JL Boston’s Little Black Dress Initiative 2018: A Success! by: Amy Bucher

By: Danielle Kaslow

L to R: Rhonda McMahon (Signature Events Chair), Meg Wheeler (Director of Development), Brittany Williams (LBDI Co-Chair), Stephanie Lincoln (LBDI Co-Chair), Liz Harrington (Women's Lunch Place), and Nancy Armstrong (Women's Lunch Place) at the LBDI Kickoff event at Coppersmith.

L to R: Rhonda McMahon (Signature Events Chair), Meg Wheeler (Director of Development), Brittany Williams (LBDI Co-Chair), Stephanie Lincoln (LBDI Co-Chair), Liz Harrington (Women’s Lunch Place), and Nancy Armstrong (Women’s Lunch Place) at the LBDI Kickoff event at Coppersmith.

On March 2, the Junior League of Boston capped off a successful first Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI), a new advocacy campaign to raise community awareness of the issue of poverty in Boston.

The League surpassed its fundraising goal of $12,500 on the first day of the initiative, raising $25,000, and ultimately raised a total of $30,783. One hundred percent of the funds raised go towards the Junior League of Boston Homelessness Prevention Fund via the Women’s Lunch Place, which will be used to help get 19 women back into secure, permanent housing.

LBDI co-chair Stephanie Lincoln shares the fundraising goal at the kickoff event.

LBDI co-chair Stephanie Lincoln shares the fundraising goal at the kickoff event.

The Women’s Lunch Place opened its doors in 1982 not only to feed and nourish Boston’s women in need of a safe and welcoming place, but also to provide medical care and support for women in crisis or struggling with domestic violence, mental illness, in addition to the stress of being homeless. The Junior League of Boston is proud to support such a worthy community partner with our newly established Homelessness Prevention Fund.

As part of the LBDI, participants wore the same black dress for five consecutive days to illustrate the effects poverty can have on a woman’s access to resources, her confidence, and her professional opportunities. The dress served as a visual representation of the lack of choice for families living in poverty.

At the end of the week, many participants donated their dry-cleaned Little Black Dress, along with any other clothing and personal items meant for girls and women, to Catie’s Closet. This organization is dedicated to reducing absenteeism and urging kids to get back into their schools by providing access to clothing, toiletries, and other necessities, thereby enabling students to focus on their education.

A portion of the Little Black Dress Initiative took place on social media, with participants chronicling their week by sharing poverty statistics, posting photos of their Little Black Dresses, and discussing the work of our community partner Women’s Lunch Place and the Junior League of Boston Homelessness Prevention Fund.

Attendees at the LBDI Fireside Chat

Attendees at the LBDI Fireside Chat

The LBDI also included a number of supporting events, including volunteer shifts at the Women’s Lunch Place and a Fireside Chat about poverty in the Boston community featuring guest speaker Elizabeth Keeley, Executive Director of the Women’s Lunch Place.

Through the LBDI, participants helped to spread awareness about the issues affecting our city, how these issues specifically impact the lives of women, and the ways we can work together to improve our community.

The Junior League of Boston thanks all those who helped to make the first year of the LBDI such a success through their generous financial support, participation, service, and donations of clothing.