For more information, visit zealousgood.com.
The average American household has about $7,000 in unused items
cluttering up the rooms. That idea bothered Brittany Martin
Graunke, a former industrial engineer working at United Way.
Graunke had seen the funding cuts nonprofits were suffering and
was determined to find a way to get those items in homes and
businesses to charities that could use them.
So Graunke created Zealous Good, a Chicago organization that
lets people and businesses donate directly to local charities. In
the past year, Zealous Good has matched more than $200,000 worth of
items with local charities and has become a full-time job for
If you're looking to donate, getting started is easy, Graunke
says. Go to the website, create a login, share details about what
you'd like to donate, whether you need it picked up or will drop it
off, and estimated value. Zealous Good then notifies nonprofits who
are looking for that type of item.
Once a match is made, Zealous Good sends the information to the
donor, who then coordinates directly with the nonprofit. The best
part is that the donor gets to know who the recipient is, Graunke
says, and follow-up photos and stories are often shared between the
donor and recipient.
"For families, we've found that it's been helpful for moms to
teach their kids about giving back through our site. If a child has
a favorite set of toys or some sort of memento that they didn't
need to hold onto, the child was able to see another child in need
benefitting from it," Graunke says. "So it's more significant for
the child and a fun way to think through things."
Graunke encourages donors to think beyond typical donations of
clothes and furniture. "Leftover, unopened baby formula, sports
equipment, electronics. There's so much more that people can give
that could be helpful," she says.
Nonprofits that want to be included for possible donations work
with Zealous Good to create a profile page and decide what kind of
items they're looking for. Organizations and donors currently are
in Chicago, but this summer Zealous Good is expanding into the
suburbs as well.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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