Grant timing is perfect for Dress for Success: Official

‘COVID has caused a lot of job losses and there are a lot of people trying to find work,’ says board chairman

A local charity that helps women prepare for their first day of work is making good use of a new government grant.

In May 2021, Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie received a $127,000 grant from the Resilient Communities Fund of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

The organization used the grant money to rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by hiring a part-time strategic plan consultant and marketing and communications coordinator, buying radio and online ads and a fundraising platform, and by covering the rent of their shop. and utility costs.

The Strategic Plan Consultant helped Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie develop a new three-year strategic plan for their organization.

Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie Board Chair Sandy Falcon says the funding comes at the perfect time because the need for the service is greater than ever.

“We help between 150 and 200 women a year, but since January 2022 we have helped around 67 women. That’s a high number at this point in the year and we’ll be well above our annual average,” Falcon said Thursday. “COVID has caused a lot of job losses and there are a lot of people trying to find work.”

During the COVID restrictions, the organization went online like so many others.

“We had to completely change the way we operate during COVID and not have in-person meetings. We had what we called a virtual pick-and-pack, where we picked women’s clothes off the internet and then dropped them off where they needed them,” Falcon said.

Dress for Success’s mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a support network, professional attire and development tools to help them thrive in work and life.

Dress for Success provides assistance to women as they transition from employment or re-employment. Programs focus on providing a continuum of support and opportunity for women to compete and progress in an ever-changing workplace.

The three main programs offered are the Suiting Program (Professional Clothing Assistance Program), the Professional Women’s Group and the Breakfast Club.

The organization also works with clients who are actively seeking employment, have scheduled job interviews, or have recently secured employment or placement/co-op.

“The government funding spans three years and will help us with staffing, our strategic planning and all of our programs, like the breakfast club,” Falcon said.

The organization is located in the Bayfield Mall and offers all kinds of business clothing, handbags, jewelry, blouses and especially trades uniforms.

“We welcome a lot of women who have gone down the business industry path, so it will be important to attract more of them soon,” Falcon said.

For more information on Dress for Success and how to donate, visit their website at click here.

About Carl Schroeder

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