Dillard’s and The Ronald McDonald House Charities collaborate for charity event

Dillard’s and The Ronald McDonald House Charities collaborated on an event that left the city talking by hosting their first Little Black Dress event, a cocktail party and runway show held at the Goodwood Museum and Gardens Friday.

For 22 years, Dillard’s and The Ronald McDonald House Charities, have worked together to raise money to benefit pediatric patients and their families. Raising nearly $14 million from all Dillard’s and over $200,000 from our local Dillard’s in Tallahassee.

Allen Gustason, Tallahassee Dillard’s store manager and member of the Ronald McDonald House board of directors, wanted the benefit to be fun and playful offering patrons a great time. Gustason also wants people to know they care about the community even though the store is not locally owned.

“Events like these show that big box corporations, though not locally owned, are still apart of the local community too. It is our way of giving back to the community,” Gustason said.

Gustason hopes next year’s event will be bigger to benefit more people.

“I’d like to get more people involved, sponsors and patrons and make the event even bigger, something for people to look forward to every year. The better the event the more people we can help in the community,” Gustason said.

In October, Dillard’s will begin selling their annual “Southern Living Cookbook,” for which all proceeds go to the local Ronald McDonald House.

In 2014, Dillard’s sold more than $17,000 worth of cookbooks all benefiting the local community. The Little Black Dress event will now be added to the annual benefits that Dillard’s host.

The fashion show featured models in attire, shoes, accessories and makeup all offered by Dillard’s in Governor’s Square Mall. The DJ played the party music while models walked the runway in brands like BCBG, Steve Madden and Antonio Melani to name a few.

Kathy Anderson, president and executive director of The Ronald Mcdonald House of Tallahassee, recognizes the positive impact Dillard’s has on the community.

“The Ronald McDonald House relies on the support of corporate and individual donors. Dillard’s is not only a corporate national donor but they also give back on a local level; employees individually participate by donating their time, decorating the house for the holidays and cooking dinners. Dillard’s employees also serve on our board of directors,” Anderson said.

Danielle Lake, the special events coordinator for Dillard’s, feels these types of functions give Dillard’s a more personal relationship to the community.

“It is important because we want to connect to our customers not just in our store but also in the community,” Lake said. “We want to make shopping in a department store just as intimate as shopping in a local boutique.”