For Good Cause

Oh, Charitable Canadian

Although Stephen Simpson has lists of charitable events to his credit and owns 47 First Choice Haircutters salons throughout Canada, he's not one to toot his own horn. "I'm just the coach," says Simpson, 49. "It's the players who play the game."

The players, of course, are his staff and customers, whose innovative ideas get everyone's creative juices flowing. For a "Cops for Cancer" promotion, which raised nearly $150,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, Simpson donated staff and equipment to help shave police officers' heads. "Our philosophy," says Simpson, "is to do things the community can be involved in."

Simpson's primary focus, however, is children's needs. He's donated revenues to the local Ronald McDonald House and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute. Once a year, Simpson's salons donate revenues to the Children's Wish Foundation in conjunction with a store-decorating contest. This fall, Simpson hopes to raise money to provide underprivileged children with snowsuits.

Simpson's only dilemma? Choosing which organizations to assist. "These charities are desperate for help," says Simpson. "They're overjoyed to hear from people who want to [pitch in]."

Simpson's efforts hit a personal note as well. "People tend to complain," he notes. "These events help us be more thankful for the opportunities we have that these kids might never have."

Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance business writer in Southern California.

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: For Good Cause.

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