Our Story

Wings for Success has merged with The Wardrobe and is now a program of The Wardrobe, offering education and coaching throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Wings’ story is now a part of The Wardrobe but their history is archived below. For information about The Wardrobe and our merge, please click here. You will be re-directed to The Wardrobe’s website.

Empowering Women Through Education, Apparel and Advocacy: The Wings for Success Story

Wings for Success started as meeting a temporary need working solely with unemployed women and grew into an organization that strived for long-term transformation and economic stability in the lives of their clients. As a Chester County based organization, Wings was run by a small staff and supported by hundreds of volunteers. They helped those in need overcome great personal obstacles, regain their confidence, and accomplish their goals.

Our  Early Years

In 1997 a Philadelphia based non-profit, The Working Wardrobe, had opened a site in Chester County in an effort to help locally unemployed women be equipped for interviews. A small group of their volunteers took that start-up and formed our present day Chester County site, Wings for Success. Partnering with local government and non-profit organizations, Wings original mission was part of the Welfare to Work program, helping women gain financial independence.

The original Wings team contacted local social service agencies and job training programs that were already working with women transitioning to the workforce. Using their own vehicles, they transported clothing to these agencies to help women prepare for interviews and employment.

During that first year, they outfitted several dozen women, formed a Board of Directors, applied for 501(c)(3) status, The Douty Foundation provided the first grant, and with the help of the Chester County Commissioners, signed their first lease at 326 North Walnut Street in West Chester. Also during that first year, Wings held the first community clothing drive sponsored by West Chester University and Parkway Cleaners. By 1998, Wings for Success officially departed from The Working Wardrobe and became incorporated. By their second anniversary, Wings had already held several Professional Image Workshops, and our first Job Seekers Workshop.

Achieving Milestones

By the turn of the century, Wings had quadrupled the number of women served and found itself in need of professional management. Their first fundraiser was held at the QVC Studios and shortly thereafter, they received a permanent 501(c)(3) designation.

Other significant milestones include:

  • In 2008, Wings hired our first Program Manager, Diane Mills
  • Moving our West Chester office to the Frazer location in 2009
  • Wings received our first Standards of Excellence status with PANO (Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations) in 2013, which verifies that we are a well-managed organization
  • In 2015, we opened our second site in Kennett Square and hired our second Program Manager, Ingrid Lis
  • In 2018, our Workshops and 1:1 Advice Sessions (formerly called Job Seeker Clinics) were redesigned and topics expanded
  • In 2019, Wings opened a larger location in Kennett Square, designating a multi-purpose room for community events and workshops
  • In 2020, all workshops went virtual and appointments were made according to a clients availability – opening operating hours in the evenings and weekends
  • In 2020, we passed serving 1,000 women in 1 year
  • In 2021, we saw the addition of three part-time staff positions to keep up with the growth: Volunteer Coordinator, Workshop Coordinator, and Operations Manager
  • In 2022, the newest location opened in the Exton Square Mall, doubling our square footage and becoming more accessible to clients relying on public transportation
  • In 2024, we merged with The Wardrobe (once known as The Working Wardrobe in 1997) and are now a program of The Wardrobe, providing our education & coaching services throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. This merge has been 25 years in the making. Founded in 1995 with the mission to bridge the gap by providing professional clothing to women transitioning to work, The Wardrobe is among the nation’s largest agencies working to eliminate clothing insecurity and curbing fashion waste. As a program of The Wardrobe, Wings for Success will be joining a like-minded organization that has the resources to broaden our impact in Chester County and beyond.