Program Director and grant writer Katie Jones has always been interested in connecting people in need with material necessities.
I recently caught up with Katie while she was researching grant opportunities with the Foundation Directory Online here at the Central Library. "I've been drawn to helping professions for as long as I can remember," she said, "so I chose psychology as my major in college and recently earned my Master in Social Work from the University of Denver. My social work program helped connect me to Clothes to Kids of Denver."
The mission of Clothes to Kids of Denver, Inc. is to provide new and quality used clothing to low-income, school-aged children in Denver County, free of charge. Their clients include the homeless, recent immigrants, refugees and kids in crisis or foster care. The 4-year-old 501(c)3 helps these deserving clients feel more confident and ready to learn when they go to school.
The organization's newly designed website is everything a nonprofit website should be - upbeat, visually appealing, uncluttered and fun. The Who Qualifies? tab clearly describes who is eligible to shop, how to shop and what is included in the wardrobe. I liked the "sponsor" tab, which prominently lists and thanks clothing stores, non-profit partners and foundations that assist them. Sponsors are recruited by the Board and volunteers.
Speaking of volunteers, Katie says that building the volunteer staff is the most challenging part of her job. "We are very fortunate to have a hard-working Board of Directors and nearly 30 volunteers who serve at the store on a weekly basis," she said. "This is also a challenge because we need to recruit even more volunteers to extend the store hours and days of operation."
When asked what kinds of clothing or donations are currently needed, Katie answers, "Our biggest needs are always pants for boys or girls (sizes 5T-20), pants for young men (especially sizes 27"-36"), shoes for anyone and new, packaged socks and underwear." (See the full list of clothing donation guidelines). You can drop off your donations on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 8:45 a.m. - 1 p.m., or the first Saturday of each month from 9:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. You may also call 720-379-4630 to set up another time. The store is located at 2890 S. Colorado Blvd, right next to the Chez Artiste movie theater.
Katie describes her most satisfying moment at her job so far: "A 17-year-old residing in a group center came to shop before the holidays and picked out a collared shirt, dress pants, a suit jacket, tie and dress shoes - not the typical choices of most young men! His caseworker later told us that he got up on Christmas morning, pressed his new clothes and wore them proudly on a home visit with his family. It was so satisfying to know that the clothes he selected at our store helped make the holidays special for this young man and his family, and that he had four more outfits that he could wear to school. That is what CTKD is all about!"
If someone gave her $100,000? "We would put it into our clothing fund to buy new socks and underwear as well as shoes and pants that are in short supply. We have budgeted nearly $40,000 for these items in 2012 alone."
If you're in the nonprofit world and would like to explore resources at the Denver Public Library, including the Foundation Directory Online, BusinessDecision, or the the Colorado Grants Guide please contact the Nonprofit Center at 720-865-1363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Denver Public Library is a Cooperating Collection of the Foundation Center and provides a core collection of Foundation Center materials, including the Foundation Directory Online. Please contact the Nonprofit Center if you’d like to make an appointment to learn how these resources can benefit your nonprofit organization:
720-865-1363 or email@example.com.