Sport Clips Help A Hero

Donating More Than $12 Million to Support Veterans is Big News

Stone Ward client Sport Clips Haircuts is a veteran-founded franchise that stands by its commitment to support those who serve our country. To honor that, throw it back to 2007 when Stone Ward first worked with Sport Clips to promote the launch of its Help A Hero program…originally set up to fund phone calls home for hospitalized and deployed military. The program transitioned in 2013 to support veteran scholarships for education expenses that extend beyond G.I. Bill coverage when preparing for post-military careers. The VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship has become the brand’s signature philanthropy and has grown to become the largest veteran scholarship program of its kind.

Sport Clips Help A Hero logo
Campaign check presentation

News worth sharing

Through the years, Stone Ward has worked with Sport Clips to engage a host of creative ways to launch fundraising efforts in October leading up to Veterans Day when the company commits an additional $2 per haircare service to close the annual campaign. Along with traditional news release and editorial content distribution announcing the start of fundraising, we’ve helped equip the franchise’s 1,900 stores with tools and tips to generate local media coverage, hosted satellite media tours, and secured live, network “plaza” interviews and social media posts with some of the most popular morning shows and talent in the country.

But kicking off the 2022 Help A Hero fundraising campaign had several unique challenges…it kicked off during the political grind of a newsmaking election season and it was coming on the heels of a couple of difficult pandemic years with a possible financial upheaval dominating the headlines. We knew we had to work together with Sport Clips to find new and unique ways to keep fundraising robust and successful. And, at the end of the campaign, we needed to cut through the headline clutter of a looming recession and political office inaugural events to announce the good news of the fundraising results and subsequent donation to the VFW for veteran scholarships.

Donations to VFW Foundation graph

What’s in the secret PR sauce?

There’s actually a great deal of planning and gut-checking by seasoned PR professionals that make up the recipe to generate stories around a good cause during a very crowded news cycle. The team that worked on the project has a collective 100 years+ of communications practice and experience. It included pros on the client, philanthropic partner, and agency sides to devise a plan that would resonate and make news that would be of interest to local, national, and trade media and their audiences. The planning took six months to strategically develop and implement. The good news - it worked.

Jacob Dietz - Help A Hero Scholarship Recipient
America Luna - Help A Hero Scholarship Recipient
Josh Pickering - Help A Hero Scholarship Recipient


The plan was developed to announce the Help A Hero fundraising kick-off through a host of high-level interviews and podcasts along with a series of well-timed media alerts and news release distributions to targeted outlets. Included in the outreach were impressive results from previous years of fundraising as well as thought leadership, and details of what this year’s campaign goal could afford. The outcome of our combined efforts, even with so much other headline-garnering news:


Sport Clips Haircuts clients, product partners, stylists, and team members raised $1.5M for the 2022 campaign, bringing the program’s total fundraising to $12.3M and the seventh year of donating more than a million dollars to support veteran scholarships.


Some 2,720 scholarships awarded through the program have now helped veterans and their families with education needed and not always covered by GI Bill funds in pursuing civilian careers.


More than 900 positive news placements were generated through opinion editorials; television, print, and online stories; newswire distributions; and podcasts.


Almost 1.5 Billion possible impressions were generated for this Sport Clips’ worthy philanthropy.

Building good is what we’re about at Stone Ward. It’s rewarding to have clients who share that belief and invest the resources and work into building philanthropic programs that are making big news while positively impacting lives and communities.

We provide these services for Sport Clips Help A Hero on an ongoing basis:

  • Public Relations