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How Savers Is Cultivating Community Through Reuse

Image Credit: Savers/Value Village

As we navigate tumultuous times in our country and across the globe, people are looking to businesses to cultivate community, either through their own programs or through partnerships. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, businesses and NGOs are the most trusted organizations by the public, more so than media or the government. People are looking to these organizations to fill a need, solve problems, and redefine the ‘good life’ in their communities.

Coming out of the Sustainable Brands conference in Detroit this May, one thing was clear: Brands are working hard to do just that. They are moving beyond talk and becoming advocates for causes that matter to their consumers and their employees, building communities centered around these convictions. Based on my experience at Savers, I can tell you that to truly redefine the good life in a sustainable manner, we will all need to look for unconventional partnerships that help advance business, and sustainability. At Savers, we do this through our partnerships with local charitable organizations that help us keep clothing and household goods out of landfills while supporting important causes in communities across the United States and Canada.

Our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound (BBBSPS) is just one example of how Savers works with local charitable organizations to positively impact local communities. We have worked with BBBSPS for more than 20 years. In the simplest terms, the organization collects used clothing and household goods from local residents, then Savers buys those items from the nonprofit for resale in our stores. This ensures a stable source of revenue for the charitable organization so it can provide much needed services in the communities where it operates. Consistent funding can be difficult for organizations such as BBBSPS to come by, and for them, it helps advance their mission to support Big-Little matches and community mentoring, which have had a significant impact on youths throughout the Puget Sound. The outcomes of youths who participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound’s programs are astounding with 92 percent showing an increase in confidence at school, 93 percent improving their attitudes and behaviors toward risky behaviors, and 90 percent improving their relationship with a trusted adult.

It is truly a privilege to work with local charitable organizations like this. The impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound is extraordinary: In 2016, it connected 1,030 youths with one-on-one mentor relationships, with the help of revenue from its partnership with Savers. That’s more than a thousand youths who are more likely to graduate high school, go to college and meaningfully contribute to their communities. Considering it only costs $2,000 to recruit, match and support the youth, family and mentor in a Big Brothers Big Sisters program for a full year, donating items to this organization is a great way to exercise the power of reuse and help them deliver on their mission and programs.

Unfortunately, millions of U.S. citizens and Canadians are not taking advantage of this easy way to support their community. The most recent Savers State of Reuse Report found that a shocking 54 percent of citizens from the U.S. and Canada reported they are still throwing out their used clothing and household goods, rather than donating. The good news is, the report also found an easy way to encourage more people to take action, by showing them how their donation can positively impact their local community. In fact, over half of people donate their clothing to help their community and 78 percent of people would prefer their charitable giving benefit a local cause rather than a national cause.

Sponsored by Savers.

Unconventional partnerships can be good for business, people and the planet. At Savers, we built our business on leveraging people’s unwanted stuff to minimize our clothing footprint while maximizing local positive impact.

TVI, Inc. d/b/a Savers and Value Village is a for-profit professional fundraiser. Click here for state-specific disclosures.


As the Vice President of Recycling and Reuse at Value Village, Tony Shumpert oversees the recycling business operations for Savers (locally known as Value Village), a purpose-driven thrift retailer with nearly 330 stores across the U.S., Canada and… [Read more about Tony Shumpert]


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