Charity Review

  • Issued: June 2016
  • Expires: June 2018

Dress for Success Worldwide

Accredited Charity

Meets Standards


32 East 31st Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Accredited Charity


32 East 31st Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Accredited Charity

Accredited Charity

Meets Standards

Standards For Charity Accountability


  1. Board Oversight

    Oversight of Operations and Staff: Standard 1

    Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Board Size

    Number of Board Members: Standard 2

    Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Board Meetings

    Frequency and Attendance of Board Meetings: Standard 3

    An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Board Compensation

    Compensated Board Members: Standard 4

    Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Conflict of Interest

    Conflict of Interest: Standard 5

    No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.

    The organization meets this standard.

Measuring Effectiveness

  1. Effectiveness Policy

    Board Policy on Effectiveness: Standard 6

    Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Effectiveness Report

    Board Approval of Written Report on Effectiveness: Standard 7

    Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

    The organization meets this standard.


  1. Program Expenses

    Program Service Expense Ratio: Standard 8

    Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Fund Raising Expenses

    Fund Raising Expense Ratio: Standard 9

    Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Accumulating Funds

    Ending Net Assets: Standard 10

    Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Audit Report

    Financial Statements: Standard 11

    Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Detailed Expense Breakdown

    Detailed Functional Breakdown of Expenses: Standard 12

    Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

    The organization meets this standard.

  6. Accurate Expense Reporting

    Accuracy of Expenses in Financial Statements: Standard 13

    Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

    The organization meets this standard.

  7. Budget Plan

    Budget: Standard 14

    Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

    The organization meets this standard.

Fund Raising & Info

  1. Truthful Materials

    Misleading Appeals: Standard 15

    Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

    The organization meets this standard.

  2. Annual Report

    Annual Report: Standard 16

    Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

    The organization meets this standard.

  3. Website Disclosures

    Web Site Disclosures: Standard 17

    Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

    The organization meets this standard.

  4. Donor Privacy

    Privacy for Written Appeals & Internet Privacy: Standard 18

    Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

    The organization meets this standard.

  5. Cause Marketing Disclosures

    Cause Related Marketing: Standard 19

    Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).

    The organization meets this standard.

  6. Complaints

    Complaints: Standard 20

    Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.

    The organization meets this standard.


Dress for Success Worldwide meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.


