The Dress is Black: The Junior League of Chicago’s 2nd Annual Little Black Dress Initiative

Get your little black dresses ready!

The Junior League of Chicago (JLC) is preparing to host its 2nd annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI), from January 24 to January 28, 2022.  JLC members will proudly outfit-repeat during a weeklong advocacy campaign to raise awareness of and funds to support the Junior League of Chicago’s commitment to addressing and combating the impacts of poverty on Chicagoland families suffering from lack of access to essential needs such as food, housing, clothing, education, healthcare and sanitation.

What is the Little Black Dress Initiative? The Little Black Dress Initiative (LDBI) was started by the Association of Junior Leagues International, and Leagues around the world participate each year. Champions wear the same black dress or outfit for five consecutive days to illustrate the restrictions poverty places on choices, opportunities, and access to resources. To compound the reach of the campaign, LBDI Champions use their social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram – to spark conversation about the Junior League of Chicago’s new signature issue, “Meeting Essential Needs” and encourage donations to support the League’s work in this area.

Last year,  31 Junior League of Chicago members served as LBDI Champions and raised $15,052 during the inaugural Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) campaign, raising awareness of the JLC’s signature issues and broadened our base of donor support, with funds raised supporting the JLC’s Community Projects.

What is “Meeting Essential Needs”? This is a new signature issue supported by the Junior League of Chicago this year. Junior League of Chicago believes that meeting the essential needs of Chicago’s citizens is vitally important to the health & well-being of our community and supports efforts to address the multifaceted impacts of poverty on a person’s physical and mental well-being in the following areas: access to healthy foods, access to safe housing, access to clean clothing, access to education, access to healthcare, access to sanitation. Essential Needs are defined as the basic goods and services (food, shelter, clothing, sanitation, education) necessary for a minimum standard of living and attempts to define the absolute minimum resources necessary for long-term physical well-being, usually in terms of consumption of goods. As a League, we are committed to partnering with existing organizations working towards these goals and advocating on behalf of these issues. This will improve the quality of living for Chicagoans and reduce societal impacts resulting from these issues.

How to Support the Junior League of Chicago’s 2nd Annual Little Black Dress Initiative: Participating as an LBDI “Champion” is a great way for JLC members to raise awareness of and funds to combat the impact of poverty in our community.. The broader Chicago community is also invited to participate as corporate donors, sponsors, and business hosts for events or to provide donations to help support this mission. Please contact Colleen Breems or Magda Pecyna (contact information found below) if you are interested in donating your time, funds, or talent.