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Sharp Dressed Man meets fundraising goal to pay off $20,000 BGE bill

The nonprofit Sharp Dressed Man has raised the $20,000 it owed BGE for a ballooning electric bill.

Sharp Dressed Man, the recycled suit program that provides clothes for men in need who are attempting to gain employment, has raised the $20,000 it owed for a ballooning Baltimore Gas and Electric bill less than a month after launching a fundraising effort.

Its GoFundMe account, which was set up at the beginning of February, raised $5,670. An anonymous donor also gave $15,000 to the nonprofit, said founder Christopher Schafer. 

"We hit our goal," said Schafer, who also owns Christopher Schafer Clothier in Fells Point. "We now have the money to pay BGE and I'm so relieved. We're so happy with the support of the community."

Schafer said the large bill was the result of moving into what is functionally a 10,000-square-foot space from one that was much smaller. Sharp Dressed Man moved to 233 W. Lexington St. after an electrical fire last March at its original location, 520 Park Ave.

Schafer said that a series of factors resulted in the current predicament, including his staff not being conservative with the electricity. 

In early February, Schafer said he and BGE had come to an “agreement” that allowed him to keep the electricity on at the new location while he paid down the bill.

Schafer said he turned off the GoFundMe account Wednesday.

“The future looks good. The future looks bright,” he said, adding that the nonprofit will remain in its current location for the next few months.

In the meantime, he has been working on writing grant proposals for funding for Sharp Dressed Man. In addition to dressing about 80 men a week, Schafer said that the program is also providing their clients with lunch and haircuts.

“Now we get the opportunity to plan and strategize and grow. We can actually be smart about our growth,” he said.

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