How the United Way is making a difference in the lives of women

Women’s Leadership Council of United Way of Southern Nevada understands the difference one hanger can make in a woman’s life. On the first Friday of every November, the WLC hosts their annual one-day suit drive. The impact one outfit can make for a woman who is starting on a new path in her life is invaluable.
She may be leaving an abusive relationship, preparing for a job interview or going to her first day of work, but having a new suit helps inspire confidence in any woman.

Nowhere was the impact of donated suits more apparent than during the Women’s Leadership Council Annual Luncheon held February 7 in the Palace Ballroom at Caesars Palace.

During the luncheon, Mitzi told her story about a back-to-work program and her new suit from the drive that helped her to get her back on her feet and obtain a job.

“When I think about my life and all the hardships that I had to go through, and I know that there will be many more to come, I just keep telling myself … I’ve been down so long there is no place else for me to go but up,” said Mitzi. “And thankfully getting up and moving upward isn’t quite so hard anymore.”
When Mitzi stood to be recognized, a member of the WLC recognized the suit Mitzi wore as one she had donated. Imagine the impact to not only know, but to see the transformation your suit makes in someone’s life in our community.

To many women who donate a suit, it is often an outfit that they no longer wear because they have retired, lost weight or have outgrown it. Whatever reason, what happens to the clothes that are dropped off at WLC’s one-day suit drive? Will this outfit make a difference for someone else?

As a result of the 2011 WLC Suit Drive, more than 5,700 professional items were collected including suits, dresses, shoes, handbags and jewelry. Items collected benefitted Safe Nest, S.A.F.E. House, the Shade Tree, Goodwill of Southern Nevada Career Connections, HopeLink and Help of Southern Nevada’s Work Opportunity Readiness Center.

This year WLC will also be partnering with the Women’s Development Center. All of these accredited United Way agencies have back-to-work programs for women. Because of the generous donations to the annual suit drive, the lives of women are impacted in a positive way. It gives these women the tools to build confidence as they take back control of their lives. It is … changing lives one hanger at a time!

The Women’s Leadership Council, co-chaired by Cindy Brinker and Deb Mele-Blanchard, bring women philanthropists and community leaders together to inspire others to take action and create long-lasting change in the community through education, health and financial stability. Since its inception in 2007, the WLC membership has grown to over 100 members.

For more information about the Women’s Leadership Council or the suit drive, please call Lawrel K. Larsen, Director of the WLC at 7902.892.2319 or