In August of 1996, the New York Times published an article about the obstacles that mothers on public assistance faced when seeking work, including the lack of appropriate interview clothing and the lack of self-confidence to present themselves professionally in an unfamiliar interview setting.
Around the same time, The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act – also known as The Welfare Reform Act – passed, radically transforming the nation’s welfare system by imposing a time limit on federal welfare benefits, further complicating women’s transition from public assistance into the workforce.
The founders of Bottomless Closet were watching, and they immediately identified a critical need and took action. Embodying the philosophy of women helping women, they set out to create a welcoming and uplifting place where women in need could receive the tools and resources they needed.
In 1999, Bottomless Closet became a reality.
Bottomless Closet’s mission is to be the connection that inspires and guides disadvantaged New York City women to enter the workforce and achieve success. From our grassroots beginnings, we have grown into an organization that has served nearly 40,000 women in need, amassed nearly 200 dedicated volunteers and 150 referral partners, and has had over 1,000 workshop attendees just last year.
As we look to the future, our founding principles of helping and empowering women in need still guide our daily work.