Dress For Success Presents First Donna Broder Memorial Scholarship

Erin Hajostek receives the Donna Broder Memorial Scholarship from Jay Broder.

An annual memorial scholarship dedicated to the memory of Donna Broder, a longtime volunteer for Dress for Success Palm Beaches, was recently established by her husband, Jay Broder, via his Broder Family Trust, to continue her legacy.

The qualifications and the application process for the award were established by both Jay Broder for the trust and the management of Dress for Success, a national not-for-profit organization. DFS was established to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

At a ceremony on Aug. 16 at the local DFS office, Dress for Success client Erin Hajostek was presented with the inaugural scholarship from the Broder Family Trust.

Donna Broder was a Dress for Success Hope Award recipient for 2022.

“This award is designed to honor someone who not only dedicates the time, talent and treasure that we so very much need to sustain what we do, but also demonstrates an intense passion for our mission, and embodies the strength that is required to forge ahead in the face of any challenge which may present itself,” DFS Executive Director Mary Hart said at the 2022 luncheon. “Donna Broder was a gift to our organization. Even though she is not here physically, I do believe she is here in spirit every day.”

Broder’s husband Jay was at the luncheon to accept the award on her behalf.

“Donna volunteered in one way or another since she was 12 years old. She joined DFSPB as a volunteer in 2017,” Hart said. “We fell in love with her from the start when she offered to assist wherever needed. She served in a voluntary capacity as an administrative assistant since then, proving to be invaluable to our organization. She really stepped up in the face of the pandemic. The day we closed our doors, she offered to check our office e-mail and voicemail from home. She was among the first to return to the office once we re-opened, and to take on extra shifts. In addition to admin responsibilities, she designed a process for longer-term client tracking, and she assumed the role of co-chair for our Community Relations Committee.”

Broder became very ill in October 2021 and was in and out of hospitals and rehab centers for various treatments. Unfortunately, she passed away from a multi-year battle with cancer in February.

“We selected the recipient of this award over one year ago,” Hart explained. “Little did we know then that she would no longer be with us by the time we hosted our 2022 luncheon.”

More information about Dress for Success, including volunteer opportunities and other ways to support the organization, can be found at www.dressforsuccesspb.org.