A nonprofit offers other nonprofits a chance to raise money for themselves in an innovative way

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARC - The Arcs collection receptacle at Arleta Elementary School overflows with used clothing - for which the school receives $.20 per pound, benefitting the PTA.  At a Woodstock Neighborhood Association meeting late last spring, Kathy Buss, Community Resource Coordinator for "The Arc", was present to describe a new program begun a year ago that benefits nonprofit organizations.

"The Arc of Multnomah-Clackamas" used to be called the Association of Retarded Citizens. However, that name is no longer appropriate so now it is just called "The Arc".

The organization was started over sixty years ago to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, through programs, support, and advocacy for families. It gains money for its programs by selling used goods to Value Village, a thrift store that it partners with. A Value Village on S.E. 82nd Avenue off Foster Road was closed a few years ago, and now the only remaining store in the metro area is in Tigard.

At the WNA meeting, Buss explained that according to The Arc's tradition, used goods of all kinds are solicited through phone calls that are made to homes, to let people know what day a truck would be coming to their street for pickup.

However, Buss described a new Arc program that actually pays cash to local nonprofit organizations for their collected clothing: "Gently used" clothing – any kind, plus such linens as bedding, sheets, towels, and blankets – and also yarn, belts, and even wigs, as well as shoes and boots. (Housewares are not accepted in this program, but can be given to The Arc at curb pickups.)

All are weighed – and the collecting organization receives $.20 per pound for what they've collected, in cash.

"Arc" receptacles for the clothing are lent to participating organizations. Buss observes that gently used shoes, boots, and coats are especially heavy, and mean more money for the collecting nonprofit.

Examples of participating organization include schools which collect the money for their PTA – such as is done at Arleta Elementary School, just outside the Woodstock neighborhood.

Franny Thompson, an Arleta parent involved in the clothing collection, tells THE BEE in an e-mail, "The money goes into the PTA general fund. The PTA funds and sponsors many programs and activities at Arleta, including a Teacher Grant program, our Garden Committee, the theater club, Padres Unidos, the Hallowe'en Dance, and the End of Year Family Picnic. We also help support community-aid projects like the PPS Clothing Closet, and Creston Dental Clinic."

Dee Wright, Used Goods Administrator at The Arc, reveals that high schools often collect clothing to benefit their dance or ski teams. And churches tend to use the clothing drive money for charitable projects.

Any nonprofit interested in participating in such a fundraiser can call Kathy Buss at 503/223-7279, Ext. 222 – or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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