A years-long project to help non-profits connect with donors is now a reality — thanks in large part to a government-issued economic stimulus check.
“Because of my stimulus payment, I was able to actually pay a friend who’s a WordPress developer to do the site,” said Leslie Scott, non-profit advocate and founder of Re.Use.Full — a newly launched web-hub that pairs nonprofits with donors of items ranging from appliances and furniture to tools and toys.
“This is a project at least 10 years in the making,” she noted, chronicling her journey to launch the website. “When I tell you I had tears in my eyes … I mean, it’s been a decade now.”
“I’ve been in the non-profit community for a while and I would have friends ask, ‘Hey, do you know where I could take some clothes or my kids’ toys?’ — just different things they had cleaned out and were wanting to take somewhere, but were looking for an alternative to thrift stores and wanting to have it directly impact someone,” she said.
Through the Code For KC program offered by KC Digital Drive, Scott got to work, dreaming up a place where registered nonprofits could provide a list of needs — old and new — and community donors could fulfill them.
Re.Use.Full has so far secured 14 nonprofit partners, she added, noting the service is completely free. The platform hopes to have 30 before its more formal launch.
Click here to explore involvement with Re.Use.Full or to browse the current list of nonprofit needs.
In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Kansas City — and communities across the globe — the service might have uploaded at just the right time, Scott mused.
“I think people are more driven to help now than ever. People are looking for ways to help folks who have been so greatly affected by the recession, people who’ve lost their jobs or had their hours cut,” she said, noting the impact — and responsibility — of non-profits has never been greater.
“People are really going through hard times and non-profits are trying to help as many people as possible, but you can only stretch your cash budgets so far.”
And as Kansas Citians spend more time at home, there’s never been a better time to declutter and do good, Scott added.
“In-kind donations are often overlooked by non-profit organizations as a way to kind of make their budgets go farther. And one of the things that has happened as a result of the pandemic is that nonprofits are needing things they didn’t need before,” she said, giving such examples as personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies.
“One of the things we wanted to be sure to include and is useful, is the opportunity for organizations to include their Amazon Wishlist because that enables organizations to indicate what kind of new items they need. Somebody could choose to send those cleaning supplies, those paper products, the disposable items they’re using more now.”
As Re.Use.Full takes shape publicly, Scott said she hopes to see it grow beyond its Kansas City roots.
“It is zip code-based, so it can scale anywhere and that’s the goal. We’re going to pilot it here, work out the kinks, and then hopefully we’ll be able to add some more nearby metro areas,” she said, suggesting such cities as Columbia in Missouri and Topeka and Lawrence on the Kansas side of the state line.
With scaling comes even more opportunities to do good, Scott noted.
“I’d like to give this to some kind of organization like the United Way, which is worldwide. They have a ready-made community of non-profit organizations they work with already,” she said.
“It’s been such a labor of love and I’ve had such great volunteers to help me along the way — and still do. … It’s really been about a lot of people pulling together to make it happen and it was just such a joy to see it come to life.”