Resale Broker: Charitable For-Profit

Donation Brokers

Donation Centers

Vehicle Donations

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper

dated Wednesday, December 23, 1998. All rights reserved.

To Give, But What, & How?

Tis the season for donations. Money is easy to give

away, but where is the best place to donate file cabinets, telephone

systems, or computers, or paper supplies, or even a truck? Here is

a list of charities and charity brokers who can help you clean out

your office and get a tax deduction.

First on the list, a new donation broker, a virtual warehouse known

as the Trenton Waste Exchange (Box 693, Trenton 08604-0693,


fax, 609-924-6632). Carol W. Royal used a grant from the Department

of Environmental Protection to found this nonprofit business,


to helping locate homes for unwanted but usable surplus. "It is

a virtual warehouse. Check off what you are interested in donating.

A nonprofit organization would pick it up — or we arrange to pick

it up," says Royal. Her goals:

To aid nonprofits by providing them with reusable electronics,

furniture, and other equipment, so they can better use scarce dollars

for the needs of their clients.

To preserve the environment by keeping unwanted business


out of the waste stream.

To utilize the resources from these operations to provide


education and other human service programs.

To help companies benefit from donation tax credits; improved

public relations; and reduced waste removal costs.

"All donations must be in good working conditions,"

says Royal, "and there is a minimal handling fee based on the

value of materials donated. In some cases, where exchange is not


the fee covers the dismantling and/or sorting of reusable


"The response from the nonprofit community has been overwhelming.

They need everything," says Royal.

She lists 90 items that you wouldn’t think could be recycled: Adding

machines, air conditioning units, and art supplies. Bicycles, battery

chargers, and brushes. Calculators, clocks, and computers. Envelopes

and forklifts, hand trucks and hardware. Kitchen equipment. Ladders

and lumber. Microwave oven and musical instruments. Paint, paneling,

pens, and slide projectors. Shelving, sound equipment, and staple

supplies. Tables and toys. Vehicles, vending machines, and video


Success in this business boils down to old-fashioned networking,


out there and selling yourself," says Royal. "People feel

good about doing that. I happened to be in Morris Maple (the paint

store on Nassau Street) and asked if they ever had extra paint. They

had more than four cases, outdated, or the colors not exactly right.

I’m picking it up tomorrow and taking it down to Trenton, to Habitat

for Humanity, the YWCA, a church, and a boy’s club."

Another exchange resulted from Royal reading in U.S. 1 about how,

when Sypek & Sandford moved to a larger office, they bought new file

cabinets. "All of their old office furniture went to HomeFront.

It was fabulous for both parties," says Royal.

American Reinsurance found many cartons full of brand-new three-ring

binders, leftover from when a department moved. "I can’t tell

you how many nonprofits need 3-ring binders," says Royal. "A

daycare center asked for 50. A mental health organization wants all

of them."

"Merrill Lynch, PSE&G, and McGraw Hill want to work with us,"

says Royal, ticking off her various liaison opportunities. "PSE&G

wants to give us computers, and so does American Cyanamid. When I

can talk to somebody, the response is excellent. The key is getting

to the right person. And I’m not very patient."

Carol Royal is divorced and has four children, and after they were

launched (they include a journalist, a potter/architect, a hospital

administrator, and a sales executive), she completed her college


at the American University in Paris. She did four years work in two

years to save money, and came home with a different attitude. "I’m

a humanist — that’s what Europe did for me," says Royal.


changed my philosophy of what we can do for each other."

Along with Wendy Benchley and others, she helped organize Mercer


for Public Accountability to defeat the county incinerator plan. After

receiving the EPA grant she opened for business in the fall of 1998.

"Material exchanges typically are run through the state,"

says Royal. "The grant should last for two years. It would be

nice if the state would pick this up."

"What I’m doing now is adult education," says Royal. "You

learn the value of experiential learning, to use what they have and

to give them a voice. I am talking with people about what they can

do with excess materials and how that would help the environment.

Too many people don’t worry about the environment."

"They can see how it benefits their organization. how corporations

don’t have to throw anything away. It’s the old adage, somebody’s

trash is somebody else’s treasure," says Royal. "It’s a


Most people don’t care about the environment, but more and more are


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Resale Broker: Charitable For-Profit

Another way to clean out your office is to actually

sell your excess equipment or pay to have it donated. Like Carol


Bill Mischlich is in the recycling business. His Robbinsville-based

firm, Recycled Office Equipment Company (609-208-0559; fax,


is for-profit, but Mischlich donates a percentage of what he gets

to charity.

