Little Black Dress Initiative

When you lack options, you lack opportunity.

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

The inaugural Junior League of Topeka LBDI is October 14 – 18, 2019. During this week, JLT members and community partners will wear the same little black dress 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 button that reads “Ask me about my Dress,” members will invite and welcome dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers to raise awareness about generational poverty.


1.   Donate to the cause! Funds raised by LBDI to support the Junior League of Topeka’s programs to fight community instability and train volunteers to go out and work towards breaking the cycle of poverty. Our goal this year is to raise $10,000 – please help us reach our goal!

2. Be an Advocate! Join the Junior League of Topeka in wearing the same Little Black Dress or outfit and an “Ask Me About my Little Black Dress” button everyday during the campaign week, October 14-18. Share your journey on social media and drive your followers to donate to help the Junior League of Topeka combat community instability.

I want to be an advocate!

3.  Participate by donating moneydresses or 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.

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