In February 2017, the Alliance 98 (TA98) hosted the first Suited for a Cause at the Little Village Lawndale High School Campus. TA98 worked in partnership with three local tailor shops and Tom James Company— the world’s largest manufacturer of customized suits— to provide 70 promising young males of color with tailored suits. Tom James’ clients generously donated lightly worn professional garments as well as funding for the event. Local entrepreneurs and professionals facilitated workshops focused on networking, professionalism, and career exposure. The collective impact framework was used to develop Suited for a Cause, which made the outcome of the event successful. Many organizations and businesses came together under one mission, to equip young people with the resources needed to navigate the professional setting. TA98 partnered with 14 local organizations & businesses and had well over 20 volunteers (parents, Little Village High School alumni, and community members) at this one-day event. TA98 continues to use the collective impact framework to build out robust programming for their emerging nonprofit.
After the first Suited for Cause, community organizations from Englewood and North Lawndale reached out to TA98 to collaborate. In October 2017, TA98 provided the Dress Closet for the Chi 100K Opportunities Hiring Fair at Kennedy King College. At registration, participants who needed professional clothing were sent to the Dress Closet to get outfitted before being interviewed for potential job opportunities. As a result, TA98 outfitted over 230 young men and women; all of the participants were able to keep the clothing for future use. Additionally, TA98 partnered with Lawndale Christian Community Church and the Firehouse Community Arts Center to provide young males from North Lawndale with 50 suits. Since February 2017, TA98 has directly impacted more than 350 participants from South Lawndale, North Lawndale, and Englewood with resources that would elevate their chances of gaining employment.