Kelly Partridge G'16
Master of Science in Nonprofit Management & Philanthropy
There are a lot of clothing boutiques out there that want to make you look good. But what about a clothing boutique that wants to make you feel good? And what about a clothing boutique that wants to not only make you feel good, but uses your purchase to help other women feel good, too? It’s not often that philanthropy and fashion share equal importance within a business, but Springfield resident Kelly Partridge is merging the two together with her online, philanthropy-driven boutique, Contribution Clothing.
Partnering with local nonprofit organizations in western Massachusetts, Contribution Clothing is on a mission to create a community of confident and empowered women. With 15% of quarterly profits earmarked for charitable giving, and with partnerships with Dress for Success of Western MA, Empty Arms Bereavement Support, Girls Inc. of the Valley, Girls on the Run, Ovations the Cure for Ovarian Cancer, and Safe passage already slated for this fiscal year, it’s easy to see that giving back to her community is important to Partridge.
Fashion has also been a long-time passion of Partridge’s. “I love fashion, and I love how confident I feel when I find the right outfit,” she shared. “I wanted to help other women feel confident in what they are wearing, and to learn how to express who they are through their own style.”
As an undergraduate student, Partridge funneled that love of fashion and design into studying digital communications and media, ultimately becoming a graphic designer after college. But something didn’t feel right. “I started working as a graphic designer and really disliked what I was doing,” stated Partridge. “I started taking graphic design consulting jobs, and ironically all the jobs I had received were for nonprofits in the local community. This is when I realized that I needed to do something that was community based that made an impact.”
Partridge took a leap of faith, began working full time for the local nonprofit The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and decided to go back to school for her master’s degree in nonprofit management and philanthropy. “I applied to Bay Path because they had a program specific to what I was looking for,” she said. “I was working full time and needed a program that was flexible around my schedule. I completed my entire master’s degree online, it was convenient, and it made working and going to school a little less stressful.”
Newly graduated and filled with a passion to give back, Partridge took a trip to Bali, Indonesia, to teach English in a small village. It was there that the idea for a pivotal piece of Contribution Clothing’s mission was born. “During my time there, I was hosted by a local family which really put things in perspective for me,” Partridge stated. “My trip to Bali is what made my want to offer Fair Trade options through Contribution Clothing. Doing so allows me to promote better lives for women and their families on an international level while still supporting women locally.”
Partridge isn’t stopping there. In addition to helping women all over the globe and in her own backyard, this summer she teamed up with her alma mater to set up a scholarship for a Bay Path student. “I had received an Alumni magazine in the mail and started reminiscing about my education. I thought a scholarship would be a great way to support women and make tribute to my education there,” she shared. “I had a difficult time finding scholarships when I was attending college and wanted to be able to provide someone in need with funding towards their tuition.”
Sale by sale, and donation by donation, Partridge is proving that doing good never goes out of style.
To learn more about Contribution Clothing, please visit contributionclothing.com/.