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Bottomless Closet

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Employment Preparation & Procurement, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Job Training

Mission: The mission of bottomless closet is to promote economic self-sufficiency by providing interview skills, business clothing, and ongoing career development and support programs to new york city women on public assistance as well as economically disadvantaged women. By enhancing their self confidence and self sufficency we enable them to enter and succeed in the work force and transform the vision in their lives

Results: Nearly 50,000 women served

Target demographics: women in need reenter the workforce

Direct beneficiaries per year: 3500 clients

Geographic areas served: New York City

Programs: The Bottomless Closet experience is all about making women feel confident, prepared, and empowered to ace their job interviews, start that new job, and begin their journey to self-sufficiency. Attire Upon arriving at Bottomless Closet, each woman is paired up one-on-one with a volunteer career coach who will handle the duration of the appointment. They will begin in the boutique, where they can pick out professional clothing, shoes, and accessories that will help them give a sparkling first impression. Resume Help During the second half of the appointment, they will sit down together and review their resume to make sure it best reflects their individual skills and qualifications. Our in-house resume experts will update their resume in real time, so they can leave Bottomless Closet with brand new copies printed out as well as on a flash drive that they can keep. Interview Prep While their resume is being updated, their volunteer career coach will conduct a mock interview with them. Together, they will tackle everything from the importance of shaking hands and making eye contact, to how to deliver your personal elevator pitch and best answer all the tough interview questions without getting flustered. They will practice highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, citing examples from their past work experience to demonstrate various skills, and even getting comfortable messaging things like a gap in employment. By the time they leave Bottomless Closet, they will have everything they need to ace their interview and get the job. If they don’t get the job on the first try, they can come back for additional coaching before their next interview. If they get the job, they can come back to pick out additional clothing so they’ll have a nice foundation wardrobe as they start their new job. Workshops Everyone who comes through our doors also gains access to our selection of workshops, whether they get the job or not. Bottomless Closet offers a wide variety of workshops in the areas of Financial Management, Professional Development, and Personal enrichment — all aimed at making the transition into the workforce and the path to self-sufficiency that much smoother. Our Financial Management workshops cover everything from banking, getting out of debt and how to understand and improve your credit score, to getting a mortgage and buying your first home. Our Professional Development workshops help women tackle things like how to succeed on the job, the best ways to ask for a raise or a promotion, and how to keep your LinkedIn profile updated. Our Personal Enrichment workshops offer additional ways to help women thrive on the job, such as yoga and meditation for stress relief, haircare and makeup application, and personal style for the workplace. All workshops are provided free of charge and many include a healthy meal as well. Bottomless Closet also offers a variety of career days and workshops hosted off-site by our corporate partners, where women can get an inside look at different industries and career paths, and get additional advice and coaching while further practicing their networking skills. Past hosts include Google, InterContinental Hotels Group, L’Oreal, Simon & Schuster, iCrossing, Con Edison, Popular Community Bank and more. The women we serve can also earn certificates for both our Financial Management and Professional Development workshop series, which are awarded each year at our annual graduation ceremony.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Nancy Obler K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

It’s been a difficult last 18 months in so many ways and I decided to do something positive and make a difference by joining the board of Bottomless Closet, an organization that inspires and guides disadvantaged New York City women to enter the workforce and achieve success. Since the moment I joined, I have been impressed by the great work BC is doing, especially during the pandemic. From the moving client testimonials, workshops, annual luncheon, clothing consultations and resume coaching sessions, it is obvious that Bottomless Closet makes a difference in the lives of NYC women every single day and I am truly proud to be associated with them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is an exceptionally impressive and tremendously necessary nonprofit. Led by the incomparable Melissa Norden, this organization provides a veritable plethora of resources for women looking to rejoin the workforce, ranging from resume assistance to interview skills to proper attire and, importantly, to financial budgeting, after securing a job. I was introduced to Bottomless Closet at my company, which is an annual sponsor of their spring luncheon ... but my admiration for Melissa and her team and all that they accomplish for women in need is what inspired me to start an annual Volunteer Day with my own team. We very much look forward to starting that up again next summer. I highly encourage any & all to learn more about Bottomless Closet as well as consider volunteering your time. You will not regret it. You will just wish there were more than 24 hours in a day / 7 days in a week so that you could volunteer MORE time!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is an incredible organization that has changed the way women can reenter the workforce. The staff (a small but mighty team) and the volunteers involved with this organization are 1,000% committed and their Executive Director is one of the hardest working and most dedicated Non profit leaders we have had the pleasure to work with. The are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach their clients so they are able to serve as many women as possible who are in need of their services. Bottomless Closet is the real deal and an organization I am proud to be associated with, and support, personally and professionally!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is one of the most effective and efficient service organizations that I’ve ever supported. Their programs are diverse and impactful for a particularly vulnerable demographic.

