When Granite Telecommunications CEO Rob Hale jokingly told one of his employees that the company would donate $10,000 to charity if he shaved his beard, over 400 of his other employees decided to hold him to it.

On Monday, those 428 bald heads (and some beards), resulted in $2.1 million in charity to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where Hale's father was treated for pancreatic cancer before he died six years ago. Participants, including Hale, braved the clippers in the Quincy, Mass., office lobby in what turned out to be far more than a monetary donation; some employees donated their hair to Locks of Love, according to Ellen's Good News blog.

Initially, Hale sent out an email to employees offering to donate to the institute after another employee stepped forward, offering to shear it all for $1,000 in charity. From there, 100 were in, then 300, the blog reported. That's when Hale's mother, Judy, stepped in to give an additional $2,000 — the same amount her son promised — for the $1,000 the company pledged to give for each bald head. At over 400 employees, they shook on $5,000 per shiny dome.

"In a few weeks, it went from a whimsical comment to a galvanizing moment," Hale said. "It makes a powerful statement about our company, and it makes a powerful statement about cancer."