"I make offers and appraise equipment to recycle it," says

Mischlich. "We can tell small companies what the price is or go

in and make an offer. We upgrade and test everything before we sell

it, or we take it back if it malfunctions."

Mischlich started out in the give-away business as a volunteer with

Telephone Pioneers. He was a tech specialist for AT&T. "After

10 years I became well acquainted with the prices of scrap or older

equipment. Show me a pallet, and I make an offer on it," he says.

"If a small company is upgrading its phone system, I’ll buy the

old one. I just bought 71 pallets of equipment."

"We donate a percentage of what we buy to charities, and we try

not to let any equipment end up on a landfill," says Mischlich.

He stores the equipment in Bordentown and hires workers on a half-day

basis to load the trucks. Some of the technical fixers get paid in

equipment. He also barters equipment and has traded for, for instance,

a couple of canoes, an air compressor, and a generator.

When he retired from AT&T he had 15 years experience as an appraiser,

and he started an appraisal business, Alton Appraisers, but found

it was not profitable. Now his services include purchasing,


and recycling surplus or outdated equipment, including erasing all

of your company’s data and software from your computers, reformatting

the drives, reloading basic software, and correcting computer


He offers appraisal and CPA services to help verify the tax credit.

He can help identify a nonprofit or charitable recipient and take

care of the moving chores. In addition to computers and monitors he

handles fax machines, printers, telephone equipment, desks, copy


shredding machines, file cabinets, chairs, and related equipment.

Mischlich works only with businesses, not individuals, and he won’t

take 386s, even to give away to schools, saying that 386s "are

junk. They are slow. If they needed maintenance they would not be

feasible to maintain or work on."

He also does not take other kinds of junk. "I get calls to donate

copiers to charity, machines that do not work and are 15 years old.

That is the expired life span of a copy machine, and we won’t take

it. Every piece of equipment we donate is above standard."

Some recipients are grateful and some are not. "A college debating

team requested donation of a dozen multimedia laptops. We don’t handle

new equipment, only surplus equipment and surplus is not Pentium2

300s." In contrast was the minister, to whom he delivered two

computers instead of the requested one. (His policy is never to donate

just one computer to a church that has yet to get its first one, with

the reasoning that the pastor needs one and the office staff needs

one.) The response from the minister was gratifying: "We prayed

for one and got two."

— Barbara Fox

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Donation Brokers

Two national organizations are set up to accept your

company’s gifts of new overstocks or used but good equipment:

National Association for the Exchange of Industrial


(NAEIR), Cruz A. Ramos, vice president corporate relations, Box 8076,

560 McClure Street, Galesburg IL 61401 or call 800-562-0955 or


donor fax, 309-343-0862.

Gifts in Kind International, Susan Corrigan, president

and CEO, 333 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314,



GIK gets most of the computer and technology donations, and

NAEIR receives primarily industrial and manufacturing donations. Both

accept donations of new merchandise (often production overruns,


orders, and discontinued models or styles). Both print descriptions

of the items in catalogs, take requests from paid members (non-profit

organizations that qualify as 501(c)3 organizations), and provide

the donor with a federal tax deduction document. Donors usually pay

shipping costs to the warehouse and recipients pay shipping and


from the central warehouse.

Often you can take a tax deduction — up to twice the cost of the

item. The Taxpayer Relief Act, effective through January 1, 2000,

allows C Corporations donating to a gift broker to deduct the cost

of the donated product plus half the difference between cost and fair

market value, up to 200 percent of the merchandise cost.

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Donation Centers

Many of these Princeton-area agencies will take your

used office furniture plus anything else. A few of them offer pick-up

services. Also consider donating to consignment and resale shops for

your favorite cause.

Bryn Mawr Book Shop, 102 Witherspoon Street,


08542. Margery Claghorn, co-chairman. 609-921-7479. E-mail:

Bring books to the collection center at 32 Vandeventer Avenue (not

to the store), 609-896-0515. Open Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.

to noon. The spring book sale benefits scholarship funds. Do not bring

incomplete encyclopedias, textbooks, magazines, Reader’s Digest


Books, or records.

Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, 61 Nassau

Street, Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton 08540. Sally Osmer,

director of crisis ministry. 609-921-2135; fax, 609-683-1975.

The Princeton office is open to take food donations from 1:30 to 4


Goodwill Industries, 594 Route 206, Bordentown

Bob Dugas, president. 609-291-0099.

This agency provides assistance and training for those with mental

or physical disabilities. It is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to


10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Bring household goods, clothing (not torn

or soiled), appliances (small appliances only), furniture, and books.

