“Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be this big,” David Hogan said of M4K Richmond, the organization he started in 2003 to raise money for local charities by growing mustaches for four weeks each fall.
In 2002, David was at a Christmas party when some of his college friends showed up sporting mustaches they were growing for charity. After giving each friend $20, David decided to start the growing trend in Richmond and convinced some friends and colleagues to join the cause the following year.
“It was really funny, and we had a blast,” David said of the first year. “We also raised quite a bit of money.”
David enjoyed the silliness of growing facial hair and dressing up in crazy costumes each year for the organization’s final event, the Stache Bash, where one of his favorite costumes was a falconer modeled after his mustache name, The Cougar Falcon.
“When you have a mustache, you have a different persona and get to act a little different,” said David, an engineer by trade. “I get my creative fix and have an impact on people.”
In 2010, M4K Richmond was incorporated as a 501(c)3 charity and began accepting online donations to support the group’s participants or “growers.” Donations began doubling, and in 2019 M4K Richmond’s 140 growers raised $360,000 for eight local charities. The event has raised $381,000 for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU since 2010. This year’s $100,000 gift is part of a five-year, $500,000 pledge to put M4K Richmond’s name on the multipurpose and theater space in the new inpatient hospital. The group’s pledge will be matched by Children’s Hospital Foundation to make a $1 million impact.
“Children’s Hospital has people on the front lines helping people face the toughest thing they may have to face in their life,” said David. “They provide health care, comfort and assistance to families. There’s no way to put a price tag on what they do.”
David, who remains involved on M4K Richmond’s Board of Trustees, is proud of the all-volunteer organization and that 100% of event donations are given to charity. Modeled after M4K groups in New York and California, the Richmond group is run as an independent entity although it is listed as one of eight chapters, and one of two in Virginia, on the M4K International web site.
The father of three boys, ages 12, 15 and 17, David said he looks forward to the day his sons can join in his growing efforts.
“That’s a true legacy,” he said.
M4K Richmond founder David Hogan dressed as a falconer in a costume modeled after his mustache name, The Cougar Falcon, at the 2014 Stache Bash. (Photo by Karen Gage Photography)