Grow a mustache, raise cash for San Francisco schools

Mike Koozmin/The SF ExaminerLip service: El Dorado Elementary Principal Tai-Sun Schoeman’s mustache raised about $2

Tai-Sun Schoeman, principal at El Dorado Elementary School, wanted to help his teachers buy supplies that the Visitacion Valley school’s budget couldn’t cover. So he grew a mustache.

“I am blessed with prodigious facial hair, so it grew in fairly quickly,” the hirsute Schoeman said.

He is one of dozens of men — fathers, principals and teachers — across The City who grew mustaches over five weeks this November and December to raise money for public schools. Mimicking a charity walk, they found sponsors for their whiskers through the website DonorsChoose.org.

Mustaches for Kids, which started in Los Angeles in 1999, has been an annual ritual in The City for a decade, but it has taken off in recent years as school budgets are slashed and teachers struggle to afford materials as basic as paper and pencils.

“Our teachers are really resorting to DonorsChoose,” said Schoeman, whose mustache netted about $2,000 for items such as copier paper, P.E. equipment and storybooks.

Jason Sterling, whose children attend Peabody Elementary School, raised more than $1,000. He grew his first mustache last year, when there were six participants at the school. This year there were 16.

“It’s kind of the No. 1 event for dads at our school,” he said.

Ed Korenman, the father of twin first-graders at Peabody, said the schedule was easier for working dads than most fundraisers.

“I’m not able to volunteer as much as I’d like, but this is something I can do,” said Korenman, whose mustache raised $3,000 for Peabody.

But although the payoff might be great, growing a mustache can be uncomfortable — and awkward.

“You get on the bus, go anywhere out in public, and you can see people looking at you, thinking, ‘Does he really think that looks good?’” Sterling said.

“It’s itchy,” Korenman said. “It looks ridiculous on me.”

Despite his mustache’s success, Korenman planned to shave after Mustaches for Kids’ celebratory ’Stache Bash this month.

“My wife doesn’t like it,” he said. “It needs to come off.”

Sterling said his wife was not a fan either.

“She probably suffered more than me,” he said. “She’s always saying, ‘We’ll forever have the mustache in our Christmas photos.’”

acrawford@sfexaminer.com

Bristly benefactors

San Francisco schools reaped the benefits of men’s facial hair choices for charity.

  • 60: Charity mustaches in 2011
  • 890: Cash donors
  • $62,000: Money raised for schools this year
  • $300,000: Money raised since 2008

Source: Mustaches for Kids

Bay Area NewseducationLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Anti-police protester sues over arrest at 2019 Pride Parade

A protester whose arrest at San Francisco’s 2019 Pride Parade intensified pressure… Continue reading

Veritas offers to forgive unpaid rent, but tenants are wary

Calls for rent forgiveness have been answered, but with some caveats. The… Continue reading

Dozens gather for candlelight vigil to honor victims in Beirut explosion

Dozens of people gathered at Rincon Park on Thursday evening to show… Continue reading

School district, teachers reach tentative agreement on distance learning

With less than two weeks until the start of the school year,… Continue reading

Boudin, Gascon defend NFL in controversy over Stephon Clark video

Public service announcement prompted pushback from California prosecutors association

Most Read