MADI Makes: Empowering women through job training
Did you know? MADI Apparel (our cause-based for-profit) has a non-profit subsidiary? MADI Donations (501c3) launched in 2015 with the purpose to raise tax-deductible, charitable contributions from the community in order to pay for ADDITIONAL pairs of underwear donations for women in need, beyond our MADI Apparel buy-one-give-one model.
About a year after our non-profit arm launched, one of our amazing board members and an employee of a local homeless day center Hope Faith - Alfredo Palacol - approached us with a big idea: combine our donation-based program with a job-skills training program.
Today, MADI Makes helps women in our community learn a lifetime job skill - seamstress training - to create better opportunities and paths to self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. On October 3, we are hosting our annual fundraiser for MADI Makes called Runway to Impact.
The beginning of MADI Makes
One day we were at Hope Faith - a homeless day center in Kansas City - doing an underwear donation drop-off. At our in-person drop-off events, we set up a big table and lay out multiple styles of MADI Apparel bamboo underwear styles in different colors. Women can then come and pick out their favorite style and literally SHOP for their underwear donation to take home. It's not just underwear, it's dignity!
During our drop-off event, Alfredo (mentioned above) gave us a tour of the Hope Faith sewing center - a massive volunteer-run sewing program for its clients. Hope Faith volunteers were teaching clients how to sew backpacks, blankets, shirts and other practical items that help individuals fighting cycles of homelessness. We wanted to build off their already amazing training center and give the clients a paid-work opportunity - to sew MADI Apparel garments after they've been trained. From there, our MADI Makes job training program began.
The MADI Makes program helps end the cycle of chronic homelessness and unemployment in our community by teaching women a skill they can use to grow a career and confidence. These women face challenges and hardships—and our program is there to help them through that with goal setting, mentoring, training, and more.
Here's how the program works:
MADI Makes trainees go through a 6-8 week part time training program. Once trainees graduate, we're then able to pay the women on a part time basis to contract-sew MADI Apparel garments. We are so proud of our graduates! Our first two ladies, Andrescia and Amanda, graduated in May and are both now paid to sew donation pairs of underwear for MADI Apparel. Their training and materials was paid for by funds raised last year at our Runway to Impact event.
MADI Makes fundraiser: Runway to Impact
This October, we will host our annual Runway to Impact fundraising event to raise funds specifically for our MADI Makes program, so we can empower more women like Andrescia and Amanda to reach greater heights.
Runway to Impact is a fun, exciting urban sustainable fashion runway show and fundraising event in Kansas City. Ticket sales and sponsorships will directly impact deserving women in Kansas City by teaching participants the skills needed to earn ongoing contract sewing work. Plus, they will get you access to one of Kansas City’s greatest sustainable fashion events. We call that a win-win situation.
In addition to paying for Amanda and Andrescia’s seamstress training, Runway to Impact also raises funds to purchase commercial sewing machines that we can use for future trainees and current graduates. This will allow us to optimize our production and create more opportunities for more women in our community.
This year, Runway to Impact will features a live graffiti artist, a live band, dueling female and male djs, live dancers, a silent auction and a killer MADI Apparel runway show! Plus, we will be debuting (and pre-selling!) new and exciting MADI Apparel designs that you won’t want to miss.
Buy your tickets now and support women in need in your community + a local, women-owned and operated business!