PTA Thrift Shop Hands out Checks; Increases Its Donations to Local Schools

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Re-building campaign for Carrboro, NC location underway--expected to increase money for schools by up to 20 percent and stimulate local economy.


PTA Thrift Shop Building Campaign underway to boost money to schools and local economy

Parents at our school recognize that if we ‘pay it forward’ and lend our support now to the PTA Thrift Shop's building campaign that our investment will pay off later.

The PTA Thrift Shop gave out checks in September to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools that totaled $265,000, a significant increase over the amount it donated to the school system the previous year. Funds are generated based on the nonprofit organization’s net proceeds from its two resale stores in Carrboro and Chapel Hill and its expansive recycling efforts. But its giving potential could be much greater with new facilities; the PTA Thrift Shop announced plans in June to re-build new facilities and additional commercial space at its Carrboro location and launched a $1.7 million community fundraising campaign to support the project.

In 2010, the nonprofit gave the 17 district schools and the Carrboro-based charter school, Pace Academy, a total of $221,000. The $44,000 increase is a welcome surprise in this down economy when schools are challenged to serve bigger enrollments with smaller budgets. However, as those dollars are spread over more schools, it means less money from the PTA Thrift Shop for the individual schools.

“With the current store configuration, though, profits are maxing out and individual school checks have actually decreased as new schools such as Carrboro High and Morris Grove Elementary are added to the mix,” the message on the Rashkis Elementary PTA webpage reported.

“Our school district is growing. Yet our Carrboro store is in disrepair and too small to meet the increased needs,” said Barbara Jessie-Black, PTA Thrift Shop Executive Director. “A new building is our best solution because it is designed to grow with us as well as stimulate the economy, allow more recycling, and generate as much as 20 percent in additional dollars for schools. We are in a unique position because this is the first time we’ve asked the schools for support.”

Schools Give Back
Culbreth Middle School recently donated $5,000 to the PTA Thrift Shop building campaign. “Parents at our school recognize that if we ‘pay it forward’ and lend our support now to the PTA Thrift Shop's building campaign that our investment will pay off later,” said Culbreth PTA president Margy Schmidt.

Carrboro High’s PTA recently voted to give $2,500, and the school’s parents donated $7,500. The combined funds were designated to sponsor and receive naming rights for the Arts & Crafts section of the new store. A parent at the school, Gill Hare, who also co-chairs the capital campaign committee for the PTA Thrift Shop, said, “They’ve supported our schools for sixty years by adding thousands of dollars to our school budgets every year. Why not give back? This expansion is part of their vision, and the leadership has proven they know what they’re doing. It’s our turn to help them, which translates into their capacity to help us even more in the near future.”

Many parents in the district are also demonstrating their support by writing letters to the editor and hosting events to raise funds. “We are grateful and excited for each and every gift and any offers to help because we know how it all adds up,” said Jessie-Black.

Governor Lends Support
North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue recently sent a letter of commendation stating: “As the PTA Thrift Shop approaches its 60th anniversary, with plans to expand its premises and its mission, I am happy to join in celebrating an organization that combines sustainability, job creation, and community service so effectively and successfully. Growth in business is exactly what North Carolina needs in these challenging times. I applaud your creative, entrepreneurial spirit and wish you success as you move forward with your new projects.”

Creative Fundraising
The nonprofit is offering a variety of options to make it easy to support its building campaign. Some of these include a $12x12 gift ($12 a month for 12 months), matching employer donations, and the ability to donate online by credit card or through PayPal. Financial donations for the building effort can be made and more information found at

Since the PTA Thrift Shop was founded in Chapel Hill in the ‘50s, it has grown to be a substantial community supporter by helping families in need. Monies the PTA Thrift Shop contributes to the local schools are used for technology, play equipment, supplies, books, field trips and other projects the schools and their PTA choose to fund.

The PTA Thrift Shop has two resale stores in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC that sell a range of donated goods and treasures from clothing to furniture. Started in 1952, the nonprofit donates its profits—more than $5.3 million over the last 15 years —to local public schools through the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for each school. It also provides in-kind donations to help clothe clients of local social service organizations and partners with the community in supplying gift cards to its stores for families in need. Known as an environmental leader for its recycling and other eco-focused efforts, the PTA Thrift Shop was named the 2010 Progress Energy Sustainable Business of the Year and has received “Green Plus Certification” through the Institute for Sustainable Development.


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Tamara C. Baker
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