andrew Gomez Compassionate Service Award was presented to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals cofounder Marie Osmond. “Marie has consistently appeared and performed at multiple FUNraising Galas and the Paul Mitchell Schools’ student Caper events, creating unbelievable magic for everyone involved,” Winn Claybaugh said. Overcome with surprise, emotion, and tears, Marie said, “Andrew Gomez suffered a silent illness and this beautiful award means so much to me … My sweet son Michael had that same problem. My son took his life at age 18 and I have never seen such an outpouring of love than from Paul Mitchell Schools. I received thousands and thousands of notes from your schools, just saying ‘We love you’ … I still have them all, and I love you for that, and I will keep coming to your events as long as you want me because I’m very thankful.”


2016 Top 20 FUNraising Schools

Parisian Beauty Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School  $42,146
Paul Mitchell The School Jacksonville  $37,178
Paul Mitchell The School San Diego       $36,355
Paul Mitchell The School Tulsa          $35,897
Paul Mitchell The School Las Vegas      $34,000
Paul Mitchell The School Michigan $31,927
Paul Mitchell The School Fresno $31,000
Rudy and Kelly Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School $28,509 
Paul Mitchell The School St. Louis $28,469
Paul Mitchell The School Fort Myers $27,100
Paul Mitchell The School Fayetteville NC  $25,713
Michael's School of Hair Design, A Paul Mitchell Partner School     $25,492
Paul Mitchell The School Phoenix   $25,150
Paul Mitchell The School North Haven $24,563
Paul Mitchell The School Danbury  $24,520
Paul Mitchell The School Dallas    $24,091
Paul Mitchell The School Temecula      $23,803
Paul Mitchell The School Charlotte   $23,277
Paul Mitchell The School Chicago  $22,823
Paul Mitchell The School Salt Lake City $20,294


About the 2016 Supported 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, their families, and cosmetology-related enterprises. Funds have provided educational opportunities, hurricane relief, and support in the fights against breast cancer, domestic violence, and other destroyers of self-esteem.
  • Cancer Schmancer Movement, founded by Fran Drescher, is an education and advocacy organization dedicated to saving lives through prevention and early detection of cancer. By empowering ourselves and the people we love to become medical consumers, listen to our bodies, ask the right questions of our doctors, and seek second opinions, we can prevent cancer and, if we still end up with it, detect cancer in its earliest stages.
  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across the United States and Canada, which, in turn, use the money where it’s needed the most. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time, all in support of the mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.
  • CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking) aims to assist persons trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and slavery-like practices and to work toward ending all instances of such human rights violations. 
  • 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 6 million orphaned children. In South Africa alone more than a million preschool children do not receive sufficient food.
  • Gary Sinise established the Gary Sinise Foundation to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs that entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities. One such program is RISE (Restoring Independence and Supporting Empowerment), whose flagship initiative is a custom Smart Home building project for severely wounded veterans. Each home is customized to ease daily challenges and help restore independence with features like retractable cook tops, cabinets and shelving, elevators and more, all accessible via an iPad. 
  • Magic Johnson Foundation supports educational empowerment through HIV/AIDS awareness, college access, and digital literacy.
  • No Limits offers a one-of-a-kind national theatre group and an after-school educational program that enhance confidence and communication skills for low-income deaf children while providing underserved deaf children with the leadership and academic skills to be college ready.
  • Thirst Project is the world’s leading youth water activism organization. In just six years, Thirst Project has mobilized more than 300,000 students and young people who have raised over $8 million, 100% of which has been used to build freshwater wells in 12 countries, giving more than 260,000 people safe, clean water. 

Related Links

FUNraising website:

2016 FUNraising Gala photo album:


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. Our courses focus on important technical skills and business knowledge with an emphasis on social and community responsibility. Our learning leaders are trained to draw out the artist in our students and prepare them to enter their chosen careers as community-conscious salon, spa, and barbering professionals. Through our annual “FUNraising” campaign, we’ve raised and donated over $16.7 million in support of many charitable causes. We’ve built homes with Habitat for Humanity, fed thousands of African orphans, and supported the victims of AIDS, breast cancer, homelessness, abuse, and hundreds of other causes.

Established 35 years ago, the Paul Mitchell network is nearly 100,000 salons strong and in 81 countries worldwide; every professional hairdresser knows the Paul Mitchell name. Now, with the arrival of Paul Mitchell Schools, we’ve taken the world of cosmetology education by storm! Visit to learn more.

Written By: Gail Fink, Paul Mitchell Schools

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