1 Lois Kaufman K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for Bottomless Closet, I am impressed by the extreme care that is put into every aspect of our organization, ensuring our clients have the best experience and leave with the necessary tools and confidence to make a better life for themselves. Our boutique is constantly upgraded to make sure the clothes are seasonal and fashionably displayed, our staff is always trying to reach more women who would benefit from our services, and before I could even work with clients on my own, I underwent training to understand how to best assist them while remaining sensitive to their situations. The result of all this attention is an uplifting experience for everyone involved.

When I help my client put together the perfect job interview outfit, I am doing much more than providing them with clothing. I am empowering them! You can see it in their faces as soon as they look at themselves in the mirror and smile. Coupled with the extensive resume review and interview preparation, clients leave our office confident that they will succeed in finding a job.

What’s more, the relationship doesn’t end there, in fact this is only the beginning! Once our clients have found employment, they are welcomed back to Bottomless Closet where they are greeted with applause and offered more clothing for their new job. Our clients are encouraged to enroll in our many workshops, all offered for free by qualified professionals, covering an assortment of topics ranging from fiscal management to recreational activities. They can learn how to budget for their children’s education, adapt their resumes for a career change, or even practice yoga. If our clients don’t opt to participate in the varied workshops, we still follow up with everyone to find out how the job search is going and if they could use any additional services or clothing.

As I tell my clients at their first appointment, this is just the start of what will become a long-lasting relationship with Bottomless Closet.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

We have been partnering with Bottomless Closet for 3 years and can't speak highly enough of the work they do with their clients, the high quality of the experience they provide, and the professionalism of the staff and volunteers. We look forward to doing even more to support the important work they do for women in the coming year.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet has made a tremendous difference for thousands of disadvantaged women in New York City and I’m proud to be a part of the organization.

1

Board Member

Rating: 4

Bottomless Closet provides 1-1 support to New York women who are seeking to enter or return to the workforce. The dedication to the BC mission - of our volunteers, staff, board members, and donors - enables us to leverage a relatively small budget to support many thousands of BC clients. I volunteered for BC and absolutely loved that 1-1 experience, and eventually joined the board to help further BC's goals. The feedback from clients, and watching them become employed and financially independent (and support their families), is the reason we do what we do.

1 Judith T. H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

At Bottomless Closet, volunteers have hands-on interaction with each client they work with. Working with each client includes dressing in an interview appropriate outfit, updating and editing each resume, and coaching on how to succeed with an interview face-to-face or virtual. The reward for the volunteer is to see a shy, anxious, and nervous individual transition into a confident, focused, and self-assured person ready to seize new opportunities they never thought they could reach for. For me, it has been 20+ years of helping an individual recognize their talent, skills, and most importantly, their self-worth.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of Bottomless Closet last year after learning about all the great things this organization does. All volunteers, employees and Board Members believe in the organization's mission and are always willing to go above and beyond in helping the clients.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the board of Bottomless Closet for the past five years and have seen first-hand the positive impact that it has had on so many lives by helping women gain self-sufficiency. The customized approach and laser focus on clients has delivered positive results year after year, allowing women to build better lives for themselves and their families. Throughout the pandemic, Bottomless Closet has demonstrated its commitment to the women of New York, who are among the hardest hit by Covid-19, by working with clients remotely and adjusting our service model to take into account the challenges and constraints posed by the pandemic. Our clients clients have relied on us for over 20 years - and they know that they can continue to count on us to be there for them, regardless of the circumstances. I am incredibly proud to be a part of Bottomless Closet.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Working with clients is incredibly rewarding, seeing the transformation of sadness to happiness with confidence in the course of just an hour + is amazing!

1 Christine C.14

Board Member

Rating: 5

There are seldom opportunities where you can have such immediate and generational impact on women struggling to improve their lives and the lives of their families by returning to work. Through roles such as board chair, treasurer, and co-head of financial mentoring, my satisfaction from helping women acquire the tools to be successful to secure jobs has been immeasurable. The community of fellow board members to staff, volunteers and clients, is overwhelmingly supportive.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve been working with this incredible non profit for 7 years and hope to do so forever. The opportunities and tools BC provides the women in need are likely ones they would otherwise never receive. The attention and level of personalization with which the volunteers give to the women is bar none. It’s remarkable to see women coming together like this. The executive director, Melissa, is one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met. I cannot praise Bottomless Closet enough.

