Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation
After a decade running Rob’s Barbershop in Odenton, Rob Cradle found out that clients at a local homeless shelter didn’t have access to regular grooming services. In 2001, he started Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation as a way to centralize and build community support for this goal.
The foundation works to administer contributions for projects intended to provide grooming services and grooming equipment and products for poor and homeless people so they go to work, a job interview or school neat and clean. Donations come from a variety of sources, including government agencies and private foundations, and Cradle said he manages them with a specific goal in mind: reducing the numbers of those in the community who need grooming services to bolster their appearance and reducing their barriers to greater opportunities.
“As a small public charity, our greatest asset is our ability to turn what is commonly perceived as weakness into strength,” he said. Having a tiny staff of one full-time and one part-time employee forces the nonprofit to be creative in how it approaches providing its services. “We use an innovative approach to solve the problem of lack of access to grooming by administering projects on-site at the agencies where the target populations exist,” Cradle said.
In all, Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation has provided grooming services to over 7,000 people in homeless shelter, social services agencies and public schools, he said. Cradle has been recognized in People magazine’s “Hero Among Us” campaign and in Allstate Corporation’s “Give Back Day Hero” campaign.