Dress for Success Worldwide is proud to share with the Global Giving community our three-month organizational report, as well as an update regarding the Change a Woman – Change the World Project.
It has been a rewarding first quarter of the year for Dress for Success, with the majority of our organizational objectives, namely providing disadvantaged women with professional attire and resources to reach financial independence, being achieved. Dress for Success has already provided nearly 20,000 women with professional apparel, career development services, and ongoing employment retention programming this year. In addition to our service impact, Dress for Success continues to grow into a thriving international organization as our network now includes 129 affiliates located in 14 countries.
Dress for Success kicked off our 16th year of operations with generous partners in the community. The New Year brought a new look to Dress for Success Worldwide as our flagship Manhattan boutique debuted a new look when it reopened in early February. Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Richard Baker of Hudson’s Bay Company/Lord & Taylor spearheaded the renovation, so that Dress for Success could receive the gift that it gives to more than 650,000 women across the world—a new, more polished look and feel!
As part of its charitable giving program, jcp cares, jcpenney invited its customers to round up their purchases throughout the month of February to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference to Dress for Success. jcpenney shoppers were tremendously generous and a total of $900,000 were contributed to Dress for Success. Another exciting venture during the recent 2013 tax season included Dress for Success' partnership with the Food Bank of New York City and Citi Community Development to launch our organization’s first Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The VITA/Free Tax Assistance Program trained clients of Dress for Success in tax preparation, and provided women with the opportunity to have their taxes prepared at no cost at a secure, trusted location where they are already accessing and receiving service. Dress for Success and the Food Bank for New York City were able to bring more than a million dollars in federal and state tax refunds to New York City residents, helping a greater number of people break the cycle of poverty. In addition to the VITA program, other signature programs of Dress for Success have launched within the last three months. Across the U.S., Dress for Success affiliates geared up for April Financial Literacy Month festivities and kicked-off our annual Financial Literacy Program to members of the Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group. Also underway are the Going Places Network by Walmart cohort sessions and our Health and Wellness seminars.
We also celebrated our annual Something to Share Gala in support of women re-entering the workforce and achieve economic independence. This year’s Gala invoked “A Reason in Each Season for Change” and celebrated the many hopeful and sometimes arduous seasons of life. Highlighted throughout the evening were 15 Success Ambassadors (current Dress for Success clients) that have committed to remaining on the path to professional success. Jodi Sparks, mother to singer Jordin Sparks, and Sharon Meade, mother of lead HLN news anchor Robin Meade, were honored during the Gala’s signature “Toast to Our Mothers” dedication presented by lia sophia, in recognition of the time and commitment that they devoted to raising such successful women. Also honored this year was Aegis Media, the world’s leading focused media and digital communications group, and YSC, a global firm of business psychologists helping organizations achieve commercial success by releasing the power of their people. Most recently, Dress for Success Worldwide celebrated the nation’s only 5k walk dedicated to empowering women on their quest for economic independence at our organization’s Power Walk! Held on Mother’s Day weekend, each mile on this 3.1 mile walk represented each of the three phases that the women of Dress for Success –80% of whom are mothers themselves—experience as they journey along their path to professional success: from being unemployed and searching, to recently employed and adjusting, to gainfully employed and succeeding. The Power Walk for Dress for Success was launched in 2010 as a “walking testament” to the need for success driven women to become healthy in all aspects of their lives. Originally a single site event, The Power Walk for Dress for Success is now taking place in more than 35 cities in five countries throughout the world.
With the support of the GlobalGiving community and through the delivery of our six signature programs, Dress for Success is able to present specialized training, expert knowledge, and resources to unemployed women hoping to reach their personal and professional goals of success. Through the investment of our donors, clients are impacted by Dress for Success throughout their entire professional life cycle – from unemployment to early employment to economic independence. Fulfilling our mission is critical to us as the success of the organization is determined by the success of generating positive results in the participants’ long term lives.This in turn provides tangible results that motivate and inspire Worldwide staff and the Board of Directors in each of our respective roles within the organization.
As a final note, we would like to thank Bobbi Brown for donating every cent of the retail selling price of Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful Pot Rouge to benefit the women that Dress for Success serves. We are also grateful for a recent contribution made on behalf of Bobbi Brown in support of our Pretty Powerful campaign.