Dress for Change Initiative


When you lack options, you lack opportunity.

The Dress For Change Initiative (formerly known as Little Black Dress Initiative) is an advocacy campaign that seeks to raise community awareness on the issue of generational poverty and community instability in Topeka.

The 5th annual Junior League of Topeka Dress For Change will be held October 16 – 20, 2023. During this week, JLT members and community partners will wear the same outfit or T-shirt for five consecutive days to illustrate the effects poverty can have on a woman’s access to resources, her confidence, and her professional opportunities. By wearing a sticker that reads “Ask me about my outfit,” members will invite and welcome dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers to raise awareness about generational poverty.

This year we are proud to be partnering with several community agencies to bring further awareness to the effects of generational poverty in our community.


1.   Donate to the cause! Funds raised by Dress For Change will support the Junior League of Topeka’s programs to help break the cycle of poverty. Our goal this year is to raise $8,000 for 2023 – please help us reach our goal!

For offline donations you can email fundingdevelopment@jltopeka.org to get an offline donation form. Offline donations can be mailed to:

The Junior League of Topeka, C/O: LBDI, 5889 SW 29th St, Topeka, KS 66614

2.  Be an Advocate! Join the Junior League of Topeka in wearing the same outfit and an “Ask Me About my Dress For Change” sticker everyday during the campaign week. Share your journey on social media and drive your followers to donate to help the Junior League of Topeka combat poverty in our community. Email fundingdevelopment@jltopeka.org to get started!

3. Buy a T-Shirt! Wearing a Dress For Change T-Shirt helps bring awareness to everyone in the community. This is a great way to support the cause if you are not able to be an advocate this year.

4. Participate by sharing our posts for more awareness!


This initiative will help us advocate for poverty awareness & Community Instability while supporting our mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving our community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. In addition, JLT has established and collaborated with many organizations and projects that help support those affected by generational poverty including:

  • CASA
  • Colgate Dental Van
  • Habitat for Humanity: Women Build
  • Kansas Action for Children
  • Project Topeka
  • Race Against Breast Cancer
  • The Diaper Depot
  • Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
  • Topeka Rescue Mission
  • YWCA



Generational poverty occurs in families where at least two generations have been born into poverty. Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development. Poverty and financial stress can impede a child’s cognitive development and their ability to learn. The poverty rate in Topeka has steadily increased in recent years and now affects nearly 17 percent of Topeka residents. JLT is committed to eradicating generational poverty in Shawnee County, and through efforts like LBDI, we as an organization are able to provide critical education on this issue and help raise money to effect change.

Click HERE for our fact sheet.
Click HERE for a list of resources compiled by Community Resource Council, Inc, that may be available to help provide new options and opportunities.

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