The year is 2003. The location is a bar on the island of Fitzroy, Australia. Two men, Travis Garvone and Luke Slattery, met for a beer accompanied by quiet discussion. The two talked about fashion, of all things, but more so about how the mustache had fallen out of trend. They convinced 30 of their friends to follow five rules for their month-long fundraiser, called Movember:
- Each Mo Bro must begin the first of Movember with a clean shave.
- Each Mo Bro must grow and groom their stache for the entire month.
- Don’t fake it. No goatees. No beards. No fake mustaches.
- Create conversations around and raise funds for men’s health issues.
- Each Mo Bro must conduct themselves as a gentleman.
In 2004, they wanted to do more with Movember because it created so much conversation. This led them to register the Movember Foundation as a company and set up a website. But they needed a cause. After doing some research into men’s health issues, they decided on prostate cancer. Within their first year, they made $54 000 Australian between 420 people. In 2005 they raised $1.2 million Australian with 9125 donors.
It wasn’t until 2007 that Movember went international and a board was established. They had partners in Canada, Spain, the UK and the United States. Since then, Movember has gained traction in more countries as new partnerships form. They were even named “Social Force of the Year” in 2013 in the magazine GQ Australia. They’ve also been climbing the rungs on thedotgood, where they hit number 48 on the 2022 list of world’s best Social Good Organizations.
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, Movember broadened the causes they support to include men’s fitness and men’s mental health. Media doesn’t tend to focus on men’s mental health as often; they are often discouraged from showing emotion or dissuaded from talking about their feelings.
While it’s a little late to get started on growing that mustache, there’s still time to donate to the Movember Foundation on their website. The website also includes a wide variety of ways to fundraise if you don’t want to or can’t grow a mustache.
While it started as a challenge to raise money for prostate cancer, Movember has evolved into something more. As their website says, “Movember is working towards its vision: to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.”