Little Black Dress Initiative

Little Black Dress Rockford


Little Black Dress Initiative is coming this FALL! Mark your calendars for LBDI Week: October 18-24, 2021.

Stay tuned for complete details!

Check out our amazing 2020 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.

Junior League of Rockford (JLR) has chosen to participate for the third time on
November 15-21 2020. 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 November 15-21, 2020 through events, personal fundraising, and sponsorship.

About Literacy Leaders

Goal: Lessen the consequence of illiteracy in children and provide opportunities for families to have access to books for the home.


  1. Story Time is a project where the Junior League of Rockford would host a weekly story hour in the community that would be free to all who wish to attend. The story hour would also be hosted in a location that is easily accessible to all members of the community. This would provide the opportunity for children to have more exposure to books.
  2. The project would also include a component where JLR is providing books to parents of young children as well as a bookmark for the parents that includes facts about the importance of reading to children. Possible partners would be local hospitals where a book would be sent home with each baby born. Another possibility would be Crusader Clinic where an age appropriate books is sent home with each child at the time of their annual checkup. The project could also be expanded as needed / desired to include other items such as school supplies and toiletries.
  3. Both components of the project can be expanded to include a book swap. Parents can bring in books that their child has either outgrown or no longer enjoys and swap with other parents.

*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:

  • 2018 study showed that 40% of children in Rockford were not ready in math, language/literacy, and social emotional development when they entered Kindergarten
  • Only 17% of RPS 205 3rd graders met or exceeded reading level performance
  • 43% of the Districts 3rd graders are in the very lowest category of achievement for reading
  • 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.

LBDI Week Event Calendar {COMING SOON}