The numbers are in: Moab’s only “much more than a thrift store” nonprofit organization experienced a banner year in all areas.
According to WabiSabi’s 2014 Year in Review report, the local thrift store gave close to $50,000 in proceeds and goods back to the Moab community, as well as serving over 1600 meals and hosting seven Nonprofit Network events.
“The scope of our programs is truly astounding.” WabiSabi Executive Director Mel Gilles said. “This past year, we focused on logistical support for our programs and comprehensive tracking of just how much we give, not only to our nonprofit partners, but to the larger Nonprofit Network and the community as a whole. We are excited to share our findings with Moab.”
Through its Nonprofit Partner Program and Make a Difference in Moab (MAD) fund, WabiSabi gave $25,550 in monetary donations to local organizations and projects. The bulk of the proceeds — $20,000 – went to 13 nonprofit partners, including Arches Education Center, BEACON Afterschool Program, Canyonlands Community Recycling, Community Rebuilds, the Grand County Family Support Center, Humane Society of Moab Valley, KZMU Community Radio, Moab Arts and Recreation Center, Moab Free Health Clinic, Moab Valley Multicultural Center, Native American Club, Seekhaven and the Youth Garden Project.
The remaining $5,550 went to support nine local projects through the MAD fund. Projects included sending a young resident to Girls State through the American Legion Auxiliary, helping Grand Area Mentoring print T-shirts to award their students and mentors and promote their program, purchasing updated parenting curriculum for Arches New Hope Pregnancy Center and instructor training for the Mindfulness in Education program. WabiSabi has increased this fund threefold since 2010 in order to fulfill more requests through the program.
Through its Nonprofit Network, WabiSabi organized five workshops and two networking events to educate and improve the effectiveness of local nonprofit organizations. More than 120 participants representing 48 different organizations took advantage of the free trainings, including “Taming the Social Media Tiger” and “Introduction to the Foundation Center Grants Database.”
The WabiSabi Community Meals Program served a total of 1,627 meals to the Moab community during six Sunday brunches and its Thanksgiving meal. The Community Meals Program, which aims to provide nutritious, warm meals in a welcoming atmosphere to all people, has doubled in numbers since the program began in 2007. WabiSabi is planning an expansion of the Community Meals Program into the summer months and will have more information available in April of this year.
WabiSabi also gives back to the community through its donations and voucher programs. Combined, these programs rival the amount of reinvestment in the community of the Nonprofit Partners and Make a Difference in Moab fund. WabiSabi is seeing significant increases the amount of goods donated back to the community, providing $11,500 worth of goods for almost 60 different organizations to help with daily operations, special events, and projects. Schools, churches, nonprofits, governmental agencies and fundraising events may receive free material goods from WabiSabi to support their missions.
“It’s fun to look through our incoming donations and what we don’t sell and match it to an organization’s wish list. Plus, we get to keep more usable stuff out of the landfill,” WabiSabi South manager Holly Dinsmore said. “For example, Mary McGann, third grade teacher at (Helen M. Knight Elementary School), gets stuffed animals and gives them to her students as prizes during class. Sara Melnicoff of (Moab) Solutions, receives all of the reusable grocery bags that we do not sell and delivers them to the Moonflower Market, where customers can use them for free.”
In addition, WabiSabi fulfilled $12,800 worth of requests through its Voucher Program, a 300 percent increase from the previous year. Vouchers are written by 16 social service agencies to meet the immediate and critical needs of their clients in Moab.
The Moab community also gave to WabiSabi in significant ways. Donations – the basic building block for a nonprofit thrift store – continue to roll in by the truckload, causing the organization to modify its donation hours as it streamlines its processing methods in order to make room for more items.
“We really appreciate the public’s patience with us about donations over the last few months,” Gilles said. “From here forward, we are hopeful that both stores can take donations everyday.”
WabiSabi East accepts books, sports gear, adult clothes, shoes and accessories from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. WabiSabi South takes all of that, and everything else from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Furniture and building supplies are accepted at WabiSabi South from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Volunteers donated a total of 2893 hours to WabiSabi in 2014, double the amount of time given in 2013.
“Volunteers help with sorting raw donations, shelving books, testing gear, fixing vacuum cleaners, assembling computers, tagging clothing, cooking meals, serving dinners, washing dishes, and more. There are many ways someone can get involved,” WabiSabi Volunteer Coordinator Nara Bopp-Williams said.
“All in all, it was a great year for WabiSabi, the organizations we support and the Moab community,” Gilles said. “The more we work on our internal operations and support for our programs, the more we are able to utilize this community’s generosity to fulfill our mission.”
To learn more and get involved, go to wabisabimoab.org.
Nonprofit group’s services expand in 2014
All in all, it was a great year for WabiSabi, the organizations we support and the Moab community.