By Michelle Talsma Everson, May 2020 issue.
Photos courtesy of Anthony Dynar
Anthony Dynar knows what it is to build a business — and a life — from the ground up.
That’s why, when he was able to connect with other local entrepreneurs and raise $10,000 for Duet, a local nonprofit, he had reason to celebrate.
“I know what it’s like to have absolutely nothing, to be homeless, to go through the struggle to make it, and be successful. Success unshared is failure,” Dynar says about the donation. “One may not have a lot of money, but anyone can do something to help somebody else out. That’s called success and anyone can do that. After all, aren’t we are all just waves of the same sea?”
Dynar has led a fascinating life and career. Currently, he is the owner of Mane Extension in Scottsdale; a salon that recently moved from Tempe to Scottsdale right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the move, Dynar took an interest in politics — helping to be a voice for those in the beauty industry in support of S.B. 1401 last year. The legislation, introduced by State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-23), removes excessive and unnecessary occupational licensing requirements to blow-dry, shampoo, and style hair, according to Governor Doug Ducey.
“States are implementing stringent requirements for extensive, expensive schooling and licensing perform entry-level tasks,” Dynar wrote in a paper while participating in activism to help move the bill forward. “These antiquated regulations are stifling the creative entrepreneurial spirit that is the heartbeat of the beauty community.”
While working as a licensed cosmetologist the past 15 years, Dynar has also worked on local magazine covers and national television series.
In addition to his work in the beauty industry, Dynar worked at Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments as an executive assistant and licensed real estate agent for more than a decade. Pollack, a well-known local businessman and philanthropist, would prove to be one of his supporters for his first major charitable contribution.
So, how did an entrepreneur in the middle of a business-altering pandemic put together $10,000? With the help of his extensive video game collection and his fellow entrepreneurs.
Dynar found out about Duet through his partner and was immediately drawn to the nonprofit’s grandparents raising grandchildren service area. Duet offers support for grandparents raising grandchildren through free-of-charge support groups, legal guidance and assistance, funds for extracurricular activities, information and guided assistance, educational workshops, and outings.
“When grandparents raising grandchildren come to Duet, they are often in turmoil,” explains Patricia Dominguez, MSW, director of kinship care services for Duet. “They are often confused and scrambling to find resources and help. Duet is that lifeline to making sense of their situation and provide them with hope. This donation will make a huge impact to grandfamilies facing many challenges.”
To help the “grandfamilies” that Duet serves, Dynar took his substantial video game and system collection and sold it to 1UP Games in Mesa.
“When you’ve been doing this as long as Tim and I have, you meet many different video game collectors,” says Nick Harron, co-owner of 1UP Games. “I opened 1UP Games to meet people like Anthony; gamers that are good people. Anthony selling his collection seemed crazy to me at first because I know how long it takes to acquire that much stuff. To donate the money he got from selling his games to a charity is a beautiful thing.”
A portion of the donation includes gift cards to 1Up Games. Dynar hopes that the grandchildren Duet serves can successfully enjoy their time at home in quarantine, but also still keep in touch with their friends as many games can be played multi-player online. He also hopes they provide electronics and games to families who may otherwise not be able to afford them.
“I remember playing games endlessly and because they were so challenging it was a lot of fun,” he adds.
Once Dynar his former boss, Michael Pollack, knew about the donation, Pollack stepped in and donated $4,000 to help round the donation amount to $10,000.
“Duet is an incredibly important organization in our community,” Pollack says. “They provide vital services to homebound adults, family caregivers, grandfamilies, and many others here in the Valley. I believe anything we can do to support this organization is a win-win for not only those they serve but also our community at large.”
“All of these local businesses are where I came from, where I grew up and built a name for myself,” Dynar says. “My reputation as a licensed real estate agent and cosmetologist funded this donation.”
With his first major charitable donation under his belt, Dynar looks to the future — he hopes to continue with his career success and bright ideas so that he can make another major donation to another local nonprofit soon.
“I hope to continue to be able to do this [make donations],” he says. “Hopefully this is the first of many. It’s part of my personality to want to give back to the community.”