This Woman Collects Bras to Help Homeless Women [Q&A]
Dana Marlowe is the superstar founder of Support the Girls, an organization that advocates on behalf of homeless women.
Peek inside a donation bin at a homeless shelter and you’re likely to find canned foods, shoes, sweaters, scarves, tubes of toothpaste, even the occasional children’s toy. But there’s one item you probably won’t come across - a bra. “There’s still a stigma around periods and bras. It’s taboo and sexualized,” Dana Marlowe, founder of Support the Girls, told The Huffington Post. “Bras are so essential for women: for health, self-esteem, employment and more.”
As the president of a consulting firm that works towards disability inclusion, Dana admits “helping others is part of [her] DNA.” So when Dana first heard homeless women in the D.C. area where she lives were in desperate need of bras, she got right to work. Support the Girls has now donated thousands of bras and feminine hygiene products to women in need and the movement is spreading to other states, as well.
Dana spoke to Goodnet for this week’s 10 Good Questions and explained how she’s supporting the girls - in every way.
1. What is your organization’s mission?
Support the Girls is a global clearinghouse that provides guidelines, resources, and support to individuals and organizations to assist in collecting bras and feminine hygiene products to donate to homeless shelters for women in need. Additionally, Support the Girls, through its national platform and infrastructure leverages its network of affiliates and partners to raise awareness of the need for these important feminine issues.
2. What makes you guys different from the rest?
Other similar organizations tend to focus on a smaller local community. Our focus is to develop the infrastructure so others can create bra/feminine hygiene product drives in their communities worldwide and provide them to their women/girls who are homeless and in need. Basically, we encourage folks to collect locally and donate locally and are trying to be the educational outreach to support those collections in hundreds of communities worldwide.
3. What three words describe your organization?
Dignity-inducing, Empowerment, Personal.
4. What inspires you?
Seeing the smiles on the women who receive new bras when they previously had none can take my breath away.
5. Who's your favorite good doer figure?
Margaret Mead’s quote resonates with me and hangs on my fridge. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
6. What is the best part about your job?
My favorite part about Support the Girls has got to be the hugs and the stories shared from bra recipients.
7. How do you measure success within your organization?
Success metrics for me are measured by the smiles on women’s faces when they receive a handful of new bras. A happiness measurement is a tricky one to define, but an easy one to see and feel with the heart.
On the granular accountability level for tracking success, we are tracking lots of data points: number of bras and feminine hygiene products collected, number of shelters as distribution partners, number of direct recipients of the donations, and number of collection sites and events.
9. What do you want Goodnet users to know about your organization?
That we are brand new, are setting up a global infrastructure by a total volunteer team, and could use any love that people want to chip in at our crowdrise page.
10. How can people get involved?
Follow us on Facebook, stop by our website and fill out the Contact Us section on the home page, or reach out on Twitter. Alternately, dropping us an old fashion email at or mailing gently used or new bras or sealed feminine hygiene products to:
Support the Girls
Attn: Dana Marlowe
P.O. Box 2736
Wheaton, MD 20915