I recently volunteered for the Dress for Success fashion show, the non-profit’s biggest fundraiser of the year. It was fabulous: dramatic music, delicious food, a great venue at Hard Rock Casino, beautiful clothes and models, and a guest visit from a European fashion designer. Even more fabulous? Their mission: To empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help them thrive in work and life.
Kate Black, Styling Service Manager, and Megan Goins, Marketing and Communications Specialist, have boundless enthusiasm for the mission of DFS and shared with me more details about the organization and how they help women with just about anything they might need along their path to success.
How did Dress for Success start?
Nancy Lublin is the original founder; she started the non-profit in 1997 in Manhattan with $5,000. The money was an inheritance that she wanted to use to help others. Mary Ivers started DFS Cincinnati in 1999. Since the very beginning, it’s been our vision not only to provide assistance to women in need of appropriate clothing to interview for a job, but also to provide a stable, safe and caring environment for women as they reclaim their lives.
What services are offered?
Outfits for interviews and new employment, resume help, one-on-one job coaching, computer lab for your job searches, mock Interviews, networking and connections to potential employers, financial coaching, an ongoing support system, cooking classes, monthly workshops for continuous learning and more!
Who do you help and where do people find DFS?
The organization helps women in the Cincinnati area who need support in reaching their goals for financial independence. They can contact DFS directly or may be referred by other agencies. There are many inspiring success stories on the website that show the powerful impact that DFS has on the lives of women in Cincinnati. Below is a video testimonial from the first client at DFS, DeAnna Hoskins, CEO of JustLeadership USA. DeAnna first came to DFS to get support getting a job and going back to school after being incarcerated for drugs. She went on to obtain her master’s degree from UC and is now a benefactor for DFS. “My only dream at the time was just to be a productive member of society, and not use drugs, and never be incarcerated again. What I got is more than I ever could have dreamed of,” She said.
What can be donated?
We are in most need of plus-sized clothing, new undergarments, and shoes. Think outside of the box with shoes- a recent participant needed steel toe boots! They also need anything you might need to wear to an interview or to work: purses, jewelry, business clothing (doesn’t have to be a suit!), scrubs, belts, supportive shoes, warm clothes and coats that may be needed to stand at a bus stop. Clothes must ready to wear with no stains/odors and be under 5 years old.
How can you help?
You can donate clothes, money, or your time by volunteering. Shop at Portaluca, DFS’s fashion resale boutique, and the proceeds go to Dress for Success!
How can DFS be contacted?
Donation Drop-Off: 4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite H, Cincinnati, Ohio 45212