“Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will.” – Anne Klein

In this case, it’s the women, men, and children benefitting from a local nonprofit who are poised to change the world. Bloom, a volunteer-based retail store in downtown San Rafael that boasts big names at affordable prices, also provides complimentary wardrobes to those who are transitioning to a life of self-reliance. And effective March 2022, Bloom officially combined with YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley (YWCA GGSV). Bloom and YWCA GGSV are longstanding partners, and both have rich histories in Marin County. Bloom’s mission to provide complimentary wardrobes to children, women, and men who are transitioning to a life of self‐reliance aligns with YWCA GGSV’s strategic priorities and mission to eliminate racism and empower women. The two organizations envision strengthening and growing their impact in Marin County through the collaboration and capacity made possible by this joining of forces.

YWCA GGSV may sound familiar as they lead the well-known FiftyPlus Employment Program in Marin that supports economically vulnerable older women through comprehensive job training and placement services. [Editor's Note: See the Marin Lawyer's 2019 profile of the YWCA and in particular its FiftyPlus program.] They’ve now expanded their Employment Program to include trainings and resources for older adults of all genders. In addition to programs for older adults, YWCA GGSV recently launched a Financial Freedom Initiative, a program that empowers survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking to become intentional, self-directed, and confident about their financial future through job coaching, credit repair and financial education.

As for Bloom, it has been clothing Marin individuals and families for over 20 years. Its clients are among the low income or working poor populations who are referred by supporting social service agencies. The populations served includes participants who may be in substance abuse recovery programs, survivors of domestic violence, as well as others who are homeless, jobless, or suffering from economic hardship.

Bloom is thrilled by the possibilities this merger affords the program, staff, volunteers and clients. The two nonprofits have long partnered together and the joining of forces only opens more doors for them to inspire opportunity and economic security to support the people of Marin and beyond. Bloom shared a couple important notes about the combining.

Will Bloom’s name change?
No. Bloom will keep its name, which is well known and respected within the Marin community. Bloom will become known as: “Bloom, a program of YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley.”

Will Bloom’s location change?
No. Bloom’s location will remain the same. Bloom values its long-term retail shoppers and the thriving Downtown San Rafael community that Bloom calls home, and will continue to open its doors every week to our wonderful clothing donators and store shoppers that help power our program.

Will Bloom continue to support the same local community?
Yes. Existing programs and services that the Marin community has come to rely on will remain the same.

Will Bloom only serve women if it’s a program of YWCA?
No. YWCA’s mission propels us to provide a multitude of services that meet the needs of the whole family. YWCA currently provides services to individuals of all gender identifications and all ages, and Bloom will continue to do so as a YWCA program.

Will Bloom’s clients be impacted?
The legacy of Bloom’s mission, to provide complimentary wardrobes to children, women, and men who are transitioning to a life of self‐reliance, will continue, as the vision of this merger is to maintain and grow Bloom’s existing programming. Dressing services will continue in the same format for clients. If you need support with securing a wardrobe, or know someone who does, please contact Bloom at: coordinator@bloommarin.org or 415-755-5280.

How can someone support Bloom?
There are three ways to support Bloom: donate, volunteer, and shop!

DONATE – Bloom gladly accepts the clothing you no longer wear and clothing your children have outgrown, and it uses your donations to help people in our community. It accepts clean and gently worn professional and casual clothing, teen’s clothing, children’s clothing, shoes, handbags, belts, scarves, jewelry, unused makeup, and toiletries. Bloom does not pick up donations. For more information and delivery times, please call (415) 482-6077. For monetary gifts, please contact nkoul@yourywca.org.

VOLUNTEER – Bloom has many volunteer opportunities available to fit everyone's skills and schedule, and has a fun and passionate group of volunteers. It has short-term, one-time, and ongoing volunteer roles. Inquire at volunteer@yourywca.org for more information.

SHOP – Bloom is stocked daily with quality, gently-worn and brand-new clothing and accessories. Proceeds from your purchases help support its programs. Visit Monday through Saturday, 11am – 5pm, at 1557 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA, 94901.

For more information about Bloom, contact info@bloommarin.org, or (415) 482-6077 for Clients or (415) 453-1694 for Retail.

For more information about YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley, visit yourywca.org.