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Volunteer With Style: Nancy Lubin and Dress For Success

Nancy Lubin exemplifies how vision and talent can be used to transform the lives of others. In 1996, she founded Dress for Success, using $5,000 that was left to her by her great-grandfather, Poppy Max, who had come to the United States from Eastern Europe to forge a new life. Armed with her experience as a law student, Lubin established the organization “to help low-income women take charge of their lives.”

After receiving calls from around the country asking how the endeavors of Dress for Success could be implemented in other locations, the name was trademarked and licensed to affiliates. Within two years, about 20 programs were up and running, and Dress for Success Worldwide was born. The goal is to advance the ability of women to become self-supporting by entering the workforce and enabling them to achieve their goals. Specifically, each woman who goes through the program is supplied with a suit for employment interviews, and then given a second suit when she lands a job.

Donated clothes must be new or in top-notch condition. Blouses, skirts, blazers, pant suits, and shoes are all on the wish list. Clothing in larger sizes is especially in demand. While tax-deductible contributions are always appreciated, offering your time and efforts gives you the chance to enrich your life by extending a helping hand and drawing upon your unique talents and strengths. Have you always been the one who advised friends on what they should be wearing and how to put it together? Then being a Dress for Success “personal shopper” could be for you. Are you involved in the careers of law, accounting, or event marketing? An expert in office skills? Dress for Success needs hands-on assistance from women accomplished in these areas. “We can’t do what we do without the help of volunteers,” says Joi Gordon, the Chief Executive Officer of Dress for Success.

While there is now a Dress for Success presence in 73 cities, you can start an affiliate in your area if none currently exists. Other ways to extend a hand include becoming a mentor to a woman in the Professional Women’s Group, a support network developed to promote employment retention (contact [email protected]); organizing a suit drive; or patronizing partnering companies that will give Dress for Success a percentage of the sale. Visit for detailed information on opportunities to become involved.