In November 2016 Stateville Prison in Illinois sent out a request for suits, sport coats and dress shirts to several organizations. The need in the prisons was great to have the men well dressed when they went out on interviews.

During the first three months, Bill Denwood had taken suits and shirts to Stateville Correctional Center. These came from Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. On the way back from his last trip to Stateville Correctional Center he stopped into Steve Hirmer’s Dry Cleaners, Signature Cleaners, in Naperville. Steve gave him a half rack of shirts and suits. Together they thought of the idea of going statewide. In the ensuing two months, they called and met with the Executive Director of the ILL Professional Drycleaners & Launderers, Sue Kratz. The group saw the huge need to get the parolees suits and shirts for the purpose of interviewing with prospective employers. Steve and his fellow drycleaners along from the ILL Professional Drycleaners & Launderers will be collection points for donations from citizens and even go to donors with their vans to pick them up. It is truly a great community service.

Suits for Success is a Non Profit, 501(C)3 organization. Our goal is to break the cycle of men and women being released on parole to be returned to prison. We want to provide gently used clothes to the parolees for an interview with a prospective employer. These clothes are delivered by volunteers. Cleaned and pressed by dry cleaners at no charge. This restores the parolee’s pride, helps them out of the environment that caused them to be in prison, and helps get them to be employed and become productive citizens. From this new position, they join the workforce and rejoin the community.

Since November 2016 “Suits for Success” has delivered over 32,000 articles of clothing to men’s and women’s prisons in the State of Illinois.

In this endeavor, we hope to reduce recidivism by over 1%. Since there are around 45,000 prisoners in Illinois and each prisoner costs on average $36,000.(1) To house each prisoner this will save the state $15MM per year. Our efforts have been joined by United Methodists of both the Northern Illinois and Great Rivers Conferences, Presbyterian Churches in Northern Illinois, Lutheran Churches and the Joliet, Belleville, and Peoria Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church along with the Archdiocese of Chicago.

(1) Both these numbers came out of an independent survey that was made in 2014. “

RECENT UPDATE:  In the last three years, we have delivered over 47,000 clothes to men’s and women’s State Prisons in Illinois.  From our main distribution point at the Life Skills Re-Entry Center in Kewanee, IL  we have distributed to over 24 of the men’s 32 facilities and to both of the women’s facilities in Lincoln, IL and Decatur, IL respectively.  We are completely filling the needs for interview clothes and casual clothes at the women’s prisons.  With 25,200 garments delivered in 2019, we are meeting one-third of the need for clothes at the men’s prisons. No longer are we using our volunteer’s vehicles, currently, we are renting a U-Haul and taking over 2000 clothes at a time to Kewanee.

The participating dry cleaners have donated in excess of $120,000 of their services in cleaning the clothes that volunteers collect. Our phase one proof of need and concept has been a tremendous success. In phase two, we are transitioning to operating with donor support and learning how to raise support to sustain the operation. No longer can our cleaners do that for free, they do however offer us drastically reduced rate, so we seek donations from organizations, churches, facebook, private companies, and our private supporters to offset our minimal expenses.  Distribution is now much more efficent by take clothing to the IDOC distribution point in Kewanee in a van instead of smaller private vehicles.  We carry 2000 + garments at a time when we go to Kewanee.  Both the staff and inmates offload the clothes.
 
As we earn additional funds our hope is to gather more and more clothes to further supply the parolees at the State Prison System.  To this end, it will become necessary to get some storage, more collection points, and more volunteers.  At the present time our volunteers has grown from 4-5 a year ago to 12 today.  In addition, as we are a 501(c)3 with a dedicated board evolving the operation.
 
The Illinois Department of Corrections has recognized us, as has many officers from wardens down to the guards. They have told us that we are filling an ever-increasing need.  In collecting, cleaning and supplying they conservatively estimate that we are saving the state some $600,000.  
 
If you can, please consider making a donation to our efforts.  Being a 501c3 any donation may be tax-deductible.  We do not pay our board or volunteers for their gas or time. All the funds we receive go into the core mission of delivering clothing.

