Little Black Dress Initiative

Little Black Dress Initiative logo

The Junior League of Winston-Salem is embarking on its first 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 the Junior League of Winston-Salem? 

The Junior League of Winston-Salem, which was founded in 1923, is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Our vision as a League is to nurture and educate individuals to build healthier families and a stronger community. Junior League of Winston-Salem is a non-profit organization and operates exclusively on charitable giving from the public and funds raised by our volunteers. In the 2018-19 year, the JLWS served 6,560 volunteer hours with a value of $164,000.

Our membership includes over 700 volunteer members in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area.


What is the Little Black Dress Initiative?

Little Black Dress Initiative (#LBDI) is a week-long awareness and fundraising campaign that harnesses the power of social media and doing something “a little different” in order to educate people about local issues that Leagues work on in their communities. 

In Winston-Salem, our LBDI will underscore awareness of poverty in our community; share statistics about how poverty is impacting our community and how limited access to resources affects daily life; raise funds to support Junior of League of Winston-Salem programming, including Strong Women Strong Families, BookWORM, and Puppet Show.

Junior League of Winston-Salem LBDI Advocates and our community partners wear the same black dress (or outfit) for five consecutive days to illustrate the restrictions poverty places on choices, opportunities, and access to resources. By wearing a button that reads “Ask Me About My Dress,” they invite dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers to raise awareness about the challenges those living in poverty in our community face.


When is LBDI?

Monday, February 24 to Friday, February 28, 2020


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

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. 


How do I donate?

Visit our Donation page here


Join us for additional LBDI Fundraising Events Around Town:

  • CycleBar LBDI Blackout Charity Ride on Saturday, February 15th 12:00pm 

Join us for the LBDI Blackout Charity Ride at CycleBar! The event is open to the public. To ride, register through the link: There is a $15 ride fee. Proceeds from the event will go towards the LBDI to support the Junior League of Winston-Salem community programs that impact poverty in our community (Strong Women Strong Families, BookWORM, Puppet Show, Goler Community Garden, and BackPack Program).  Want to support and not ride, join us to socialize and bid on lockers filled with auction items! 


  • Music and Brews for LBDI Social at  Fiddlin’ Fish: Wednesday, February 24 from 6-9 P.M. 

Join us for a fun evening of food, drinks, and music with your family and friends at Fiddlin Fish. The event is open to the public and there is no cover charge.  Music will be provided by Lisa and The Saints. You can order dinner at Slanted Shed food truck. A portion of the proceeds from select food and beverage options will go towards the LBDI initiative! 

  • Dress for Success

The Junior League of Winston-Salem is partnering with Dress for Success to collect dresses and business attire to help women in our community secure financial stability at the end of our Little Black Dress Initiative.

Visit for more information on how to donate. 


Follow us on Social Media!  

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