​Furnishing Funds at North Light

May 12, 2017 0 comments
​Furnishing Funds at North Light

By Rachel Jenkins
Photos courtesy of North Light Community Center

When you think about the most common avenues for charitable donations, furniture consignment might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But over the past year, Manayunk institution Consignment Marketplace has proven to be an ideal channel to support local non-profit, North Light Community Center.

Rick and Barbara Carocci are the original owners of TransAmerican Office Furniture and Consignment Marketplace, two home furnishing businesses on Main Street. When they opened TransAmerican Office Furniture in 1976, their company was an early part of the Manayunk renaissance that revitalized the community. For decades, they were active philanthropists in the neighborhood, and developed an especially close relationship with the staff at North Light Community Center. When Joe Donahue took over Consignment Marketplace as owner in late 2015, he wanted to continue the Carocci legacy and partner with a local charity. As a community hub that tirelessly works to keep kids occupied after school, North Light was the obvious choice.

Though many customers of Consignment Marketplace frequently come to consign high-end products expecting a big return, Joe noticed there were also plenty of clients itching to clear out furniture they no longer wanted. Since these consigners were much less interested in the selling price of their items, Joe saw an opportunity to make a difference at North Light.

The program is simple: a consigner comes into Consignment Marketplace with an item they would like to sell. If they’re interested, they can choose to donate the item through the partnership. When the item is sold, the consigner is notified and the proceeds are transferred to North Light.

“When I sense that a consigner is especially happy to get rid of their item, I make sure to refer them to the program,” Joe explained.

Joe also has a sign in the store to spread the word about the program to potential consigners when they come to his counter. It’s a simple idea that can make a real difference, and Joe is glad to be contributing to an organization that provides a safe, productive space for children and teens to spend their time. It’s something that not all kids would have had otherwise.

“North Light’s after-school program keeps kids busy. It keeps them occupied and gives them inspiration from people they can look up to,” Joe said. “It’s nice to have a place to go while parents are at work. They’re learning valuable life skills, not sitting and watching TV or getting into trouble.”

North Light offers a multitude of services, including after-school and summer camp programs, college and career readiness for teens, a bi-weekly food cupboard and utility assistance, holiday assistance, volunteer opportunities, and community classes and recreation programs.

Manayunk entrepreneur Lenny Bazemore is a frequent participant in the program. He chose to support the partnership because he has seen the positive impact that North Light has on kids in the community.

“Just about every day, I see a North Light van driving kids back and forth. They do so much to better the lives of others,” Lenny said. “I donated furniture to the Consignment Marketplace, and I hope other people do what they can to make a difference too.”

Over the past year, the program has worked with approximately 10 consigners, and has raised between $2000 - $3000 for the organization. Dana Dabek, the Director of Institutional Advancement at North Light, believes the potential benefits of the program go beyond after-school programming. Donations from charitable individuals oftens serve to support the organization where their own budget doesn’t reach.

“Individual gifts are critical to our ability to continue our services,” she said. “We are a non-profit, so our programs are charitably funded, and we rely on money from individuals to fill in gaps. This program is a great way for people to continue to serve the community.”

Some of those “gaps” come in the form of funding for facility improvements and general maintenance. North Light was recently able to build a brand new kitchen with IKEA’s Life Improvement Challenge in their facilities through community support. Both Joe and Dana hope that an increased interest in the program will allow North Light to continue making improvements. It’s all about giving local kids the best experience possible.

“So far, we have been able to send North Light checks [from the program] about every month,” Joe said. “But we’re always looking to do more.”

If you’d like to get involved with the consignment program, talk to Joe Donahue at Consignment Marketplace, or contact him at
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