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.

  • Online shopping over the weekend? Shop the Be Me Marketplace and support an important cause while you treat yoursel… https://t.co/CQQanReiy1
  • Today we honor our inspiration. Catie was a remarkable young woman who was passionate about education & felt strong… https://t.co/abF0n0vrEO
  • Happy Thursday! Here is some good news for this beautiful fall day :) https://t.co/3EDxAzpiyp
  • Our children are the creators of our future. Every shirt, pair of pants, set of shoes, and pencil they receive give… https://t.co/j5KqJzGISb
  • New folding trick for our closets? https://t.co/XzWyAKI48c
  • Another great share from @MV_Moms! https://t.co/CHSvFhrF5S
  • RT @LGHWELL: A Simple Way to Boost Kids' Reading Skills? (HealthDay News) -- A small fix might make reading a bit easier for kids with dysl…
  • RT @MV_Moms: The #MerrimackValley is truly a delightful place to enjoy the fall. As a #MVMom, take advantage of the Greater Merrimack Valle…
  • ⭐ BELIEVE ⭐ This outfit of the day is going to lift a child's spirit! A simple outfit can help a child BELIEVE in t… https://t.co/r00ibKdbmG
  • People's United Bank helped us Fill the Bus! This is a truly great example of a business that cares about the commu… https://t.co/0Rm6l3qVFe
  • Thank you @AlignCU for your support during Fill the Bus! By stepping up for this cause you are helping to ensure th… https://t.co/1Bvizc36B3
  • Shout out to @jdcreditunion for their continued support! We are so grateful to have you on the Catie's Closet team.… https://t.co/zJMmqiP3WZ
  • Helping with math homework got you feeling down? Check out these funny tweets to cheer you up before dive back into… https://t.co/cj1PKtXZqw
  • Thank you @TonnesonCo for helping us Fill the Bus! Your support helped give children the confidence they need to sh… https://t.co/Zp41ggV8rC
  • Can't get enough of Catie's Closet? Follow us on Instagram too! https://t.co/wouIA5gZdk
  • RT @bostonmamoms: It's the perfect time of year to wander a Boston-area corn maze with your family! Getting lost is part of the fun! https…
  • Check out this great panel! Proud to be part of this. Thank you @mollyjhansen! https://t.co/0IIw1CiNW9
  • Our Distribution Centers will be CLOSED Monday, October 11th. Regular hours for dropping off donations resume Tues… https://t.co/ANM5MKUCOz
  • This is Jack. Jack is a young man who recently collected donations as part of his 13 good deeds for the community.… https://t.co/WJsZpy7StU