Junior League of San Diego participates in successful Little Black Dress Initiative

The Junior League of San Diego participated in the Little Black Dress Initiative from March 9 to 13.
(Courtesy of the Junior League of San Diego)

The Junior League of San Diego raised nearly $6,000 and collected 10 bags of clothing during its fourth annual Little Black Dress Initiative held March 9-13.

The initiative calls attention to the issues created by poverty, including those who have to wear the same clothing day after day. About 40 junior league volunteers wore the same black dress throughout the five days of the campaign, along with buttons that said “ask me about my black dress.”

“The education that we’re able to put out there in the community and the conversations that we’re able to begin have grown exponentially as well,” said Emily Green Lake, president of the Junior League of San Diego.

Green Lake, who joined the Junior League seven years ago, wore the dress and button at the Hillcrest restaurant where she works to raise awareness. The other participants did the same to promote the initiative to their friends, family, coworkers and anyone else they encountered throughout the week.

The new and lightly used clothing collected by the organization, which is being donated to community programs that provide support for homeless youth, is mostly formal wear that can be used for job interviews or in the workplace. Some of the items that were donated include blazers, blouses, purses and shoes.

The Little Black Dress Initiative started in the Junior League of London in 2014. The San Diego chapter has has been holding its own version of the initiative over the last four years. Junior League chapters throughout the country are also taking part. It starts each year by using social media to attract as many volunteers as possible to wear their black dresses.

Green Lake said the San Diego chapter’s version of the fundraiser has grown each year. She said seeing all the volunteers posting pictures in their black dresses to social media is “really awesome and it’s very inspiring too.” Volunteers were asked to post a picture each day throughout the week of the initiative.

The chapter also hosted hosted a fundraising event at Side Bar in downtown San Diego on the last day of the Black Dress Initiative week.

“It’s very cool to be able to reach a very wide audience With social media, people are talking about it not just in San Diego, but people are talking to friends and relatives all over the world,” she added.

The Junior League of San Diego is located at 210 Maple St. For more information, visit