At Tonya Jones SalonSpa, giving back is one of our core values. Our team has rallied around the concept of building prosperity not just for ourselves and our business, but for everyone in the community. As a Birmingham salon, we are located in an area where many people are in need — 43 percent of women in our area live in poverty. That’s something we cannot ignore. Our philanthropic initiatives cover a wide range of issues, but most are dedicated to helping women and children. I’m proud to say that together, my team and I donate 20 hours a month toward philanthropic activities.
I am a board member of Camp Smile-A-Mile, a summer camp that’s free for children with cancer. Through my involvement with Camp Smile-A-Mile over the past seven years, I’ve been able to serve as a point of entry for team members who want to give back. Every January, our salon has an annual vision day, where we set goals and intentions for the year to come. I said, “I’d really like you all to find a local charity to be a part of,” and introduced Camp Smile-A-Mile. Everyone on the team was super excited—we even came up with our own slogan for giving back: “With Our Own Two Hands.” The team’s enthusiasm showed through what we were able to accomplish. From 2014 to 2015, we donated more than $15,000 to Camp Smile-A-Mile through sponsorships, sales of silent auction items and donations.
But what our team loves most about working with Camp Smile-A-Mile is interacting with the children and their families. Twice a summer, we offer campers hair styling, makeup applications, manicures and pedicures as part of the Girls’ Night Out event. The kids feel like they’re celebrities, and doing hair, makeup and nails for children who wouldn’t otherwise get that opportunity humbles our hearts and souls.
We donate $10,000 a year to The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, a nonprofit organization working to end poverty by connecting women to housing, child care and educational resources. This money comes from individual donors and federal grants. We do a two-generation approach, aiming to end the cycle of poverty by helping both the mother and the child by enrolling them in educational programs that will allow them to earn more money. As a board member of The Women’s Fund, it’s my job to find individual donors and meet with grantees who donate money.
During Earth Month, Tonya Jones SalonSpa partners with the Cahaba River Society, a nonprofit that works to keep our river and drinking water clean and healthy. We raise money for the society through silent auctions, a Trash the Runway event and Hair Raiser event. For our Hair Raiser event, we offered hair cuts, styling, mini-facials, eyebrow waxes, manis, pedis and massage-by-the-minute. No appointments were necessary, and 100 percent of proceeds benefited the Cahaba River Society. We raised more than $18,000 for the organization.
On a lighter note, we have a strict dress code here at Tonya Jones—but team members who want to kick back and wear jeans on a Saturday can do so if they pay $5. That money also benefits Earth Month fundraisers.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we participate in an event called Cahaba Village For The Cure. We join other local merchants for a fun evening of food and entertainment devoted to raising breast cancer awareness. At the salon, everything is 20 percent off, and guests can get a pink hair extension for $10. We donate 5 percent of proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Also, throughout the year, we style wigs for and work with clients who are going through chemotherapy.
After becoming a board member of Camp Smile-A-Mile, I wanted to figure out ways Tonya Jones SalonSpa could contribute to the community. So far, I’ve been blown away not only by what our team has been able to accomplish, but by how genuinely happy everyone is about giving back. Our team feels connected on a deeper level thanks to our philanthropic work.
We are also delighted by our guests’ involvement, whether they participate by bidding on a silent auction item, purchasing products during Cahaba Village For The Cure’s event or donating money to a nonprofit. We are all in this together, and that’s never been more evident than when guests and staff members unite for the common good.