From October 15 to November 11, Sport Clips Haircuts stores across the country are hosting community events and accepting client donations on behalf of veterans everywhere in the name of educational opportunity. The sports-based hair salon franchise’s Help A Hero Scholarship program has raised $4.9 million to date, funding more than 1,100 scholarships for recipients representing all five branches of the military and more than 300 different colleges and universities. After raising $1.25 million in 2017, Sport Clips aims to surpass that number in 2018 with a fundraising goal of $1.5 million in 2018.
The Help A Hero program began in 2007 as a way to help service members connect with friends and family while deployed overseas, but was revamped in 2013 to its current iteration, a scholarship program that raises funds to help service members and veterans with the education costs not covered by the GI Bill. Sport Clips partners with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the nation's oldest and largest veterans organization, for the initiative. The VFW is dedicated to serving veterans through legislative advocacy and military and community service programs like Help A Hero.
“Estimates are that one million service members will leave the military over the next five years, so it's mission critical to help pave the way to civilian careers and essential employment,” Sport Clips founder, CEO and Air Force veteran Gordon Logan said. "Help A Hero Scholarships are changing lives by offering the support needed to ease the transition from the military and providing for veterans and their families as a way of saying 'thank you' for their service.”
“Our franchisees and our team members across the country are dedicated to this cause,” Sport Clips communications manager Amanda Palm said. “During the promotion, they collect donations from our generous clients and many go the extra mile by hosting bake sales, raffles, auctions, golf tournaments and more.”
The VFW distributes funds raised by Sport Clips to about 180 of 600 veteran applicants who are chosen by a number of criteria including military service, financial need and combat decorations. More than 1,000 recipients have used the $5,000 per semester scholarship to work toward finishing their education and taking the next steps in their post-military careers. Whether at state universities, private institutions, trade schools or in technical education, scholarship recipients have the opportunity to pursue careers in fields of all kinds to continue making a difference as civilians thanks to the VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program.
On Veterans Day, November 11, Sport Clips is donating $1 from every haircut service to the Help A Hero initiative. In 2017, the $1 haircut service donation accounted for more than $130,000 of the $1.25 million Sport Clips raised. Additionally, participating locations will offer free haircuts to active duty military service members and veterans with valid ID on Veterans Day.
“The Help A Hero Scholarship program is very important to Sport Clips because it’s a tangible way we give back and make a direct impact on the lives of the scholarship recipients,” Palm said. “We repeatedly hear directly from recipients how these scholarships allow them to focus more on their schoolwork, spend more time with their families and avoid taking on educational debt.”