History & Mission

Bottomless Closet was established by a group of founding volunteers in response to an August, 1996 New York Times article that spoke about the obstacles that mothers on public assistance had seeking work, including the lack of appropriate interview clothing and the lack of self-confidence to present themselves professionally in an unfamiliar interview setting. The founders were also responding to the passage of “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act”, also known as The Welfare Reform Act, the same year which radically transformed the nation’s welfare system by imposing a time limit on federal welfare benefits further complicating women’s transition from public assistance into the workforce.
What is perhaps most remarkable about Bottomless Closet is that, from the beginning, it has relied on the support of a dedicated group of volunteers to accomplish the work and mission of the organization. Bottomless Closet believes that this is because the simplicity and strength of the concept of “women helping women” resonates so deeply.
Bottomless Closet’s mission is to be the connection that inspires and guides disadvantaged New York City women to enter the workforce and achieve success.



What are the organization’s core principles:

  • Building self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Promoting professionalism and respect
  • Upholding the spirit of volunteerism

Intended Impact


What we aim to achieve and hold ourselves accountable for:

  • Facilitate entrance into the workforce
  • Build core competencies for workplace success
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Transform women’s vision of their potential

Theory of Change


How we can best achieve our goals:

  • Offer a one-on-one connection with volunteers
  • Enhance business presence and interview skills
  • Provide on-going professional and financial education
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