I’d like to start each week introducing you to the people around me who inspire me to give my time, money and ideas.

There is no better place to start than with Leslie Halperin.

Bit ‘O Background:

Leslie has worked for the VT Women’s Commission and  worked on social mission programs for Ben and Jerry’s. (Those of you visiting the Waterbury Ben and Jerry’s can spy Leslie in their tour video talking about the ParterShop program.)

Her latest and greatest social venture is The Clothes Exchange. Which I have already written about at greater length. Short version: she has found a way to combine shopping and recycling to give back to a VT based non profit that works to improve the lives of women and girls. In her nice words: Clothes Exchange is a mission driven social enterprise, dedicated to turning clothing into cash for community benefit.

Why I love her:

  • She introduced me to fattoush salads.
  • She has the most welcoming family in the world.
  • She can write beautifully about anything.
  • She remains true to herself and her vision while always trying to please her family, friends, partners, and volunteers…a difficult balancing act that I now know is possible.

Why you should love her:

  • She sees the strengths in people and systems, and each beneficiary (both staff and organization) emerges from their relationship enriched and re-invigorated.
  • She makes philanthropy fun.
  • She has created one of the largest single fundraising events in the state of Vermont, which almost doubles each year.

So here is the point of this…even those people that I hold up as models need help. Looking for leads on the following

What she needs to do more good:

  • An accountant. The Clothes Exchange is growing rapidly, and Leslie needs someone to watch her books and her back.
  • Retail/warehouse space. Her pop up shop this weekend attracted 150 shoppers and made $6600+. A totally volunteer run event the proceeds went to sustain The Clothes Exchange and to support Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation. Despite the generosity of Russ and Roxanne Scully (who donated their incredible Pine Street Space, and own The Spot) and 1-800- got junk, Vermont Tent Co, and her clothes exchange board this was still a backbreaking event. Leslie was on her feet for 14 days, racking,tagging, etc. A permanent space to store clothes, and act as an office would make these satellite events much easier to execute. Men’s shop anyone? Holiday sale? The ideal space would be 800-2000 sf and have lots of parking. The Clothes Exchange can contribute something, but not full market value. So send this idea on to your landlord, and realtor friends.
  • An interior designer. Leslie is always stylish, and her house is equally appealing. One half of her living room needs help though. Anyone out there want to lend your eye?

Leave any connections in the comments. Thanks

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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