Little Black Dress Initiative

Junior League Rockford LBDI 2021


Mark your calendars for LBDI Week: October 17-24, 2021.

Check out our amazing 2021 sponsors helping to get us to our goal! Thank you

What is the Little Black Dress Initiative?

The Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) is an awareness and fundraising campaign employed by many Junior Leagues around the world. It highlights the Junior League of Rockford’s mission of training and empowering women leaders in the community and the commitment to building public awareness about literacy through our new project, Literacy Leaders.

The Junior League of Rockford (JLR) has chosen to participate for the fourth time on October 17th – 24th, 2021.  Our goal is $12,000 raised during this week.

Participants will wear a black dress or black outfit, as they are able, for seven consecutive days as a visible symbol of participation and to start conversations and raise awareness about literacy issues in the Rockford area. Wearing one black dress or outfit illustrates the crippling effects limited resources can play on one’s quality of life and allows members to educate themselves on the difficulties facing those in need. Participants will also solicit funds from family, friends, and coworkers to support the Junior League of Rockford and our new project, Literacy Leaders. The goal of Literacy Leaders is to lessen the consequence of illiteracy in children and provide opportunities for families to have access to books for the home.

All active members are highly encouraged to participate in this initiative as they aim to 

  • Raise awareness and educate themselves on the difficulties facing those in need without access to resources and how limited resources can impact our daily life. 
  • Start a conversation about the Junior League of Rockford and our project, Literacy Leaders 
  • Shine a spotlight on the issues surrounding poverty and the limits poverty can place on access to books, early reading and language development, and long-term academic achievement of the children in Rockford

What do the funds support? The primary focus of JLR’s LBDI is to raise funds to support our Mission. All funds raised during the LBDI week will go towards the Junior League of Rockford’s mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The goal of the initiative is to raise $12,000 during the week of October 17-24, 2021 through events, personal fundraising, and sponsorship.

About Literacy Leaders

Our Program Vision

Our vision is to provide books to babies and young children in underserved areas of Rockford. We will accomplish this goal by creating community partnerships and programs.

Swedish American NICE Read-a-Thon

We’ve partnered with Swedish American Hospital to provide new board books to infants in the NICU. JLR hosts an annual book drive of new board books and presents them to Swedish American, Swedish American staff then create bundles of books to go home with each baby to start their home library. Additionally, they have created a library cart of books for parents to select from when they visit.

Bookworm Vending Machines

We are also partnering with Swedish American to place Bookworm Vending Machines in pediatric clinics located in underserved areas in the Rockford community. These vending machines will be filled with new books of varying skill levels. When a child visits the clinic, for a scheduled well baby/child exam, they will be given a special token to use in the vending machine to pick out a new book. The idea of being able to pick out their very own book will make them excited to read it. Our goal is to fill the vending machines with books that will represent the demographics of the children that they are serving.  We are currently sourcing a wide variety of diverse books so these babies and children can see themselves in the books they are choosing.

These book vending machines are manufactured in the USA and are specifically engineered to make sure every token receives a book without any hang-ups.  Each machine can be customized with varying tray sizes to handle a diverse selection of books. Each vending machine can hold up to 300 books depending on the size and shape of the books.  The vending machines also have beautiful vibrant vinyl wraps on the outside that can be customized to our partners specifications. 

Carpenters Place Giving Library

Carpenter’s Place is a local nonprofit whose mission is to provide the tools necessary for rebuilding the lives of the homeless. Carpenter’s Place offers direction with the accountability of people with broken lives, helping them find peace with themselves and their community. They are in the process of building a new store, Thrift Plus, which will include a “Give-Away Book Nook”. The nook will be a reading area with free books for kids. The Junior League of Rockford has presented Carpenter’s Place with a generous donation of new and gently used books to make the nook a reality.

*We are monitoring these objectives in light of COVID-19

Literacy in the Rockford Area

Below are some facts about literacy in the Greater Rockford Area to inform your conversations with friends, family, and coworkers as found on the Illinois Report Card:

  • 46% of children in Rockford were not ready in math, language/literacy, or social emotional development when they entered Kindergarten (2020 ISBE Report Card).
  • Only 15% of RPS 205 3rd graders met or exceeded reading level performance (2019 ISBE Report Card).
  • 46% of the Districts 3rd graders are in the very lowest category of achievement for reading (2019 ISBE Report Card). 
  • Children who do not read at grade-level by third grade are at much greater risk of struggling academically in future years, developing behavioral and social problems at school, failing to graduate and living in poverty as adults.

Sunday, October 17th: Sam’s on Riverside Dine + Donate. 10% kickback on carryout and dine-in orders from 4-9 PM. Must mention Junior League when ordering. 

Monday, October 18th: Tilted 10 Junior League Rockford Night. 5-9 PM 20% kickback on bowling and arcade and 10% kickback on food/beverages. Attendees must show “ticket” at checkout. Grab your tickets here.

Monday, October 18th: Jersey Mike’s Dine and Donate. Runs all day at East State St and West Lane locations. 25% kickback on all online or in person orders, Must mention LBDI Fundraiser in store or use code DNS25 using app or online. Click for flyer.

Tuesday, October 19th: Rockford Roasting Co – Coffee for a Cause. Event runs all day (7 AM to 6 PM). 12% of all customer sales will go towards LBDI. Pick up a coffee, tea, or quick treat before heading over to GMM! 

Tuesday, October 19th: GMM Happy Memories. All Happy Memories funds will go towards LBDI. (Members, please RSVP to the October GMM and submit your Happy Memories HERE.)

Wednesday, October 20th: Hidden Creek Estates Wine Night with Live Music. 5-9 PM with a portion of all food truck and wine sales going towards LBDI. 

Thursday, October 21st: Mixology Night with Abreo. $60 cocktail kit (2 different cocktail kits, each yielding 2 drinks for 4 drinks total and a cheese and charcuterie board for 2) with a virtual happy hour. Order kits by 10/14, pick up 10/21 at Abreo during your selected time during the hours of 12-5. Zoom call starts at 7:00! Purchase tickets HERE!

Thursday October 21st: Mod Pizza Dine + Donate. 10:30 AM – 10 PM at the E. State St location. 20% kickback on take-out, delivery and online purchases. Use code GR204472J when ordering online. Click for flyer.

Friday, October 22nd: Pita Pit Dine + Donate. 2 PM – 9 PM at the Perryville location. 20% kickback on sales. Must mention Junior League Fundraiser. 

Friday, October 22nd: Erica’s Board Creations take home kit. Kits will come with everything you need and instructions on how to do the project! Gather on zoom with live instructions by Erica.  Kits can be purchased through Erica’s Board Creation website until Wednesday, October 20th for $30 each. Pick up at Local Blessings October 20th or 21st from 10-5 PM (122 S. Prairie St Rockton, IL) or from JL Headquarters October 21st or 22nd from 4:30 – 6:00 PM.. 

Sunday, October 24th: Sunday Funday at Urban Forest. 12-6 PM. Axe throwing on site. A portion of food truck and beverage sales will go towards LBDI. Raffle Drawing to be held at 5:30 PM (need not be present to win).