Nonprofit turns donations into cash for schools.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Late last year, a new nonprofit thrift store opened at 839 S. Main St. Last week, its managers had tallied enough profit to give several thousand dollars to 12 neighborhood schools.
“We are just so excited to be here tonight,” The Giving Tree board member Susan White said during a check presentation Feb. 20. Leigh … told us we’re not going to make any money this first year. We are four months in and we made $3,000 that we’re giving away tonight.”
The Leigh she referred to is Leigh Grieco, who came up with the idea while still president of the St. Catherine of Siena parent-teachers organization. Finding a similar model in Chapel Hill, Grieco crafted a vision, set it in motion and The Giving Tree was born.
The store takes donated items for resale. Volunteers come in, sort and tag items and a school’s supporters shop at the store. All donations and volunteer hours serve as credit toward their school and are used in determining proceeds for those schools at the end of a calendar year.
But since they did so well to begin with, and to encourage more community participation, Giving Tree board members decided to do an early giveaway. The following schools received a check last week:
•Wake Forest Elementary, $500
•Franklin Academy, Saint Catherine of Siena, $450
•Heritage Elementary, $400
•Thales Academy, Wake Forest High, $250
•Endeavor Charter School, Wake Forest Middle, Jones Dairy Elementary, Richland Creek Elementary, Heritage Middle, $150
•Heritage High, $100
The Giving Tree only takes in select items; it’s not a junk shop, and has little room for TVs, clothes or furniture. The items are more along the line of china dishes, small toys and games, antiques, baskets, artwork, fabrics, jewelry,
iPods and handbags.
“People are bringing us that one perfect thing that they have in their house,” said Grieco. “Brilliant, beautiful things — nice things that stay in good condition.”
“We’re delighted that the Wake Forest community has turned out to support our goals by donating, shopping and volunteering at the store,” she said. “Every donation, purchase or volunteer hour gets credited to the participant’s school of choice. The schools really need our support to continue to fund important programs.”
Tim Hall, principal at Franklin Academy, seemed pleased with his school community’s participation and said every dollar counts.
“We didn’t expect that much,” said Hall, noting that there is always a need for instructional items such as construction paper, iPads and books.
“We have a great community,” added White. “This community has embraced this vision and it’s awesome. The schools have wrapped their arms around us.”
For more information see givingtreefoundation.org.