“It is good to begin by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and then by degrees you find yourself doing what is impossible.”  Francis of Assisi

Bill Denwood – Executive Director

Over 32,000
Items of Clothing
Delivered

Our Directors

Bill Denwood, Executive Director

Bill has been involved since 1988 with disaster recovery in the past 5 years he has gone to Brookport, IL; Henryville, IN; and with Katrina victims.  Locally, he has helped with Habitat for Humanity out of Aurora, IL.  To take his work to others Bill has worked in Danli, Honduras distributing water filtration systems and built a church.  In the Czech Republic, he taught  English as a second language(ESL).  He went to serve in Lotoiktok, Kenya to work at renovating housing and planting fruit trees to sustain Teule which is a home, school, and medical support for children ages 3-18.  He came back to the states and served on the USA board of Teule as president in charge of Teule fundraising in the United States.  Bill worked for many computer software companies in positions of sales, regional sales manager and vice president of sales.  Long years ago he went both to Cornell and Elmhurst Colleges earning a BA in business and economics.

Steve Hirmer, Treasurer

Steve Hirmer is the owner of Signature Cleaners of University Commons in Naperville and a founding partner in Chicago Wedding Dress Cleaners a gown cleaning and preservation company serving all of Chicagoland. Steve is one of the core founders at Suits for Success. Steve has served on several charity boards and is currently serving as treasurer of Suits for Success.

Tim Ford, Director

Tim Ford, DirectorTim Ford became involved with community service when he and his wife moved to Naperville in 1998.  In the early years, he was very active as a youth sports coach and helping to set up the UIC GILD which raised funds for gastrointestinal research. With over 38 years of private and public company business experience, he is currently an independent consultant and coach of strategic and financial planning and execution. Until 2016, he was president and a co-owner of Cook’s Direct, Inc., a leader in the commercial foodservice equipment and supplies market. Prior to this, he was the president and CEO of The Whitney Automotive Group, a direct marketer of automotive accessories and supplies. Tim has also held financial and operational leadership roles at Gander Mountain, Inc. and McMaster Carr Supply Company. He has served on several corporate and not-for-profit boards including Ride Assist Naperville.  He holds an MBA in accounting from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Arts in management from Western Illinois University.​

Steve Bailey, Director

Steve Bailey is an online marketing strategist and CEO at Strategic Online Corp. Steve also is a private consultant to various marketing agencies and branding companies. Strategic Online specializes in digital advertising, press releases, advanced SEO strategies, and e-commerce. Strategic Online is responsible for the development and oversight of the websites and marketing platforms for Suits for Success. Previously, Steve spent 20 years of his executive career directing the operations and development of telecommunications, networking, and data infrastructure for a Fortune 500 Health Insurance Company. Steve is a co-founder of Suits for Success. Steve serves on the board of several charities and enjoys working with several faith-based groups who serve the less fortunate. Steve can also be found exercising his favorite gift of mixing live worship bands for local churches.

Mike Beary, Advisor

Michael Beary joined JUST of Dupage as Executive Director in June 2018. Michael comes to JUST from the Diocese of Joliet where he served as Coordinator of Jail and Prison Ministry.

Some years ago, Michael felt God’s call to work with inmates. He started a consulting practice devoted to helping former inmates find work. He quickly learned that for those who have been behind bars for several years finding a job was very difficult. He began a series of classes in Entrepreneurship at Kennedy-King College and enlisted the help of retired executives (through SCORE) to lead these classes and to help consult with ex-offenders in helping them start their own businesses.

Since then, Michael has developed and implemented various programs for the Cook County Jail under Sheriff Tom Dart, the Illinois Department of Corrections and, the Wisconsin Community Correctional Services. He has designed various “social enterprises” including a recycling and salvage venture and, an alternative staffing agency. Michael has also been involved in the development and operations of homeless shelters both for emergency evacuation and chronic seasonal needs.

Michael has some 30 years of experience in running his own business ventures and completed an MBA program in entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Our Contributors

Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries

Founder

Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries has worked with more than 10,000 inmates in 80 state and federal correctional facilities.

