2020 ANNUAL REPORT
We Celebrated our 20th Anniversary in 2020, and…
Served as of January 2020!
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Dear Community Warehouse family, friends, and fans,
2020. Where to begin?
For Community Warehouse, 2020 began with two major milestones – our 20th year of service, and 100,000 neighbors served. Little did we know, another milestone was on our doorstep.
When I think of how Community Warehouse responded at the onset of the pandemic, I am filled with pride. Staff stayed focused on the mission and adapted again and again as the environment changed. Donors stepped up, contributing to a 400% increase in gifts during the second quarter of 2020, and provided the organization stability during a volatile and uncertain time. Volunteers listened to our urgency to keep each other safe, and instead of in-person shifts, showed up for remote and physically-distanced volunteering opportunities. Shoppers supported Community Warehouse through the Estate Stores, buying gift certificates while we were closed and shopping during our reduced hours. And our clients’ resilience and positivity motivated our team to continue providing furniture bank services throughout it all — in the most caring, safe, and effective way possible.
The pandemic is not over. It may take years before we see the full impact of its effects. The depth of challenges that face us, now and in the future, may seem insurmountable. But there is something tangible and important that we can do now, right here in our community. We can ensure our extra stuff finds a home with our neighbors. We can ensure kids sleep on beds instead of the floor. We can ensure people feel comfortable at home, so they can face whatever else may come their way. We can show up for one another with kindness and with kitchen tables.
Thank you for supporting Community Warehouse through the most trying year this organization has ever seen, so we, in turn, can support our neighbors in need of furniture. As you read this report, I hope you feel the joy that’s infused in this work. I hope you carry with you the goodness and abundance that our mission brings to our community. And I hope that you feel pride, too. Your support of Community Warehouse helped us furnish homes for 3,334 people in 2020. (Community Warehouse would be just a “Warehouse” without you!)
QUARTER 1: Business as usual, who knew?
OUR NEW WELCOME ROOM
The client experience has been vastly improved by our new Welcome Room, completed during Quarter One! This is where program staff greet clients and orient them to our program’s process.
It also doubles as a safe, comfy area for children to play or rest while their family navigates the furniture bank. Neil Kelly constructed the room, staff painted the mural, and our volunteer Herb installed the baseboard that our Board member Gabe procured for us.
Welcome Room Remodel Funders
“I went from being in prison last year to having my own place. Literally we’d be moving in right now with just blankets and pillows. So right now, this is huge. It helps with my kids’ confidence that I can do things for them, that I can take care of them. It helps with everything. Just knowing that this part is taken care of, I can go to work now. And make sure we live life.”
QUARTER 2: Responding to COVID-19
Community Warehouse quickly responded to COVID-19 by temporarily suspending regular operations on March 16, 2020. Our services require close contact with used goods and people (over 2,000 unique contacts per week!), so we decided to modify service. When state officials issued the “Stay Home, Save Lives” Executive Order on March 24, our staff worried: “How do you stay at home if you have nothing at home?”
We had to ensure people had basic essential items, especially a comfortable place to sleep. In less than a week, staff formulated a plan: Home2Go kits. These kits were composed of a dresser filled with brand-new, essential items for every household – including pots and pans, silverware, a set of dishes, towels, bedsheets, and an air mattress. On March 30, we began offering no-contact pickup and delivery of Home2Go kits for partner agencies and clients.
“There was a time when I was a housesitting (read: homeless) single mom who would have broken into tears to have been offered this dresser kit. They make my heart happy – as does your continued efforts.”
Home2Go Kit Sponsor
NW Natural chose Community Warehouse as a “Program of Focus” recipient in 2020. We utilized this funding to support a highly successful advertising campaign in partnership with KOIN TV and KRCW. When Community Warehouse launched the Home2Go program, this advertising provided an unparalleled level of public exposure when needed most.
Special thanks to partners NW Natural, KOIN TV, & KRCW!
QUARTER 3: Expanded Client Services & Chair Affair Event
EXPANDED CLIENT SERVICES
After distributing over 450 Home2Go kits, we phased out the program in July. In August, we shifted our services from Home2Go to a full-service delivery model.
VIRTUAL CHAIR AFFAIR
We would like to thank our staff, Board, volunteers, donors, and everyone who made this year’s event extraordinary! We raised over $200,000!
INCREASED CLIENT SELF-REFERRALS
“Many of my clients are low-income as well as immigrants and non-English speaking, but more specifically they are women: single moms, women with disabilities, women with very serious illnesses like cancer, women suffering from Domestic Violence, and more. When my clients speak a native language other than English (Maya, Nahuatl, Zapoteco, etc.), it is hard for them to navigate the system to get a driver’s license or rent a U-Haul. Some of my clients shared that due to the pandemic most services were limited, or their case manager or social worker had been laid off, and they were left with no help in just a matter of days.”
In addition to client referrals from our 200+ partner agencies, Community Warehouse fields self-referrals from individuals and families who do not have other agency representation. During the pandemic, this grew from 10% to roughly 25% of all appointments. The Collins Foundation granted $50,000 to sponsor fees for self-referred clients.
Direct Services Advocate
QUARTER 4: Our Community
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TRANSITION
After six years at Community Warehouse, Dunetchka Otero-Serrano stepped down at the end of December 2020 to become the new Executive Director at the YWCA of Clark County. Former Development Director, Anna Kurnizki, became Community Warehouse’s Interim Executive Director for five months; she was promoted to the position permanently by the Board of Directors in May 2021. Read more about our leadership transition here.
2020 COMMUNITY SURVEY
We sent out a survey to gather information on how we could best serve our community, and we received almost 200 responses from our partners! They shared the following:
Charles was living in an empty space for three months with only a camping chair for seating. He was able to find support after reaching out to Community Warehouse, and his delivery fee was covered by the Collins Foundation.
GRANTS OF $5,000+
B.P., Lester & Regina John Foundation
Carol and Velma Saling Foundation
The Healy Foundation
Herbert A. Templeton Foundation
Hubert & Ludmila Schlesinger Foundation Inc.
The June & Julian Foss Foundation
Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund
The OCF Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation
Oregon Health Authority
Reser Family Foundation
Small Business Administration
Storms Family Foundation
A Special Thank You to our 2020 Board of Directors!
Board Chair Emeritus & Founder
Retired, Intel Corporation
Premiere Property Group
Harris WorkSystems, Inc.
Retired, Healthcare Executive
ANN KIRBY, MS, MPA, BSN
Care Management – Oregon
Providence Health & Services
Irvine and Company CPAs
McEwen Gisvold LLP