The local affiliate of
Dress for Success
is moving to 5525 Belair Road in June, an expansion that will give the nonprofit more room to outfit low-income women with gently used professional clothing.
Dress will occupy about 1,300-square-feet on the lower level and first floor of a rowhouse in the city’s Waltherson neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore.
Since 2009, Dress for Success has been renting space in the Anchorage Building, belonging to St. Ann Parish Church at 528 E. 22nd
Street in the city’s Barclay neighborhood.
Dress for Success Executive Director Cleona Garfield says the nonprofit has outgrown the Anchorage and has been searching for larger quarters since 2011 after getting more donations.
The nonprofit received $23,000 in donations in fiscal year 2011, the most recent tax return filed on GuideStar. Garfield says she couldn’t even guess how many donations it received recently.
“Oh boy! I don’t know how to explain it to you other than to say we get a lot of donations.”
Property owner Jacob Danyali, the owner of Mercury Management LLC, says he’ll invest about $10,000 into painting, refinishing the wood floors, and other improvements for the group. Dress for Success will pay an undisclosed below-market rent. Danyali has owned the property about ten years.
Dress for Success will use the first floor for the boutique and offices, and the lower floor for clothing storage. The boutique is set up just like a shop, with work-appropriate career coats, dresses, suits, blouses and blazers, all neatly sized and on racks. Shoes and bags are also on display.
A volunteer stylist meets with the client, gets an idea of her style, and selects an outfit for her. The client then tries everything on to see how it looks.
Once a client lands a new job, she returns to Dress for Success for additional clothes to help her build a professional wardrobe.
Dress for Success also runs career development workshops, focusing on everything from money management, to the importance of showing up for work on time.
Many of Baltimore’s Dress for Success clients find jobs in customer service; others land entry-level work in medicine or education. In 2012, the organization helped 500 women.
Dress for Success in Baltimore has about 20 volunteers. Founded in New York in 1997, Dress for Success now has affiliates across the U.S. and worldwide.
Reporter: Amy Landsman
Sources: Cleona Garfield, executive director, Dress for Success Baltimore; Jacob Danyali, owner, Mercury Management