Model & Strategy

Over 19 million students live in poverty in the United States. For these students, focusing on education is yet another hardship they must endure. Lack of basic necessities is reported as one of the top ten reasons for reduced school attendance according to the Massachusetts school board. In Massachusetts alone, over 5,700 students dropped out of high school in 2014, costing taxpayers $1.7 billion in lost wages over the course of their lives.

Catie’s Closet improves school attendance and removes social stigma by discreetly distributing clothing, toiletries, and shoes to low-income students (Pre-K through 12th grade). Catie’s Closet makes it easy and positive for students in schools to access these basic needs via a retail-like storefront. Catie’s Closet builds a “store” or “walk in closet” right inside their school so that students have immediate access to what they need, free of charge. Offering age-appropriate clothing allows students increased self-esteem, a sense of belonging and a resource to alleviate the visible burden of poverty.

Long-term, the organization will use an affiliate model to partner with school districts in other states across the US.

Logo
At a Glance
Founded: 2010
Co-Founder & Executive Director: Mickey Cockrell
Education
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast
Catie’s Closet
Dracut, MA
An open door, a brighter future for students
Bus filled with donations for school aged children
Photo of founder Mickey
Meet Mickey Cockrell

Mickey Cockrell spent more than 30 years in the retail sector, providing leadership for Jordan Marsh, Filene’s and most recently as a Vice President for Kohl’s. Mickey is an innovator and problem-solver, and is known for creating high-impact marketing strategies. Her notable contributions include driving company expansion and operational efficiencies.  Mickey is a MassChallenge Diamond Winner, EforAll top Winner and won the “Celebration of Excellence” Non-Profit of the Year award.

IMPACT

Launched in 2010, Catie’s Closet operates in 90 schools in nine cities, within two states, serving 55,000 students. Of the 90 schools where Catie’s Closet operates, 76 are in Massachusetts and 14 are in New Hampshire. Based on the success of their business model, Boston Public Schools has chosen Catie’s Closet to be a partner in all 125 of their schools. Positioned in 27 Boston Public Schools to date, Catie’s Closet will meet their needs over three years. A second Distribution Center located in Boston opened in 2019.

In the short term, Catie’s Closet will open three additional distribution HUBs in Massachusetts, two of which will serve New Bedford and Worcester’s estimated 308,000 students, while the third will open in Springfield in March 2020.

The organization has developed an affiliate model to collaborate with school districts in other states across the nation, to serve the 30,000,000 students living in poverty in the US in the long term. The program is underway with Long Island piloting the model.

  • Clean & gently used bags of sweatshirts, sweatpants and jeans sitting on our doorstep! Our community is the best 💚
  • Hygiene items are so important in a time like this! Please help local students stay clean and safe by donating bran… https://t.co/gi5f4FfdF0
  • All of these shirts will help students feel confident! A huge thank you to the community for dropping all of the w… https://t.co/sw0cvjyc0g
  • Our goal: give kids confidence to stay in school🎓 How you can help: donate your clothing, new toiletries and schoo… https://t.co/dnU4eRmsT6
  • This year we will help more kids than ever stay school by providing them free access to clothes, toiletries and sch… https://t.co/L9xwfuW7yH
  • Thank you for another amazing year! Here's what you helped us accomplish in #2020
  • Learn how your donations and support impacted local students this year. Check out our 2020 review post here https://t.co/0qLtsJxroL 🎉
  • Max from @CatchingJoy has hosted several drives for our students. Thank you for passing your joy onto our students… https://t.co/L76fZwxMcp
  • Brand new sneaker donation! Can you imagine how our students will feel once they rock these new kicks 🔥
  • RT @raniwise: A great #stayathome Christmas Day activity with the family... going through our closets to collect items to donate to @Caties…
  • Happy Holidays from the Catie's Closet team! We are so grateful for all of our supporters and donors who make what we do possible. 💚
  • So many Amazon Wish List donations!! Thank you everyone for heading to our wishlist to pick out new clothes and toi… https://t.co/s7VIoeDopz
  • #CLOSED December 23 - January 3rd. Please do not leave your donation at our door. We will be excited to receive the… https://t.co/LtKhf7d7vi
  • We are speechless- @HilcoGlobal joined forces with the @CityOfBoston in support of @marty_walsh's Annual Coat Drive… https://t.co/bhfPcWPbZL
  • We can't wait for some of our students to receive these brand new cozy fleece sweatshirts! They were donated just i… https://t.co/hbuia90yaD
  • All Catie's Closet locations will be CLOSED Thursday, 12/17. We will be open on Friday, 12/18. Please do not leave… https://t.co/VdXvOrfIsd
  • RT @HopeandComfort1: This holiday season, more people are visiting food pantries than ever before. H&C is grateful for our over 30 food pan…
  • Check out our new blog post to learn how the changing seasons impact the needs of our students!… https://t.co/bHSJ76Pfk4
  • Proud to partner with @HopeandComfort1 and other wonderful nonprofits all year, and especially this time of year! https://t.co/NZtDNg8TWU
  • Even before the #pandemic, students experiencing #homelessness were facing obstacles to their #education. Kids need… https://t.co/smuRJ0rfMp