Most charities begin with a cause. That is not, however, the case for Movember, the global non-profit that asks men to grow moustaches for the month of November and, in the process, raise awareness for men’s health.
As Movember co-founder Adam Garone explained at TEDxToronto, his charity began with a random idea in a bar in 2003: could the moustache be made cool again? Because a moustache is referred to as a “mo” in his native Australia, Garone and his brother decided to turn November into “Movember,” asking a group of 30 male friends to grow moustaches for the month.
Making it an annual tradition, the next year Garone decided to take inspiration from women’s groups that fundraise for breast cancer research. He approached the Prostate Cancer Foundation about forging a partnership. And while he was initially laughed out of a meeting, that year Movember donated $54,000 to the organization — its biggest gift ever. Garone recognized that Movember had big potential to bring attention to the under-discussed cause of men’s health.
“Every morning, I wake up and go, ‘My life is about a moustache,’” jokes Garone in this talk. “Essentially, I’m a moustache farmer and my season is November.”
To hear more about how Movember transformed from a fringe event to a worldwide movement that donated $126 million to men’s health organizations last year, watch Garone’s talk. And after the jump, read about how the TED staff is taking up the Movember cause.
This year, many TED staffers will be growing out moustaches, with the rest of the office supporting them, both financially and in spirit. Below, TED’s Jordan Reeves explains:
“It’s Movember! That’s right! You read it correctly. Movember. As their website explains, ‘During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.’
This year, TED is participating in this incredibly ambitious and invaluable fundraiser. We’ll be doing fun things — a month long bake sale, a raffle, an election night party, a bingo night, and a series of giveaways for people who participate — and we hope to raise $5,000. While I don’t think that men’s health necessarily gets overlooked, I do think it’s not as prevalent in the world of fundraising. This is such an incredibly creative initiative – a good cause done in a fun way. Stay tuned to our TEDnews Instagram and our Movember team page for progress on our Mo’s. Here are a few of our before images.”