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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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September 28, 2022 |

Channel’s Bearded Men to Shave It All Off for Charity

The Charity Beard Shave, which has a goal of raising $100,000 for five nonprofits, will have numerous channel personalities facing the barber at IT Nation Connect in November.

Chances are, you know someone who, while hunkering down during the darkest days of the pandemic, did one of the following things: adopted a puppy (or iguana), stopped wearing pants, or grew a fierce, full mountain man beard. Chances are, you also know one of the channel personalities who have pledged to shave off those awesome (awful?) beards for charity during ConnectWise’s IT Nation Connect 2022 conference in November.

The Charity Beard Shave has a goal of raising $100,000 for five nonprofits, with each receiving $20,000. If the goal is hit, the “shaves” will hit the barber’s chair at a designated high-traffic area at IT Nation Connect. The schedule and details are still in the works.

Ian Richardson, managing partner of Richardson & Richardson Consulting, an MSP coaching firm, says the idea for the fundraiser originated at last year’s IT Nation, when his wife and business partner, Carrie Simpson, asked Matt Lee, senior director of security and compliance at Pax8, what it would take for him to shave his beard.

Turns out, his answer was he’d only do it for a charitable event that would make a significant impact. They shook on it, and Simpson went on to recruit a lineup of bearded volunteers in cybersecurity and the channel. The Charity Beard Shave started to fall into place, with a list of five nonprofit beneficiaries.

“There’s been kind of a lean towards tech and especially inclusiveness and diversity in tech,” says Bob Coppedge (at right, below), a volunteer shavee and CEO of Simplex IT, about the selection. “Essentially those of us who are losing the follicles, I think we’ve been able to say, hey, ‘let’s look at this charity or that charity.’ And so far, I think the choice has been great.”

Other bearded volunteers include Vince Crisler, Jason Slagle, Mike Jones, and Sean Lardo, who joined ConnectWise in January as evangelist for the ConnectWise economy.

“You’ve got a lot of people who are pitching in to make this happen,” including both corporate and individual donors, Coppedge says. “And then you’ve got all these really great nonprofit organizations who are going to benefit from it. … You’ve got like four levels of win.”

As of September 22, $64,640 had been raised from individuals and companies, including a $15,000 commitment from ConnectWise, which is also providing free space, promotions, and logistical support for the event, says Richardson, who hopes to exceed the goal.

Supporting philanthropic efforts is nothing new for ConnectWise, according to Lardo, who brought the charity shave to the attention of Andrea Barrow, Invent team manager at ConnectWise. “She made it happen where we became heavily involved as an organization,” says Lardo, adding that “it’s nice to see the community coming together, and we feel privileged that they asked to do it with us and be part of it.”

In addition to the charity shave at IT Nation Connect, ConnectWise has partnered with the nonprofit organization onbikes to build 100 bikes for youth in need in the Orlando area. The bike build is taking place on the pre-day on November 9 and is part of IT Nation Gives, which provides a half-day volunteer event for partners, sponsors, and colleagues who attend IT Nation Connect and IT Nation Explore.

The five nonprofit recipients of the Charity Beard Shave are:

  • Women Who Code, an international organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. Women Who Code has executed more than 14,000 free events around the world, garnered a membership exceeding 290,000, and delivers programming to members in 134 countries.
  • Bits N’ Bytes Cybersecurity Education, an organization dedicated to educating and equipping citizens with cybersecurity skills through interactive modules, animated videos, research-based blogs, social media advocacy, and workshops delivered to community organizations.
  • Hackers for Vets, a group focused on helping veterans transition into cyber by providing awards, vouchers, courses, and more.
  • Diversity Cyber Council, an organization that serves underrepresented demographics in the tech industry by facilitating education, training, and staffing opportunities to establish a sustainable and diverse talent pipeline to the workforce.
  • Bike Walk Wichita, an organization dedicated to the promotion of safe active transportation within Wichita and South Central Kansas, with a mission of transforming Wichita into a more livable, accessible, connected city by making biking and walking safe, equitable, and appealing.

Richardson says each nonprofit will get up to $20,000, “with no restrictions on the funds, so they could spend it on logistics, they could spend it on tech, they could spend it on marketing. They can spend it in any way that’ll help them make the most amount of impact.”

Moreover, Richardson adds, 100% of the funds raised will go to the charities, with the Go Fund Me processing fees being covered by him and Lee.

Richardson, who sold his MSP in 2021 and subsequently launched his coaching and consulting company, says efforts like this are both how he hopes to build a legacy and part of Richardson & Richardson’s big hairy audacious goal (BHAG). “A 10-year BHAG is that we want to impact 1,000 different companies. The start of that is things like this. We are helping … different charities and through those charities, they’ll be able to help individuals and organizations that might found new entrepreneurial endeavors and get a leg up and be able to continue that impact forward. So, this is just the first step in trying to achieve that mission of fundamentally changing the world.”

Coppedge, who has a long history of participating in user groups and volunteer endeavors, says he’s “a big believer in the ‘stone soup,’ where everybody getting together, just adding one ingredient, can move mountains and this is a great testament to this.”

He’s hopeful that the giving back momentum can continue. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to repeat this annually, because you can only shave a beard as a gag once, but it does open the doors to say, ‘OK, well, what else could we do?’,” Coppedge notes. “Let’s have some fun. Let’s do some good. And let’s do it together.”

For more information, go to https://cybermattlee.com/shave-that-beard/.

To donate, go to the Go Fund Me page.

Have a paying-it-forward or not-for-profit story to share? Email me at colleen@channelpronetwork.com.


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