No pickup.

HomeFront (formerly the Exchange Club), 2265

Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville 08648. Connie Mercer, director.


fax, 609-989-9423.

This agency helps families break the cycle of poverty by providing

aid to homeless families living in Route 1 motels and follow-up help

as well. It was formerly known as the Exchange Club of Greater


It needs vehicles, kitchen tables, wood furniture, and beds


and/or bed frames). Bring them to this office or call to arrange for

pickup within Mercer County. "They are delivered directly to very

needy people at no cost to you or the taxpayer," says Connie


the director. "Please, no more sofa beds, couches, or stuffed

chairs. Bunk beds would be a godsend. Most of all we need donations

of vehicles so our clients can get to work."

Mercer Street Friends, 151 Mercer Street, Trenton

08611. Stephen Kitts, director. 609-396-1506; fax, 609-392-8363.

Founded by the Quakers in 1957, this agency offers after-school


long-term health care, home health care, food distribution, and


transportation. It is open 8:30 to 4 p.m. on weekdays. The agency

particularly appreciates staples and non-perishable food, and also

collects clothing and new toys, but no books or furniture. No pickup.

Mount Carmel Guild, 73 North Clinton Avenue,


Sister Loretta Maggio, community service director. 609-392-5159.

Related to but not funded by the Roman Catholic Church, the guild

distributes food to the needy and provides emergency assistance, home

health nursing, day care center, and transitional housing for the

homeless. Open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donate staples and


food and can openers. New clothing and toys also welcome.

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health


2329 Route 34, Manasquan 08736. 732-528-0900; fax, 732-528-0921.

The NJAMHA represents more than 125 nonprofit mental healthcare


in New Jersey. NJAMHA will help a donor select the appropriate agency,

arrange for the equipment to be picked up, have a maintenance checkup,

and be delivered. The minimum: 486s or Pentium processors.

Rescue Mission, 98 Carroll Street, Trenton. Mary

Gay Abbott-Young, executive director. 609-695-1436.

The independent agency offers assistance for homeless, needy, and

recovering alcoholics and addicts. It is open Monday to Friday, 8

a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring household goods, clothing, appliances, furniture,

ashtrays and dishes, and such kitchen items as toasters and irons.

Call 1-800-528-8825 for pickup of larger items.

Salvation Army Corps Community Center, 575 East

State Street, Trenton 08601. Lieutenant Charles Balcolm, commanding

officer. 609-599-9373.

The thrift store at 436 Mulberry Street (609-599-9801) is open


and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring clothing, furniture,


bric a brac, shoes, bicycles, and books. Call for pick-up of larger

items. Also, a Salvation Army collection box for clothing is located

at the New Jersey Hospital Association at the corner of Alexander

Road and Roszel Road. Bring food and send monetary donations to the

State Street office, which offers a weekly meal program for the


and less fortunate.

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Vehicle Donations

These organizations tow away your old car and send it

to the used car auction and give you the tax deduction. Also see the

listing above for HomeFront, which does not auction the cars

but uses them for its clients who are in transition.

American Cancer Society. The program for both the Mercer

chapter on Princeton Pike and the Middlesex County chapter on Route

1 North in North Brunswick is run from an office at 507 Westminster

Avenue, Box 815, Elizabeth 07207. 800-318-6661.

American Lung Association, , 586 Main Street, Suite 108,

New York Mills NY 13417. 800-577-LUNG (5864). New Jersey chapter,

29 Emmons Drive, Suite A-1, Princeton 08540. 609-452-2112; fax,


Elaine R. Fisher, director of field support services, mid-New Jersey

region. Programs help people with asthma and other lung diseases and

prevent kids from starting to smoke. The only requirements are that

you have a certificate of title, an engine in the car, and that the

car have four inflated tires at the time of pickup.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Mercer County, 310 Rowan


609-888-2227. Peter Weaver, executive director. The Cars for Kids’

Sake program (800-859-6526) accepts cars, trucks, or boats, regardless

of condition

National Kidney Foundation, Kara Callahan, 30 East 33rd

Street, New York 10016. 800-488-cars or 212-889-2210; fax

212-779-8056. Donations improve care and treatment

of those with kidney, urologic, and hypertensive diseases — with

research, patient and community services, professional education,

and public education.

Salvation Army,

To donate a vehicle call 888-999-ARMY or 2769. Donations of vehicles

support drug and alcohol rehab programs in the northeast region,


Trenton’s. The average car sells for $275, and the Salvation Army

nets a high percentage, 70 to 75 percent, which it uses for capital


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