Cranberry woman spearheads Mary Kay Foundation charity event

Cynthia Smith, left, and Mai Li Kung volunteer to sort donations for Dress for Success Pittsburgh.
Cynthia Smith, left, and Mai Li Kung volunteer to sort donations for Dress for Success Pittsburgh.
Photo by Submitted | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
| Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:10 p.m.

Mary Kay Cosmetics and Dress for Success Pittsburgh are teaming up to raise money for the Mary Kay Foundation through a shopping event from 1 to 4 p.m. on May 4 at Mars United Presbyterian Church.

“Mary Kay started the charitable foundation and her grandchildren run it now. It funds research for cancers that affect women and also helps to put an end to domestic violence against women,” said Jennifer Albertini, 42, of Cranberry, an independent sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics who has worked with the company for 12 years.

For six of those years, she organized a charity walk to support the foundation, but this year, she wanted to do a different kind of event.

“This fundraiser is set up a lot more creatively, so to speak, than an ordinary vendor show,” said Albertini.

Attendees can enjoy light refreshments as they browse through local vendor tables, most of which will have an interactive display, such as face painting for kids, mini fashion shows, nail art and makeup touchups.

Booth fees from the vendors will be donated to the charitable foundation along with a portion of all sales. Prizes will be raffled off throughout the event.

The fundraiser is part of a Mary Kay Cosmetics promotion called “Team Up for Women,” held through May 12, in which the nearly 1 million consultants throughout the country raise money for the Mary Kay Foundation.

The vendor event will also serve as a drop-off donation location for Dress for Success Pittsburgh, which provides professional clothing for women in need who have job interviews.

“A lot of folks who come to us come from a shelter situation so they don't have money to buy clothes,” said Jodie Tabano, 45, of Avalon, development director for Dress for Success Pittsburgh.

Women are referred to the organization from a variety of community agencies.

Dress for Success Pittsburgh provides complete outfits to women, including shoes and jewelry, so they can feel confident going into their interview. Once they get the job, the organization provides a week's worth of professional clothing to fit the job's requirements. Ongoing career services are offered to the women as well.

Mary Kay strives to promote women's confidence and positive self-image, Albertini said, so Dress for Success Pittsburgh's mission made it a great partner for the event.

Mandy Fields Yokim is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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