The answer to long-lasting change in the lives of the world’s poor and hungry is opportunity. If people have the opportunity to get an education, start a business, or get a good-paying job, they can break the cycle of poverty for good. That’s why my favorite non-profits address the vital need for opportunity. That’s why I support fair trade companies, microfinance for access to capital, and non-profits that feed and educate kids around the world.
Recently I learned of another charity focused on opportunity: Dress for Success. The mission of Dress for Success (from their website): “to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.” Not a handout, an opportunity. An opportunity to get a professional job and to break the cycle of poverty for good.
So how do they do it? Dress for Success has local offices in most major cities, including right here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (1549 University Avenue West
St. Paul). At the local office, they collect clean, current-season, professional apparel, and distribute it to women entering the job market. They also offer career services like job interview training, career coaching, and mentoring to help clients find and keep jobs.
You can easily see how their work helps women overcome a significant barrier and gain the opportunity for a better future! Charity Navigator has given Dress for Success a perfect 4-star rating, so you can feel good about supporting their work. They accept financial donations, volunteers (working with both the clothing side and the workforce-prep side), and donations of clean, in-season, professional women’s clothing and accessories. You can bring in a small load from your personal collection, or you can host a clothing drive (info on the website under your local chapter). Right now I’m in the process of sorting through my Great Wardrobe Purge collection, and I’ll be taking a load to DFS in the near future. If you’re interested in doing the same, check out this list from their website: