Plenty of successful business owners generously support worthy charities. Only a select few make it their life’s mission.
Kim Cloud might just be the local standard bearer for the latter group.
Ten years ago, a friend invited Cloud to a Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce meeting, where she heard about the importance of giving back to the local community. Little did her friend realize the impact that meeting would have on Cloud, and thousands of people across North Texas.
Soon after that fateful day, the owner of Cloud 9 Salon & Spa on FM 407 in Flower Mound began serving on the board of PediPlace, a not-for-profit pediatric clinic in Lewisville dedicated to “making healthcare a reality for every kid.”
“My experience at PediPlace really opened my eyes to how significant the needs are in our area,” recalls Cloud. “I was amazed, and saddened, by how many kids lacked adequate health care, despite the abundance of medical professionals and facilities in North Texas.”
Cloud decided to come up with a fundraising event that would benefit the clinic, while showcasing her growing salon. “I was determined to raise money for PediPlace, which was really struggling,” she explained. “But at the same time, it had to make sense for my business, since that’s what pays the bills and makes the charitable support possible.”
The first Cloud 9 Fashion Show was held in 2002 in Lantana. The inaugural event netted $13,000, which was split between PediPlace and the Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E. Founded by Lucia Bone in 2004 after her sister, Sue Weaver, was brutally raped and murdered by an in-home service worker with a criminal record, the non-profit promotes consumer awareness of unsafe service employment.
Over the past decade, Cloud has steered her fashion show to raise more than $1 million for local charities. The cultural extravaganza draws the “who’s who” from across North Texas for an elegant evening of fun and charity. The 10th annual show is scheduled for November 10th at the Hilton DFW Lakes in Grapevine.
“The fashion show has taken on a life of its own, and has been adopted by several area businesses as one of their primary vehicles for helping the community,” said Cloud. “I’m very grateful to all of the kind souls in Flower Mound, Highland Village and elsewhere that have joined with us to lend a helping hand to the people in our area who need it most.”
In addition to PediPlace and C.A.U.S.E., the event raises money for CASA, which provides court-appointed special advocates for children going through the adoption process, and the Children’s Advocacy Center, which offers counseling, medical and legal support for sexually abused kids.
Every charity supported by Cloud 9 holds a special place in Kim Cloud’s heart. Her affinity to Children’s Advocacy is borne out of her own experience being sexually abused as a child. CASA represented Cloud’s daughter during her adoption.
“Kim has a passion for helping abused children and for giving back to her community that is pure and entirely from the heart,” says Dan Leal, Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County. “She has raised thousands of dollars for our organization and other local charities that have helped us meet an increasing need for services, despite a difficult economy.”
Just as she never tires of finding creative new ways to serve her salon clients, Cloud’s drive to help the less-fortunate doesn’t stop with her fashion show.
Cloud 9 Charities, a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2006 to oversee all of her ambitious fundraising initiatives, has branched out into several other activities.
Cloud recently teamed with Victor Myers Custom Homes to launch “Cloud 9 Charities Ride for a Cause.” Myers generously built and donated a gorgeous custom bobber motorcycle to be raffled off in a drawing to be held at the fashion show in November. Myers covered all the costs associated with the project, including the printing of posters and 5,000 raffle tickets. At $20 apiece, “Ride for a Cause” is expected to net $100,000 for Cloud 9 Charities.
“With Victor’s help, we could nearly double our donations from this year’s fashion show,” exclaimed Cloud, a proud Harley Davidson owner. “That is one sweet ride, so we shouldn’t have any trouble selling all of those $20 tickets over the next few months. I’m pumped!”
On April 21st, Cloud 9 Salon is hosting its 7th Annual Art Gala, featuring pottery, jewelry, sculpture and paintings by nearly 20 artists. Each participant donates one piece of artwork to be auctioned off, and 30 percent of the remaining proceeds from art sales is donated back to Cloud 9 Charities for distribution to CASA and Children’s Advocacy.
“The Art Gala is a favorite of mine because it’s a free event and almost every penny we raise goes to the charities,” said Cloud. “We turn our salon into a temporary art gallery, and everyone gets to enjoy delicious wine and food while browsing for beautiful, original artwork.”
Food is donated by Morris Salerno, award-winning chef and owner of The Grotto. Marketing and public relations agency Champion Management also sponsors the gala, which is expected to raise $20,000 this year.
“Kim Cloud is one of the best people we have in our community,” said Flower Mound Town Councilman and mayoral candidate Tom Hayden. “I’ll never forget when we reached out to her for advice on starting a 501(c)3 for Pennies for Paige, she said we could use Cloud 9 Charities. When I said we didn’t want to put her through any hassle, her response was, ‘This is not about Cloud 9 Charities, this about helping a family, and a little girl that has cancer.’ Kim is one of those people that just gives, and then gives some more.”
Most recently, Cloud was alerted to the plight of homelessness in Denton County. Never one to wait around for others to step up, the indefatigable crusader created Bedtime Rescue to provide a safe, warm place for families to get a good night’s sleep while they get back on their feet.
Cloud persuaded the owners of a local motel – the EconoLodge in Lewisville – to provide rooms for the families identified by Bedtime Rescue at a deep discount. Since the program launched on Facebook just a few months ago, more than 100 families have been sheltered at the EconoLodge. Donors to Bedtime Rescue cover the modest lodging costs. Local restaurants have begun providing food for the families as well, and the initiative is gathering steam.
“I’ve learned that there are a great many warm and generous people out there who are more than happy to help, if they’re just pointed in the right direction,” said Cloud. “That’s basically what Cloud 9 Charities is all about. We’re pointing the way for concerned people in our area to help others in need.”
The Garland native and mother of three grown children still cuts and styles hair every day at Cloud 9 Salon & Spa, which has grown to a staff of 60 professionals. But her passion is Cloud 9 Charities.
“If I could work on the charity all day long, I would,” she muses. “But since it doesn’t pay well, I can’t! Still, that’s where my heart is, and I’m grateful to the team around me that has made our charitable mission such a big part of their lives as well.”
The one deserving of the most gratitude is Kim Cloud herself. Naturally, she brushes off the attention. But across North Texas tonight, hundreds of men, women and children will sleep better, eat healthier, and meet the next day’s challenges stronger because of the tireless work of one woman who decided to make a difference.