Resources Unite, a Dubuque nonprofit, recently received a large gift from the Dardis Foundation when Farley native Greg Dardis donated over $600,000 in professional apparel to the organization.
The donation kicks off Dardis’ newly formed nonprofit organization, whose mission is to provide fundamental skills to Iowa’s young adults. Dardis and his team have been training some of the most successful organizations and professionals in the world for over 20 years. They offer training and one-on-one coaching in the areas of presentation, sales skills, professional image, virtual communication and more.
“We need to do a better job preparing our youth for the real world,” said Dardis. “The number one shortfall among graduates is oral and written communication skills. Students are graduating with enough theory and classroom knowledge, but when they arrive on the job they lack practical skills.”
According to Resources Unite CEO Josh Jasper, this is the largest donation ever to the organization that serves Dubuque County and the Tri-State area. Hundreds of suits, blazers, dress shirts, ties, sweaters, belts, socks and more are now ready to assist area residents in need.
Jasper and Dardis are longtime friends — both growing up in Farley — making the gift even more special.
“Watching a close friend donate this much isn’t something you see every day,” said Jasper. “It was humbling to say the least.”
The apparel donation matches up well with the mission of both the Dardis Foundation and Resources Unite, according to Jasper.
“Dardis has donated more than $600,000 in apparel — everything you’d need to dress for success,” Jasper said. “The clothing will be used in the Tri-State area, and one of the things that is very important is that it’s not going to be a free-for-all. This is very intentional about helping people move forward in life.
“The dress clothes are not just about making sure someone is ready for an interview. It’s also about instilling confidence and is a reminder that someone believes in you and is going to invest in you.”
Jasper has a plan and, while the clothing plays a significant role, it is but one part of what Resources Unite has in mind.
“We’re going to be meeting with people and understanding how they plan to use the attire, but we’ll also be helping them in two other specific areas,” Jasper said. “We want to make sure their resume is put together and also go through some soft skills dealing with effective communication and interview skills. Just things that so many of us take for granted and have learned along the way have never been part of the conversation for many people.”
“I’m excited to help during these challenging times,” said Dardis. “We’re in the business of teaching people how to look and sound confident when it matters most. Helping the less fortunate gain confidence when they’re trying to find employment fits nicely with our mission.”
Jasper and his team are looking forward to working with the community by expanding the reach of his organization and getting the apparel into circulation.
“We’re hoping to build some meaningful partnerships with the local high schools and reach out to Beckman High School, Western Dubuque, or Senior,” Jasper said. “We’ll target their junior and senior men and help them. Maybe they want to go to college, or want to get into a job locally. We can help with that.
“We also work with corporations that have employees that are potentially ready to move up and need some additional support to take that next step. There are going to be some expectations, but we’re ready to work with people when they want to move up.”