Bottomless Closet

Economic Opportunity

Geography: United States

Founded: 1991


435 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Bottomless Closet  is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt organization and has the distinction of being the first workforce agency of its kind in the United States.

Laurel Baer, Anne Jenkins, Donna Paulino,  Mary Ann Moloney and Lynda Wright- five Chicago business women - founded the non-profit organization in 1991 in response to the compelling need for services to increase the potential of women on assistance and to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Their inspiration came from Lynda Wright a former "welfare" recipient who told her story on a local radio station. Lynda had drained what little financial resources were available to her through public aid on rent, food and clothes for her children. What remained was barely enough for a round trip to a job interview never mind buying suitable interview outfits!

The founding mission of Bottomless Closet was "to elevate the employment potential and marketability of women welfare recipients who want to work. It will provide clothing, at no charge, to women on assistance who don't have suitable clothing to wear to a job interview". Bottomless Closet Inc. opened its doors for business on June 1, 1991.