Helping the Community one Business Suit At a Time Everyone has a favorite phrase, motto, or a refrain they like to say to use to describe their life. You can hear young people repeating the phrase used by popular rapper Drake “You Only Live Once” or for people who are 50 plus, “You can’t teach a dog new tricks.”
For Alison Vaughn her motto is “What you do for others, God will do for you.” And doing for others is woven into the fabric of Vaughn’s everyday life. Vaughn is an entrepreneur, spokeswoman, author, mother and daughter dedicated to empowerment.
After witnessing her sister’s own personal journey with transitioning from welfare to becoming gainfully employed and striving for a better life, Vaughn was inspired to create Jackets for Jobs, Inc. She is the Founder and CEO of the 12-year old company that provides low income men and women with professional clothing and accessories, job training, and opportunities for networking to begin their life in the working world.
To say that Jackets for Jobs is a success is putting it mildly. One only has to look at the company’s website, www.jacketsforjobs.org, to see the fruits of Vaughn’s labor. From the prestigious opportunity of presiding over the NASDAQ Market close in 2006, to national retailer TJ Maxx seeking out her organization which led to a $ 1 million dollar donation and the opening of a second office, and most importantly serving over 13,000 clients since beginning in 2000.
“We strive to make our clients feel better about themselves,” says Vaughn. “What we do is helping to empower people and get them back on their feet. It’s more than being just about clothes.” When speaking with Vaughn her passion and enthusiasm for what she does exudes from her voice. One can tell this isn’t something she takes lightly or just stumbled into. “This is a ministry to me. It is a gift from God for me to be able to clothe the poor. I always give credit to God for giving me this mission.”
Jackets for Jobs presently has 6 employees, two offices, a board of directors and hundreds of committed volunteers. But Vaughn isn’t done. This is just the beginning of her platform as she seeks to continue to be of service to those in need. “I want Jackets for Jobs to branch out. Whether it is more offices in this state or out of state I definitely want to expand.”
At a time when many companies are seeking to downsize Vaughn knows she has to persevere through these tough economic times. While clothing donations are up, monetary donations are down. But Vaughn isn’t deterred. “Financial funding and donations are a challenge right now, but all nonprofits are facing the same challenge. Funds are necessary for general operations, and paying salaries, all the things needed to run a business.”
This savvy business woman is is definitely one to watch. On the horizon for Vaughn is a new monthly column and an upcoming event in August with Elise BeautiFULL cosmetics line that will feature Detroit native Lonetee McKee. Vaughn’s dedication to giving and serving as bridge for those in need will no doubt continue to propel her forward.
Visit Allison Vaughn for more information.