  • Year, State Incorporated

    1997, New York

  • Affiliates

    Dress for Charlotte, North Carolina
    Dress for Succcess Burlington, Vermont
    Dress for Success Adelaide, Australia
    Dress for Success Albany, New York
    Dress for Success Allentown, Pennsylvania
    Dress for Success Almere, Netherlands
    Dress for Success Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Dress for Success Atlanta, Georgia
    Dress for Success Auckland, New Zealand
    Dress for Success Austin, Texas
    Dress for Success Bakersfield, California
    Dress for Success Billings, Montana
    Dress for Success Boise Valley, Idaho
    Dress for Success Boston, Massachusetts
    Dress for Success Bronx, New York
    Dress for Success Brookhaven, New York
    Dress for Success Buffalo, New York
    Dress for Success Calgary, Canada
    Dress for Success Central Alberta, Canada
    Dress for Success Central Virginia, Virginia
    Dress for Success Charleston County, South Carolina
    Dress for Success Christchurch, New Zealand
    Dress for Success Cincinnati, Ohio
    Dress for Success Cleveland, Ohio
    Dress for Success Columbia, South Carolina
    Dress for Success Columbus, Ohio
    Dress for Success Cork, Ireland
    Dress for Success Corpus Christi, Texas
    Dress for Success Costa Rica - Central Valley
    Dress for Success Dallas, Texas
    Dress for Success Denver, Colorado
    Dress for Success Des Moines, Iowa
    Dress for Success Dublin, Ireland
    Dress for Success Dutchess County, New York
    Dress for Success Eindhoven, Amsterdam
    Dress for Success Erie, Pennsylvania
    Dress for Success Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Dress for Success Fresno, California
    Dress for Success Greater London, England
    Dress for Success Halifax, Canada
    Dress for Success Hamilton, New Zealand
    Dress for Success Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Dress for Success Hartford, Connecticut
    Dress for Success Honolulu, Hawaii
    Dress for Success Houston, Texas
    Dress for Success Hudson County, New Jersey
    Dress for Success Indianapolis, Indiana
    Dress for Success Jamaica
    Dress for Success Kansas City, Missouri
    Dress for Success Kingston, Canada
    Dress for Success Lackawanna, Pennsylvania
    Dress for Success Lagos, Nigeria
    Dress for Success Leeds, England
    Dress for Success Leeuwarden, Amsterdam
    Dress for Success Leiden, Amsterdam
    Dress for Success Lexington, Kentucky
    Dress for Success Lisbon, Portugal
    Dress for Success Louisville, KY
    Dress for Success Luxembourg
    Dress for Success Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
    Dress for Success Manchester, England
    Dress for Success Memphis, Tennessee
    Dress for Success Mercer County, New Jersey
    Dress for Success Metro Jackson, Mississippi
    Dress for Success Mexico City, Mexico
    Dress for Success Miami, Florida
    Dress for Success Michigan
    Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County, Connecticut
    Dress for Success Midwest, Missouri
    Dress for Success Montreal, Canada
    Dress for Success Mornington Peninsula, Australia
    Dress for Success Morris County, New Jersey
    Dress for Success Nashville, Tennessee
    Dress for Success Netherlands
    Dress for Success New Orleans, Louisiana
    Dress for Success New Plymouth, New Zealand
    Dress for Success New River Valley, Virginia
    Dress for Success New York, New York
    Dress for Success Northland, New Zealand
    Dress for Success NW Arkansas
    Dress for Success Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Dress for Success Oregon
    Dress for Success Orillia and Barrie, Canada
    Dress for Success Orlando, Florida
    Dress for Success Ottawa National Capitol Region, Canada
    Dress for Success Palm Beaches, Florida
    Dress for Success Perth, Australia
    Dress for Success Pittsburgh-Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania
    Dress for Success Pittsburgh-Washington, Pennsylvania
    Dress for Success Poland-Silesia, Poland
    Dress for Success Quad Cities, Iowa
    Dress for Success Queens, New York
    Dress for Success Racine, Wisconsin
    Dress for Success Red River Vallley of the Upper Midwest
    Dress for Success Regina, Canada
    Dress for Success River Cities, West Virginia
    Dress for Success Riverside, California
    Dress for Success Rochester, New York
    Dress for Success Rotorua, New Zealand
    Dress for Success Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Dress for Success Sacramento, California
    Dress for Success Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dress for Success San Antonio, Texas
    Dress for Success San Diego, California
    Dress for Success San Francisco, California
    Dress for Success San Jose, California
    Dress for Success Saskatoon, Canada
    Dress for Success Scotland
    Dress for Success Seattle, Washington
    Dress for Success Seoul, South Korea
    Dress for Success Shreveport-Bosier, Louisiana
    Dress for Success Singapore
    Dress for Success Sioux Falls, South Dakota
    Dress for Success South Central, Pennsylvania
    Dress for Success Southern Nevada
    Dress for Success Spikjkenisse, Amsterdam
    Dress for Success Stockholm, Sweden
    Dress for Success SW Florida
    Dress for Success Sydney, Australia
    Dress for Success Tallahassee, Florida
    Dress for Success Tampa Bay, Florida
    Dress for Success Tel Aviv, Israel
    Dress for Success Toronto, Canada
    Dress for Success Triangle, North Carolina
    Dress for Success Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Dress for Success Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Dress for Success Utrecht, Amsterdam
    Dress for Success Vancouver, Canada
    Dress for Success Warren-Youngstown, Ohio
    Dress for Success Washington DC
    Dress for Success Wellington, New Zealand
    Dress for Success Western Massachusetts
    Dress for Success Wichita, Kansas
    Dress for Success Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    Dress for Success Worcester, Massachusetts
    Dress for Success, Brisbane, Australia
    Dress for Success, Bristol, England
    Dress for Success, Phoenix, Arizona

  • Stated Purpose

    "to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and life."


Dress for Success strives to be a global leader in women's employment issues by helping women achieve economic independence through providing professional attire and employment tools to be successful in the workplace. The organization's programs include Suiting, Workforce Development, Career Development, Leadership, and Employment Retention.

For the year ended December 31, 2014, Dress for Success's program expenses were:

Program expenses 16,017,381
Total Program Expenses: $16,017,381

Governance & Staff

  • Chief Executive

    Joi Gordon, Chief Executive Officer

  • Compensation*


  • Chair of the Board

    Rose Stuckey Kirk

  • Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation

    President, Verizon Foundation

  • Board Size


  • Paid Staff Size


*2014 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.

Fund Raising

Method(s) Used:

Direct mail, special events, print advertisements, grant proposals, Internet appeals, cause-related marketing, and membership appeals.
Fund raising costs were 4% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $16,879,176, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.


The following information is based on Dress for Success's audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2014.

Source of Funds
In-kind contributions - product 10,790,588
Contributions 3,935,829
Fundraising activities 2,152,759
Investment income 33,535
Total Income $16,912,711
  • Programs: 95%
  • Fundraising: 4%
  • Administrative: 1%
Total Income $16,912,711
Program expenses 16,017,381
Fundraising expenses $725,414
Administrative expenses $160,215
Other expenses $0
Total expenses: $16,903,010
Income in Excess of Expenses 9,701
Beginning Net Assets 4,765,374
Ending Net Assets 4,775,075
Total Liabilities 751,279
Total Assets 5,526,354

Note: According to the 2014 audited financial statements, Dress for Success received $10,790,588 in contributed goods and services including clothing ($10,037,550), jewelry ($212,047), cosmetics ($178,950), other ($143,836), airfare ($80,000), hotel ($64,000), food ($50,000), and beverages ($24,205).

An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.