February 2004 Newsletter

President's Message
Founder's Message
Director's Update
Cause Celeb 2003 Fundraiser
Why I Volunteer
Tax Tips for Volunteers
Volunteer Pictures
Special Thanks

2003 was a remarkable year for Dress for Success with record numbers of women using our services. As we move into 2004, we fully expect those numbers to grow as they have year over year since the program started. Clothing donations, including accessories, shoes and purses are in good supply at year end and the generosity of our donors of “interview ready clothing” seems boundless. Our perennial challenge of fundraising to cover our operational costs remains with us and in 2004, we have exciting plans to raise the profile of Dress for Success while at the same time raising more money to keep the organization running smoothly. We will once again be holding our annual fundraiser – so mark your calendars for March 9th and be sure you attend and bring five friends. In addition to this main fundraising event, we will be putting in place a corporate sponsorship program which will give the organization the kind of support and recognition needed for long term financial stability. On behalf of the Board of Directors of Dress for Success I would like to thank all our volunteers for their hard work, we look forward to working with you again in 2004 and want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy new year.

Sandra Stoddart-Hanson

5 Years and 4500 Clients…

Thank you for continuing to be so active and supportive of Dress for Success. Since opening in February 1999, we have seen 4500 clients through our doors, each with their own engaging story as they seek out their personal success.

I feel privileged to work with such an inspiring group of clients, regularly reminding me of the power of the human spirit. I am similarly privileged to work with such a dedicated group of volunteers who understand that giving as little as four hours a month of their time can have such a profound effect on the lives of others.

Thank you all for continuing to share in our success!

Best regards,
Astrid Levelt

Volunteers Jam with the Drum Café on Team Recognition Night 2003. Over 50 Volunteers were honoured for their dedicated contribution of 4 or more hours per month throughout the year, and a great time was had by all. Click the images to enlarge.

Suits Me Fine! Dress for Success Spring Gala and Silent Auction
presented by Bernard Haldane Associates


starting at 5:30pm
Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

Dress For Success
685 West Hastings Street,
Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada V6B 1N9
Phone: (604) 408-7923

In February I became Program Director and Lucia Crosson joined the office as Program Coordinator. Lucia has been abfab at taking care of the PWG and has helped me immensely. I now have more time for our volunteers, supporters, and amazing Board of Directors.

In spring some of our agencies closed their doors and others cut or changed staff. We overcame this by increasing our agency base to 35 members, with the addition of health, mental health and educational agencies, making this Fall our the busiest season ever.

In 2003, we maintained and grew a fabulous team of volunteers. We added another Thursday each month and opened during holiday weekends, adding 20 days to the calendar and starting make-up consultation on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Over $60,000.00 of new merchandise was donated to our clients.

Thanks to the contributions of every donor, volunteer and DFS supporter, we proudly dressed over 1300 women this year and are projecting 1500+ for 2004.

Deborah Twocock

Celebrating Success
The Dress for Success 4th annual fund-raising event, celebrity suit drive, silent auction and cocktail reception “Cause Celeb” was a fantastic success, raising over $35,000 to assist low-income women as they re-enter and stay in the workforce. Despite a Canuck play-off game, over 300 guests attended the beautiful Waterfront Ballroom on April 22nd, 2003 to hear words of inspiration from four amazing women, Wendy McDonald, CEO of BC Bearing, Susan Gomez, prior General Manager of the Metropolitan Hotel, Bif Naked, renowned Canadian rock star and Merci Veto previous Dress for Success client.

Last night I picked up a wonderful ensemble from your Vancouver location. My job interview doesn't take place until next Thursday.

But my suit and accessories already have duties to perform. I woke up at 5:30am this morning. The suit was calling out to me. First job is to knock on the building manager's door and ask for the money he owes me.

Then we are off to the Job Match appointment at Jewish Family Services. Then we go to Vancity Credit Union, where I will break out my remaining, and very small, RRSP. My suit and I have a full calendar!

The suit's previous owner must have a good heart. This darn suit just keeps gently encouraging me to get out, and get going. I can now accept all invites for coffee and lunch and anything else my new, more positive and stylish life might bring.

Thank you, Dress for Success Vancouver. I’m on my way!
It isn’t often that, as Director, I am moved to tears by the goings on at Dress for Success, but it can happen.

A former client came in to make a donation – of, it turned out, a suit she had received from DFS. She had worn it to her interview and landed a “great job” where, though the work was highly professional and rewarding, she didn’t need to dress up. She wanted someone else to have the same joyful experience that she did.

The black Anne Klein suit went back in our stock: we displayed it with the peacock blue blouse she wore it with, and I’m sure it will bring wonderful things to the next owner. There is magic in our clothing.

Deborah Twocock

By Jean McKelvie
I like to say I volunteer because I’m too young to retire. My friends and family don’t quite buy that reasoning, but they encourage me, anyway.
I love the time I spend at Dress for Success. It rounds out my busy week and gives me a great deal of satisfaction when my partner Lillian and I leave each Tuesday with the place all shipshape.

My career in fashion began over 40 years ago and it was a love affair from beginning to end. Model, fashion show coordinator, wardrobe consultant, I always seemed to be showing people how to dress, how to go from office to evening with a clever use of accessories.
But my favorite was helping those within a tight budget, put together a working wardrobe.

When I finally “retired” five years ago, I looked for a way to put my fashion knowledge to best use. When I discovered DFS on the Oprah Show, I thought it had been created just for me.

It took a couple of years before we got our Vancouver location but since then I’ve been blessed to work with a wonderful group of like-minded women. We may have all found DFS for different reasons, but we stay for the same one: we’re volunteers at heart.

by Nicole Clark, CA of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
1. You may be able to deduct child care payments made so that you or your spouse can earn employment or business income, or attend secondary or post-secondary school. If you are married, only the lower income spouse can claim the deductions. The maximum deduction is $7,000 for each child under 7 and $4,000 for each other child under 16.
2. You may be able to deduct legal fees paid to enforce payment of an existing right to alimony or maintenance payments, as long as those payments are included in your income.
3. You may be able to reduce your payroll deductions if you pay for child care, make regular contributions to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, or have other expenses that are deductible for tax purposes. File form T1213, Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source, at your local Tax Services Office along with support for the deductions. Remember, if your payroll deductions are reduced you will have more after-tax money on each paycheque, but the refund you receive when you file your tax return will be lower.
4. You should always file a return. Even if you have low income or no income, filing a return ensures that you will receive any Child Tax Benefit payments or GST and sales tax credits that you are entitled to. 2003 tax returns are due on April 30, 2004.
You can get more information on these topics and obtain forms at Canada Custom and Revenue Agency’s website, www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca, or at your local Tax Services Office.