Dress for Success Toronto helps women out of poverty by providing programs and attire to achieve success in the workforce. We spoke with Director Kait Green for more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Dress for Success Toronto’s mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since 2009, we have helped over 10,000 women in the GTA transition from unemployment to economic independence.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Dress for Success Toronto’s purpose is to offer long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty. We are part of a global movement for change, empowering women to obtain safer and better futures.
We provide each client with professional attire to secure employment, but we are about much more than simply a new outfit. Besides physically equipping our clients with apparel and accessories, our programs furnish her with a confidence that she carries forever and the knowledge that she can actively define her life, the direction she takes and what success means to her.
Through the three pillars of our program, Dress for Success Toronto clients receive:
Suiting Program: one-on-one appointment with a stylist to provide interview and employment attire
Career Services: Learning programs that build professional skills and accelerate job search.
Professional Women’s Group: Monthly forum of support to foster personal and professional development once clients are employed.
When did you start/join it?
I joined the team in the summer of 2016.
What made you want to get involved?
I was looking to make a pivot in my career. I had reached the goal I had set out for myself in a different industry and realized, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be. I was missing the impact. You go through your career sometimes and you work really hard, really smart and really strategically only to realize all your blood, sweat and tears were to help increase profits for someone else. I wanted to work really hard for a bigger purpose. I wanted to see the impact of my contributions go to the greater good.
As a longtime supporter of Dress for Success Toronto, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the community empowering the women, and haven’t looked back since!
How lucky I am that I get to call this my job! I get to go to work every day and know that I am helping a women transition out of unemployment and grow to support her family, friends and community.
What was the situation like when you started? How has it changed since?
We were a smaller organization than we are now. We grew from 3 employees to 7 and we have over 300 volunteers who all work together to support our women. We have focused on offering best in class programming for our clients and have built out our full scope of programs. Most recently, we facilitated a successful re-location to our new space at 5150 Yonge Street in Toronto. We are now located on the concourse level of an office tower with store front visibility. Our new professional space is located just steps away from Mel Lastman Square (a beautiful Toronto landmark and city center) and easily accessible from the North York Centre subway station. This new facility enables us to invest in our future growth capacity, focus on increasing client appointments, expand geographic reach, accommodate client and volunteers of all abilities and levels of accessibility and maximize flow of clothing inventory.
What more needs to be done? How can our readers help?
Sponsor a Woman : A donation of only $25 a month, or $300, provides a woman full access to our range of programming for a year, helping her find and maintain meaningful employment. Your monetary gift has the ability to transform a woman and her family’s future.
Donate Clothing: What would you wear to a job interview? That is exactly the type of clothing we are looking for to distribute to our clients. Your fabulous suits and other professional apparel could furnish another woman with the confidence to enter or return to the workplace, make a great first impression and land a job that could change her life.
Donate your time: Volunteering is a meaningful and rewarding experience that has many benefit. We offer a variety of opportunities for both individuals or corporate groups.
Do you have any events coming up?
On November 5th 2019 we are hosting our annual fall fundraiser : Polished : Empower10. We host a sophisticated cocktail reception for our sponsors, donors, and local supporters to celebrate our clients’ successes, and our impact on the community. This year we are celebrating our 10th year anniversary and over 10,000 women served.
Where can we follow you?
Our website: https://toronto.dressforsuccess.org/