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Fashion as a Force for Good

The task of connecting with great philanthropists and organizations seemed daunting when we started Union & Fifth. Thanks to the generosity of JP Morgan Philanthropy Center, we started connecting with incredible people in Houston. Through the warmth and genuine enthusiasm for the Union & Fifth mission, we met Houston philanthropists Debbie Pakzaban and Anika Jackson who quickly connected me with their networks filled with strong women with hearts the size of Texas.

We were overwhelmed with the response – Houston women shopped and cleaned out, but more importantly, they supported their community in a variety of ways – including through Union & Fifth. We gleefully sent a disproportionate number of checks to Houston area non-profits with each distribution. And now it is our chance to return the favor. Houston is overwhelmed; overwhelmed with water, evacuees, and donations of used clothing that are piling up in corners of evacuation centers. We all want to help. It is human nature. It is also human nature to let the things that don’t affect us directly fade from our focus. It’s not that we don’t feel horrible, but we really don’t understand the magnitude of the impact. This is the largest water disaster in the history of the US, we have no concept yet of what it will take to get things “back to normal” or if, in fact, it will ever get there. The long term need is for consistent money and a plan.

Union & Fifth fundraising is not a quick “text to donate”, rather, it is the longer game. We don’t issue checks daily. We do it two times a year. And we believe that this slower timeline offers an opportunity for the organizations providing services for the long haul to know that there will still be money, ear marked for Harvey’s victims, six months or a year from now. So when others will have forgotten, we will still be mailing money.

The longer game lets people strategize, bring in experts and solve problems – this is the separate from the triage that is happening now – but it will be crucial in the months and years to come. We are asking-- actually, I am pleading for you to consider cleaning out even one designer or contemporary women’s items to benefit Harvey’s victims.

Help us make long term impact in Houston and the surrounding area with a donation from your closet. The reality is, you probably won’t even notice it is gone.

We have decided to partner with the non-profit Real Beauty, Real Women “Where Beauty, Glamour & Entertainment Meet Social Responsibility”. This organization is uniquely focused on providing services and support to the most vulnerable people, those who are most often overlooked and for whom connecting with services is most challenging. Please join us in supporting RBRW as they provide support directly to Harvey survivors and those working to rebuild the lives devastated.

I personally am a HUGE fan of "recycling" and have found some amazing deals, in addition to knowing that three local charities (Houston Children Give Back, Learn Grow Lead, and Yellowstone Academy) received checks recently based on my personal closet clean outs.

Here are some of my favorite buys I've also found on the website, some of which made an appearance in photo shoots that Staci Henderson and I shot for Union & Fifth by Philanthropic Fetes!

The Real Beauty Real Women Foundation works with local organizations to create meaningful, lasting impact in our community in the war on poverty - whether in Houston or in other national locations. In Houston we have multiple community partners including shelters and charter schools whose families and staff have been horrifically impacted by Hurricane Harvey; this rebuild is a long game. There are many places that have recently suffered natural disasters, and U5 and RBRWF are both working on ways to aide those areas as well. Our partnership with Union & Fifth will help us continue to help these local organizations and families.

Click Here to create your own closet clean out bag, and support the Real Beauty Real Women Foundation's efforts for Harvey relief.

Written by Anika Jackson. Mother, community volunteer, philanthropist, and socially conscious fashionista ambassador. Team Member of Real Beauty Real Women, and CEO of Philanthropic Fetes. Check out our latest project, Social Graces Social Club! Contact her at

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