Last month, eBay announced the winners of the 2017 SHINE Awards for Small Business, including the winner of the Charitable Business category, Nancy Meyer of Community Forklift. In an impressive field of nominees, Community Forklift stood out for its commitment to its 40 employees, service to the local community, and generous spirit of giving.
Founded by Nancy Meyer to "lift up the community" in the Metro DC area, the nonprofit sells recycled and salvaged home improvement and building supplies. The company takes donations of unwanted materials that run the gamut from flooring and glass to antique furniture and vintage light fixtures, and then resells it. Among some of the coolest items they’ve salvaged and sold: a chandelier from the Watergate Hotel and paintings from Spanish artist Joan Miró.
Since 2005, the company has been helping the local community by reducing waste and promoting reuse, keeping $30 million in building materials out of landfills and incinerators, and making repairs and renovation more affordable.
Community Forklift also donates generously to the local community through two programs. Aided by sales made through eBay for Charity, they have provided more than $145,000 in materials and home goods, such as appliances and furniture, to families in need. And, they’ve provided more than $250,000 in mini-grants and more than $18,000 in loaner materials for projects that serve the local community.
We caught up with Community Forklift’s Director of Administration, Mariam d'Eustachio, who attended eBay Open on behalf of Nancy Meyer, and asked her why she thinks the company was selected as the winner in the Charitable Business category. “We won because of our community,” she said. “Our charitable mission has several different aspects to it but one of the things we do is provide low-cost materials to our community. They need something and we needed something and they came through for us.”
According to Mariam, Community Forklift started selling on eBay in order to reach a broader market for their more unusual items. “It all started with a sink-and-toilet set in ‘Tang Red’ that sold to a customer in New York,” she said. “We continue to sell on eBay to capture value for those unique items, and our vintage sink and toilet business has grown dramatically. Our items are one of a kind, so if you are looking for a red toilet, you will find Community Forklift.”
Listing through eBay for Charity was a perfect fit. Said Mariam, “eBay for Charity gives us the chance to educate the consumer. Maybe they will choose to buy a vintage chandelier instead of a light fixture from The Home Depot, and that is our goal. Our hope is that, as a society, we become more conscious of how we choose to spend our money. Knowing that your money supports a good cause is important. eBay for Charity is the perfect platform to connect those sellers, whatever their cause, to that socially conscious consumer.”
Community Forklift is just one of many companies that raise money through eBay for Charity. eBay for Charity makes it easy for sellers and buyers to support the causes that matter to them. When listing, sellers can designate an item for charity and donate 10-100% of the item’s sale price to any one of thousands of organizations.
eBay's buyers and sellers have raised over $725 million for charities worldwide. At any time, there are more than one million active eBay listings that benefit charities. Items range from everyday products to one-of-a-kind collector’s items and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Lunch with Warren Buffett raised $3.45 million for anti-poverty programs in San Francisco and a pair of custom-made Under Armor sneakers worn by Steph Curry in a Warriors game raised $30,101 for the Oakland Fire Relief Fund.
Charity listings are highlighted with an eBay for Charity ribbon and the percentage of the sale that goes to charity is noted. When the item sells, eBay credits back a portion of the seller fees, and, of course, all donations are tax deductible.
eBay for Charity can help organizations reach a larger pool of buyers, increasing the amount they're able to give back to the community—and the number of lives they can help improve. For Community Forklift, it’s a vital part of their ability to impact the local community and affect positive change. “...eBay is a revenue stream that we desperately need,” Mariam said. “And, it helps us to keep doing what we do every single day.”
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