1 Mira G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet (BC) is all about women helping women in NYC get jobs and become financially independent. While it's one thing to say you want to help people, it’s another thing altogether to actually find an organization that has an established track record of helping women enter the workforce and find success. What I love especially about Bottomless Closet, is that we volunteers are expected to consider all aspects of our client’s needs when they’re going after the job. In addition to finding the right outfit and feeling confident in how they look, we sharpen their resumes, provide coaching to prepare for the job opportunity and role play with elevator pitches so our clients can nail the interview. Taking it to the next level, once our client is in the job, we have ongoing workshops so they can achieve even more success, both personally and professionally.

At the end of the day, it’s very simple. I get enormous personal satisfaction knowing that I’m helping other women achieve financial independence. To me, that’s what it’s all about. And, in spite of whatever personal challenges our clients are faced with, they each come in focused and determined to be successful. So it’s a win win for everyone. Who wouldn’t want to spend their time helping someone achieve their dream?

A final and more personal note ... Bottomless Closet has been a focus of my extended family for many years, with my twin daughters and mother-in-law all volunteering in some way to make a positive difference. We are all so grateful to be a part of the BC community of women helping women in NYC.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Several years ago, after retiring from a career in corporate IT, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity that would match my love of mentoring with my desire to help other women achieve career and financial success. When I found Bottomless Closet, I knew it would be a great fit for me, so I joined as a volunteer career coach. Since then I have helped scores of women practice their interview skills, update their resumes, and find just the right outfits for an interview, and for the first few days at the new job. I love working with clients, with my fellow volunteers (among the smartest and kindest women I’ve ever met), and with the wonderfully caring and supportive staff. I’ve had the opportunity to present workshops on topics such as Time Management and Business Etiquette at partner sites and via Zoom, and to be involved in planning and executing Bottomless Closet’s client programming. The fact that so many clients stay involved with Bottomless Closet by attending workshops and other events speaks volumes about the quality of their services, as does the long-term involvement of so many volunteers. Bottomless Closet is truly making a difference in the lives of so many New York City women, and I’m delighted to be part of that effort.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been proud to be working with Melissa Norden and her team at Bottomless Closet for many years. They make a huge difference for women and their families and for the entire City of New York. I look forward to helping them continue their great work in building ladders to help others to climb to new heights.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is essential to the women of NYC! It’s not just about the clothes - we provide resume advice, improve interview skills and conduct important workshops including how to budget. A one stop shop for women as they search for jobs!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is an amazing organization making a HUGE impact for NYC women in need. Their team is 100% dedicated to the cause and go above and beyond for their clients. When the pandemic began last Spring, their clients were among those hardest hit and they were able to get virtual services up and running quickly so they could continue to help. They keep donors updated on their progress, and what new services their clients may need so that donors are always in the loop and know where their donations are going. I am proud to support Bottomless Closet!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is an incredible organization helping local NYC women prepare for and re-enter the workforce. As a volunteer, my experience with their team, clients, and board has been extremely positive - everyone is mission-first, and wants to improve their clients' future.

They do the most with limited resources, have built such an incredible community of women, and pivoted with ease to offer a wide array of virtual programming during the pandemic when so many of their clients experienced loss of work. Bottomless Closet operates from the heart and it translates into a warm, welcoming, empowering, and inspiring place making a real impact!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I’ve been a dedicated Bottomless Closet volunteer since 2009. This amazing organization inspires disadvantaged NYC women each day to seek changes in their lives through work and achieving financial independence. At Bottomless Closet we pride ourselves on turning job applicants into viable job candidates through resume development, interview coaching and a wide array of professional development, financial management, wellness and technology for life workshops. Our clients feel as if our time together is life transforming for them. And it’s been life transforming for me too.
Anne Blackman

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is one of the best organizations supporting women in NYC! The staff is kind and knowledgeable. As a donor, you know your dollars are going straight to helping clients in need which is a great feeling. Their mission is clear and they deliver.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet, through the dedicated efforts of its amazing staff, volunteers and donors has helped so many women move successfully into the workforce. I love the hands-on & heartfelt approach to serving the community.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Bottomless Closet is essential to help women in need get back into the workforce. The organization has really pivoted during the pandemic and has continued to provide necessary workshops online in order to maintain existing client relationships and build new ones. The staff and volunteers are extremely dedicated and caring.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization always looks for new and innovate ways to assist women who are trying to get back into the working world, or establish themselves in the working environment. This organization truly cares about the well-being of each and every client.