Little Black Dress Poverty Awareness Campaign

September 16th-19th, 2024

Little Black Dress is run by Women United and friends to help raise awareness about poverty in the community. This campaign has more than 200 individuals each wearing a black outfit for four days, along to raise $500 each and a team goal of $1,500.

The funds raised are used to fund the education initiative of the United Way and are focused on keeping families in their homes, making sure kids can get to school and learn, as well as finding mentors for these students.

Since 2014, United Way's Women United has raised over $400,000 through the Little Black Dress Campaign. Funds support United Way's Education Initiative helping women and children to overcome the barriers of poverty so they are successful in school and life. 

Registered teams are encouraged to attend our Kick-off Program and Luncheon, on Monday, September 16th at Lady J's from 12-1 pm!

Please join us and kick off the Little Black Dress Campaign! If attending, please email with the number of your team attending by 9/10/2024. 

Don't forget to join us on September 19th for Imagine A World Without Poverty Event to look over the successful campaign while enjoying food, drinks, entertainment, a silent auction, and more. 50% of each ticket purchased for this event sponsors a child in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. 

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Why is Little Black Dress such an important campaign in our community?

  • Allows struggling readers in Kindergarten through Third Grade to get intensive, research-based tutoring.
  • Ensures children get a designated mentor that meets with them for an hour each week.
  • Provides a case manager to work with hundreds of children to de-escalate conflict and develop the personal skills necessary to reduce inter-personal conflict in the future.
  • Helps caring case workers spend thousands of hours addressing the barriers to a good education and a stable family caused by poverty, mental illness, unemployment, homelessness, and more.

Low income students working with United Way’s Education Initiative were 20% more likely to be able to read at grade level, 27% more likely to be meeting math benchmarks and 18% more likely to be meeting reading benchmarks than low income students without these services.



What are the problems that Little Black Dress is raising awareness for?

  • One in five people living in Bismarck-Mandan do not have enough money to meet their basic needs. That means they're  <200% of the poverty level.
  • Every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity.
  • Only 35 percent of youth in Bismarck-Mandan feel they have a positive adult role model.




We are truly grateful for our sponsors, as this event couldn't happen without their support.

A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available for this event.

If you are interested in sponsoring or would like to learn more, please email: 

Whether you donate to the Little Black Dress 2023 Campaign or a Personal Campaign to support a local participating team, your donation is truly appreciated. 

The funds raised, during this campaign, are used to fund the education initiative of the United Way and focused on keeping families in their homes, making sure kids are able to get to school and learn, as well as finding mentors for these students.

If you are interested in donating a Silent Auction item for our Little Black Dress 2023 Campaign Celebration, please email:

Teams of 1-6 women will participate in this campaign by:

  1. Wearing the same black outfit for the week to demonstrate what it's like to have a professional job but not have a wardrobe full of professional outfits, and oftentimes no access to laundry or event showers - although we do allow you to "cheat" and shower throughout the week.
  2. Creating a team page on our website!
  3. Advocating for those who often don't have a voice by sharing social media posts and team photos that highlight statistics, needs, and programs.
  4. Attending the Kick-Off Luncheon on Monday, September 18th.
  5. Be the winning team who raises the most money and win your team tickets to the "Imagine A World Without Poverty Event" on the evening of Thursday, September 21st.
  6. If you are not the winning team, tickets to the "Imagine A World Without Poverty Event" may also be purchased, and we encourage participants to attend!
  7. Donating your black dress (if you wore a dress) to United Way who in turn donates them all to the Abused Adult Resource Center's Career Closet.

Individual Goal - $500

Team Goal - $1500

Registration open!

Thank you for participating in the Little Black Dress Campaign and raising awareness on poverty issues in our community. Please follow the directions below to create your personal and/or team Little Black Dress Campaign fundraising page.

Step 1. To begin the process - click "Create Your Fundraising Page"  (Please refer back to this page for further instruction on setting up your page.)

Step 2. In the "Title" field, name your page as follows: Your Team or Participant Name's Little Black Dress Campaign

Step 3. In the "Welcome" area you can share a bit about the Little Black Dress Campaign and why you chose to participate.

Sample text - The Little Black Dress Campaign is a poverty awareness event led by United Way's Women United. During the week of the Little Black Dress campaign, we will be wearing one black outfit to illustrate the effects poverty can have on one’s access to resources, confidence, and ability to obtain employment, while raising funds for women and children in our community.

Step 4. Enter your campaign goal. (Team goals are $1,500)

Step 5. Check the "Progress Bar" box if you'd like to include a progress thermometer.

Step 6. In the "Your Message" section tell your supporters who you are, why this matters to you, and why they should support your campaign.

Step 7. Upload a picture (picture can be no larger than 360px X 360px).

Step 8. Check the "Active" box.

Step 9. Upon approval, you will receive an automated email with a link to your page. Share this link with friends, family, and co-workers to gain support for your campaign.

Note: To make changes to your page, contact If you cannot remember your account information for a previous year, please reset your password.

Join our Facebook Event to stay up-to-date with the campaign!

Keep in touch with us on Facebook for updates on the 2024 Little Black Dress Campaign.

A big THANK YOU to our sponsors for supporting United Way and this campaign!