Little Black Dress Initiative

Little Black Dress Initiative logo

February 22-26, 2021

The Junior League of Winston-Salem is embarking on its second annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI)- which is a campaign to raise awareness of the challenges that face Winston-Salemites living in poverty.


What is LBDI?

Little Black Dress Initiative (#LBDI) is a weeklong awareness and fundraising campaign to educate people about local issues that Leagues work on in their communities. The Junior League of Winston-Salem will use this week to underscore the effects of poverty on the opportunities and choices of people in Forsyth County.

LBDI’s mission has taken on a new significance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left so many women and children struggling with job loss and income and food insecurities. In December 2020 alone, the U.S. lost 140,000 jobs cut and all of them were held by women. LBDI raises money to support JLWS programs that directly impact the health, well-being and economic empowerment of women and children in our community, including Dress for Success, Puppet Show, Strong Women Strong Families and other critical initiatives with our community partners.

When is LBDI?

Monday, February 22 to Friday, February 26, 2021


How can I donate?

Visit our Donation page here

Is there a poverty problem locally? 

  • 16.9% poverty rate in W-S/FC.  64,000-67,000 residents living in poverty Source: UnitedWay
  • A new report shows 27% of the children in Winston-Salem live in poverty, with higher numbers than places like Chicago, Pittsburgh and Dallas. 
  • Winston-Salem ranks 20th in the nation for highest child poverty rates in the newest census numbers Source: Triad Business Journal.
  • WS-FCS #7 largest Metro areas with largest increase of people living in neighborhoods where poverty is highly concentrated Source: UnitedWay
  • 81% increase in the percentage of population living in poverty since 2000 Source: UnitedWay
  • Over 60,000 residents of WS-FC are hungry or are facing the threat of hunger (Total population is 246,328) Source: UnitedWay
  • More than 40% of Kindergarteners do not reach literacy benchmarks. Many of these schools that these children attend are in poverty concentrated neighborhoods.Source: UnitedWay
  • 5 out of 10 third graders are not reading at grade level. Source: NC Public Schools from 2019

How can I get involved?

We encourage all members to participate in LBDI in some way. We know the ongoing pandemic may make it difficult to come out to in-person events and that many people are working from home, which is why this year’s training and events will provide options for participating virtually or safely socially distanced.

There are a few ways to support LBDI:

  • Become an advocate
  • Participate in events
  • Donate to support JLWS initiatives that promote health, stability, and education in our community

Become an advocate

As an advocate, you’ll wear your LBDI button and share information and updates about the campaign via social media, in-person or through other virtual channels. If you’re not on social media, not to worry. The advocate training will cover all the different ways you can raise funds and support LBDI, even if you don’t use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media platforms.

By participating, you’ll have the opportunity to hone your fundraising skills, engage your network for change in our community, make friends and family aware of why you are proud to support and/or be a member of the Junior League, and add your voice to myth-busting and awareness-raising about an important issue.

The League will provide pre-LBDI training and will supply you with all the details and social logos and images you’ll need to help us rock this week. During the training, which will be held TK, you’ll learn how to:

• Speak about the issue with competency and sensitivity

• Set a realistic fundraising goal for yourself

• Set up your online fundraising page

• Confidently make the ask for donations

Sign up here.

Online registration closes Feb. 8, 2021. Please email if you would like to register after that date.

Participate in LBDI events

LBDI is all about awareness and empowerment, but we’re also going to have a lot of fun. Check out our 2021 events, including:

  • Pedal Out Poverty Charity Ride & Social at CycleBar, which will be held outdoors on Saturday, February 20. Tickets are $20 and masks are required. Click here to register!

  • PJs and Cocktails Virtual Experience: Friday, February 26, 7:00 pm: Join the Ginger Fox for a virtual mixology class complete with mixers! For $20, participants will receive the following non-alcoholic mixers:

One 8 oz Shrub with multiple recipes (2 servings) Raspberry Cardamom

One 4oz Syrup with multiple recipes (2 servings) Smoked Sweet Tea

Four Cocktail Bombs (2 different flavors) French Martini (Pineapple, Raspberry, Vanilla) and Pomegranate Molasses

As well as instructions and suggestions for alcoholic and non-alcoholic bases, an invite to the Friday, February 26th 7pm-8pm class and PJ party. If you’d like to participate but cannot attend live, the session will be recorded and sent for access.

$10 from every order will go directly to LBDI!!

Order your event ticket and cocktail ingredients package by remitting $20 here: You will receive an email the week of February 21st with the zoom link and other pertinent details about the evening and your cocktail ingredients package.
  • Dress for Success Collection Drive: Saturday, Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • This will be a drop-off event held outdoors, and Dress for Success will be collecting formal and business casual attire that women can wear to job interviews and during their first weeks at work. DFS also needs full-size toiletries, copy paper, medical scrubs, khaki pants and polo shirts and other attire for hospitality jobs. They also welcome designer clothing and handbags to be auctioned off in a future fundraiser to support working women in our community.

Visit for more information on how to donate. 

How do I donate?

Visit our Donation page here

Where will my donations go?

The funds raised make possible the work and mission of the Junior League of Winston-Salem. All donations are fully tax deductible. A few of the ways that the JLWS is utilizing unrestricted gifts to assist our programs which address the effects of poverty in our community are:

  • to support Strong Women Strong Family health fair expenses such as food, security, entertainment, translators and supplies; crock pots, vegetable steamers and can openers; disposable dental supplies; bikes and helmets; supplies for take-home health bags.
  • which will support buying books on our community partner’s wish lists; permanent portable bins for book drives; marketing funds to promote BookWORM in the community; tables and signage for community events and reading parties; book shelves for storage.
  • provide new portable stages, up-to-date audio players and sound projection equipment, new sets of puppets, and a Spanish recording of the Puppet Show. 


Follow us on Social Media!  

Be sure to like and follow JLWS on social media to stay up-to-date with the LBDI and all League happenings!

Instagram [@juniorleaguews]

Facebook [Junior League of Winston-Salem]

Twitter [@JuniorLeagueWS]

Use the hashtags #WomenBuildingABetterWS, #JLWS, #LBDI

Have questions? Email


At this time, participation in the Little Black Dress Initiative is open to JLWS members only. 


Started by the Junior League of London in 2014, dozens of Junior Leagues have replicated the initiative in their own communities. Learn more about this Association-wide program