Suited For Success Jacksonville, Inc. (SFSJ) is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization that provides interview appropriate attire, job search assistance and mentoring to disadvantaged women and men in transition seeking employment. Our program motto: "Changing the Mind, Body & Soul of Clients, one Suit at a time".
Suited For Success was formed back in 2003 with a Public Service grant for $15,000 written by Founder, Shara Mondy, the former Vice President of the Dress For Success Northeast Florida chapter Board of Directors who originally sought out find a men's program that provided the same supportive services that Dress For Success provided for women. With no luck in her local area or the six surrounding counties, she reached out to another organization in another state that provided similar services and asked if they were interested in expanding their men's program to Jacksonville. When she got the reply back from that agency that they were not looking to open another affiliate in the Jacksonville area, a light came on and in that moment, Suited For Success was born. There were a few small organizations that provided "free" clothing, but no program specifically addressing the issue of providing the right interview appropriate clothing necessary to make the first impression a lasting one and give the client the self confidence needed to perform well during the interview.
Most of the populations we serve are surveyed at living below the federal poverty level with ethnicity ranging from about 60% African American, 25% Caucasian, 10% Hispanic and 5% Other. Our target clients include Veterans, Homeless, Ex-offenders, and Women from transitional programs that are in need of supportive services to assist them with obtaining and retaining employment.
2018 brings a new look and life for Suited For Success with a newly formed "Women's Division" "Suited 4 Success" which will focus specifically on women who are under-employed, seeking re-entry into the workforce and women who are interested in becoming Entrepreneurs. As a member of "She Is Fierce" a tribe of women entrepreneurs, coaches and professional women they will provide support and resources to assist me in my development of the women's division. Suited For Success does not claim to be the answer to solving the issues our targeted population faces, however, we strongly believe that permanent solutions are possible with more awareness campaign/partnerships, corporate funding along with sponsorships and mentoring programs.
Experts agree that our first impression (usually a visual one) is made within the first 10 seconds before the person even gets a chance to speak. By providing interview-appropriate clothing and accessories, our clients become more visually credible, thus allowing them to clear the first hurdle of securing a job. Suited For Success was ideally formed to address this dilemma for men who are seeking employment. Suited For Success works on a referral basis, working with other nonprofits and social service agencies whose clients are working toward achieving economic self-sufficiency. Once the client has completed job readiness or vocational training program, they are then referred to Suited For Success for interview clothing. Each client works with a trained Personal Shopper to assist them in selecting their interview attire. A complete outfit is provided at no cost to the client: a professional suit, and accessories (shoes, blouse, shirt, tie, belt as available). Upon obtaining a job and meeting a 30 day employment mark, clients may return to our clothing closet to receive two additional sets of professional/business casual attire. This component is to ensure that the client maintains their professional appearance and will not have to spend their paycheck to purchase clothing. Since March 2003 we have built a network of over thirty agencies including Career Source the local One-Stop office that provides job assistance, workshops, resume preparation, and resources to assist our clients with supportive and re-entry services.
The Men's Wearhouse has been supporting Suited For Success for the past 10 years with clothing donations of men and women suits, dress shirts/blouses, ties, slacks, sweaters and sport coats. Suited For Success has also been participating in the Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive for the past 9 years which has been a great event that helps us to keep our clothing closet full and operating. We are looking forward to celebrating our "10th" year as a partner in 2018. Our past partnership as a non-profit agency with Dignity U' Wear provided us with brand new underwear, t-shirts, socks and casual clothing to provide to our clients. A large portion of our clothing comes from men in the community who donate individually or participate in suit drives at their place of business.
The S4S Mentor Group was created to provide on-going mentoring and support to clients who have obtained employment and give them a platform to be able to network with successful business owners, leaders and fellow SMG members. The SMG is hosted by the "She Is Fierce" (Program Partner) which is a source for women to learn their true passion and purpose. SMG clients will have the opportunity to enhance their personal and professional growth and development; increase practical skills, strengthen personal support systems; and increase their chances for job retention, career advancement and financial independence by attending the "She Is Fierce" networking and coaching sessions. Professionals and experts from the "She Is Fierce" community will share their knowledge and experiences on a broad range of topics including financial planning, written and unwritten rules of the workplace, conflict resolution, job retention, credit repair, and entrepreneurs’ workshops along with other self-sufficiency issues and social networking mixers and platforms.
Suited For Success is currently located in the Beaver Street Enterprise Center near downtown Jacksonville. The space also serves as an office, consultation area, and clothing studio for a small portion of our inventory. We are now looking to expand the program to a larger location that would house a full clothing closet and office so we can provide full service and support services women on their journey to Success.
Suited For Success has participated in several fundraising and charity events such as: The Jacksonville Jaguars Give N Go 100 campaign which will allow donors to get the best deal on Jaguars tickets while supporting the Suited For Success program. For every ticket you purchase to any of the 2018 preseason and regular home games through the secure Give and Go 100 site, you automatically donate $10 to the charity you select. Once the organization has sold 25 tickets, your $10 donation will be matched dollar for dollar for their WeGive.org project, instantly doubling your impact! One-Spark, Men's Wearhouse National Suit Drive and a new Cocktails 4 A Cause "Sip & Shop" mixer with Ann Taylor, women's clothing store in St. John's Town Center (Coming Soon). Matching Gift Program allows hundreds of companies to match their employees' contributions to charities through (United Way). S4S tax ID: 16-1695191