Held this year at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, CA, the Paul Mitchell Schools 14th annual FUNraising Gala was a star-studded celebration attended by representatives and celebrity spokespeople from this year’s 10 supported charities, along with students and staff from the schools, plus families, friends, and fans from the entertainment and beauty industries.
The black-tie event celebrated two and a half months of “FUNraising”—literally thousands of cut-a-thons, fashion shows, princess parties, and other events held by the 14,000 future professionals and team members from the 110 Paul Mitchell cosmetology schools. This year, they raised over $1.5 million, bringing their 14-year total to $18.2 million.
Co-hosted by TV and radio personality Leeza Gibbons and Paul Mitchell Schools’ Dean and Cofounder Winn Claybaugh, the Gala recognizes the top FUNraising schools and other major contributors, including numerous artists and educators who donate their time and talent to the campaign. This year’s event acknowledged makeup expert Debra Dietrich, who has singlehandedly raised over $1 million in the past six years by offering specialized makeup classes to schools across the country and donating all proceeds to the campaign.
The event also recognized winners of the “First 100” contest—the first 100 students and team members to each raise at least $3,000 were invited to attend the Gala, where they enjoyed a “meet and greet” photo op with celebrity guests plus a day of hands-on education the next day with longhair expert Martin Parsons, master barber Darrin “DL” Lyons, and Debra Dietrich.
The Gala also provided the opportunity to mingle with leading icons and artists, including Paul Mitchell Co-owner Angus Mitchell; salon owner, reality TV star and daughter of legendary beauty icon Vidal Sassoon, Eden Sassoon; Intercoiffure President Frank Gambuzza; fitness guru Chalene Johnson; Mary Wilson of the Supremes; industry icons and educators Nicholas French and Melissa and Billy Yamaguchi; men’s grooming expert Diana Schmidtke; Hollywood Hair Guy Dean Banowetz; Ellen DeGeneres’s hairdresser Laini Reeves; Dancing with the Stars Emmy nominee Melissa Jaqua; Broadway director Paul Lambert; reality TV star Jason Wahler; former Miss USA Tara Conner; and actors Renee Taylor, Joe Bologna, and Ray Abruzzo.
2017 Gala Highlights
World-renowned mariachi band Mariachi Sol de Mexico kicked off the evening, followed by Jay and Merrill Osmond. It was the first appearance for the new Osmond Brothers duo—made even more exciting when their sister Marie joined in for a few songs. Marie Osmond returned later in the evening to represent Children’s Miracle Network, the charity she cofounded. “These miracles don’t happen without you, and we appreciate all that you do,” Marie told the audience. “In 50 years nobody’s going to know who I am and it doesn’t matter but they’re going to know Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Paul Mitchell Schools and the love that you give back in so many ways.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $1.275 million to CMN Hospitals.
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 $930,000 and provided orphaned children with more than 24 million meals through Food 4 Africa. Fran Drescher delivered an impromptu comedy routine before taking a more serious moment to acknowledge the schools for their contributions to Cancer Schmancer. “I’m so grateful for your generosity and support,” Fran said. “We honestly couldn’t get through the year without you, so God bless you and thank you!” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $880,000 to Cancer Schmancer.
CAST Ambassador, UN Spokesperson on Human Trafficking, and Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino shared chilling statistics about human trafficking and the successful efforts of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. “We are so incredibly grateful to Paul Mitchell Schools for their partnership with CAST,” she said, “for the impact they are having on the lives of countless survivors of human trafficking and for providing scholarships to survivors who are soon to graduate and start rebuilding their lives.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $200,000 to CAST. Funds provided in the past three years have rescued 400 trafficking victims per year, helping over 1,000 people regain their freedom.
Leeza Gibbons spoke about Leeza’s Care Connection, which provides support services to caregivers and their families and connects caregivers to one another and the much-needed resources within their own community. As the founding charity partner of the FUNraising campaign, Leeza said, “That’s a lot of years we’ve been together, and I thank you that you’re still inviting me in. Thank you for still believing in us.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated over $1 million to the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and Leeza’s Care Connection.
Eden Sassoon and Thirst Project founder Seth Maxwell addressed the worldwide water crisis and Thirst Project’s efforts around the world. “We work with a lot of amazing groups but this group, far and above, the Paul Mitchell Schools are unbelievable,” Seth said. “You guys are so innovative and creative and give of yourselves in amazing ways. What’s happening here tonight and what you guys do the rest of the year is not normal in the best way possible, and I hope you know how amazing you are.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $300,000 to Thirst Project—providing safe water for more than 8,000 people for the rest of their lives.
In their afterschool and theater programs, No Limits helps deaf and hearing-impaired children from low-income families develop language. “We can’t do these things without people like you,” said spokesperson Kathy Buckley. “I wish you could be there when a mother finally hears her child say hello… I see it on a daily basis. Connection is very important to be able to be a part of this world – as crazy as it is… When I look in this room I see nothing but angels. Thank you, God, for creating such wonderful angels right here on earth.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $700,000 to No Limits.
During his third deployment in Afghanistan in 2012, Gary Sinise Foundation Ambassador U.S. Army Master Sgt. Cedric King lost both of his legs. He recently received a smart home from the Gary Sinise Foundation. “The need is so great in our country for guys like me who have been injured,” Cedric said. “Gary understood that when a warrior comes back from a combat zone, he or she is supposed to have a place to rest. Home is a place where my daughters are going to experience getting ready for the prom and coming home and maybe, hopefully, me being able to explain algebra in our new home. This is all made possible by your efforts—by that one bake sale, by that one car wash that you did… and we’ll forever be thankful for each and every school, each and every effort that was put forth.” To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $685,000 to the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Magic Johnson was unable to attend this year’s Gala but has been a frequent guest at other Paul Mitchell School events. To date, Paul Mitchell Schools have donated $655,000 to the Magic Johnson Foundation. This year’s charity representatives join an elite group of wonderful celebrities who’ve supported Paul Mitchell Schools in the past, including Dolly Parton, Larry King, Vidal Sassoon, and Betty White.
2017 Compassionate Service Award
In recognition of their selfless, compassionate service and tireless dedication, the 2017 Andrew Gomez Compassionate Service Award was presented to Cancer Schmancer founder Fran Drescher and to Paul Mitchell School owner and Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation board member Charles Riser.
2017 Top 20 FUNraising Schools
Paul Mitchell The School St. Louis… $55,953
Paul Mitchell The School Temecula… $51,138
Parisian Beauty Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School… $42,586
Rudy and Kelly Academy, A Paul Mitchell Partner School… $36,660
Paul Mitchell The School Honolulu… $36,436
Paul Mitchell The School Las Vegas… $35,000
Paul Mitchell The School Fresno… $34,001
Paul Mitchell The School Tulsa… $32,196
Paul Mitchell The School Michigan… $31,041
Paul Mitchell The School Chicago… $30,025
Paul Mitchell The School Dallas… $27,890
Paul Mitchell The School Charlotte… $27,434
Paul Mitchell The School San Diego… $26,697
Paul Mitchell The School East Bay… $26,207
Paul Mitchell The School Sacramento… $25,894
Paul Mitchell The School Costa Mesa… $25,575
Paul Mitchell The School North Haven… $25,050
Paul Mitchell The School Houston… $24,761
For more information, please visit: www.PaulMitchellSchoolsFUNraising.org