Signature Cleaners in University Commons

Founder

Over 30 years providing drycleaning and laundry services with pick-up and delivery free to most of Chicago Area. Environmentally friendly cleaning methods.

Strategic Online Corporation

Founder

Strategic Online specializes in online marketing, web design, and marketing automation.

IL Professional Dry Cleaners

Founder

The Illinois Professional Drycleaners & Launderers association serves all fabricare professionals in Illinois, including dry cleaners, wet cleaners, and launderers.

Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries

Founder

Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries has worked with more than 10,000 inmates in 80 state and federal correctional facilities.

Signature Cleaners in University Commons

Founder

Over 30 years providing drycleaning and laundry services with pick-up and delivery free to most of Chicago Area. Environmentally friendly cleaning methods.

Strategic Online Corporation

Founder

Strategic Online specializes in online marketing, web design, and marketing automation.

IL Professional Dry Cleaners

Founder

The Illinois Professional Drycleaners & Launderers association serves all fabricare professionals in Illinois, including dry cleaners, wet cleaners, and launderers.

Chicago Wedding Dress Cleaners

Founder

Chicago Wedding Dress Cleaners is dedicated to pressing, cleaning, and preserving of bridal dresses and special occasion gowns. Offering free pickup and delivery throughout Chicagoland.

A-1 Drycleaners

Drycleaner

Serving the greater communities of Rockford, Loves Park and Roscoe. A-1 Drycleaners offers all types of services to meet your needs with free pickup and delivery to home or office.. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years.

Greenacre Cleaners

Drycleaner

Serving the greater communities of DeKalb, Rochelle, Sugar Grove, and Sycamore,  Greenacre Cleaners uses green drycleaning methods to preserve our environment. Rated as DeKalb’s finest drycleaner.

Country Squire Cleaners

Drycleaner

For the past 50 years, the dedicated team at Country Squire Cleaners has provided exceptional dry cleaning service with affordable rates for customers in the Champaign and Urbana IL area.

Chicago Wedding Dress Cleaners

Founder

Chicago Wedding Dress Cleaners is dedicated to pressing, cleaning, and preserving of bridal dresses and special occasion gowns. Offering free pickup and delivery throughout Chicagoland.

A-1 Drycleaners

Drycleaner

Serving the greater communities of Rockford, Loves Park and Roscoe. A-1 Drycleaners offers all types of services to meet your needs with free pickup and delivery to home or office.. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years.

Greenacre Cleaners

Drycleaner

Serving the greater communities of DeKalb, Rochelle, Sugar Grove, and Sycamore,  Greenacre Cleaners uses green drycleaning methods to preserve our environment. Rated as DeKalb’s finest drycleaner.

Country Squire Cleaners

Drycleaner

For the past 50 years, the dedicated team at Country Squire Cleaners has provided exceptional dry cleaning service with affordable rates for customers in the Champaign and Urbana IL area.

KC Cleaners and Leather Master, Inc

Drycleaner

Specialists in the business of wholesale specialty cleaning. Leather Master has routes servicing drycleaners in Illinois and Indiana.

Douglas Ace Hardware

Supporter

Douglas Ace Homecenter has been happily serving Naperville since 1988. We are located in the Fox Run Shopping mall on 75th and Naper Blvd.

KC Cleaners and Leather Master, Inc

Drycleaner

Specialists in the business of wholesale specialty cleaning. Leather Master has routes servicing drycleaners in Illinois and Indiana.

Douglas Ace Hardware

Supporter

Douglas Ace Homecenter has been happily serving Naperville since 1988. We are located in the Fox Run Shopping mall on 75th and Naper Blvd.

Give Today – Help Us Change The Future For a Parolee

Your gifts help us cover our most basic operating costs like fuel for clothing delivery to prisons. 100% of your donation goes to the mission, no Volunteers or Board Members receive compensation. Suits for Success is a registered 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization

Suits for Success
A 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization
Phone:(855) 215-6540

 

Our ambitious goal is to provide each new parolee with clothing appropriate to their job search.

 

The gift of a dress shirt, pants, nearly new casual shirt for men, or an outfit for women, can help create a better first impression in that first interview or first return home.