A New Web Thrift Store Benefits Schools and Other Charities

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A couple of Upper West Siders are bringing thrift stores into the 21st century with Web Thrift Store, an online hub where anyone can put up discarded belongings for sale, with 80 percent of the proceeds going to their charity of choice. Lynn Zises and Douglas Krugman, a husband and wife team, launched Web Thrift Store this past year, and now they have 13 participating charities, including several directed toward helping schoolchildren, such as Class Wish-an organization where people donate supplies to classrooms across the nation-and Creative Arts Workshops for Kids, which brings the arts to children in Northern Manhattan. "It's a great way for people to get rid of stuff they don't use," said Zises. "It's a no-brainer for them, a win-win." It's simple, she said. The donor signs up, lists an item and asking price, and then delivers the item to the buyer. The buyer's money goes to the listed charity, and the donor gets a tax deduction. Zises and Krugman came up with the idea of Web Thrift Store a couple of years ago when she and her husband realized that they had too much "extra stuff" and nowhere to donate it. Most charities want cash, not goods, and many of the better thrift stores, she said, have closed, because brick-and-mortar locations are expensive to run. That's how the idea of an online thrift store with no middleman for distributing goods was born. Since they launched it in January 2012, Web Thrift Store has raised over $20,000 for charities. "The charities have been incredibly enthusiastic," Zises said. "Every single day, we get requests to participate from nonprofits." Many of the participating charities deal either directly or indirectly with education: East River Development Alliance, for example, a New York-based charity designed to help residents in need, including children, achieve their goals; and Generation Rescue, which helps autistic children get the treatment and therapies that they need. Robert Tolmach, a representative from Classwish, says that the over $1,000 that has been donated to their charity through Web Thrift Store has really made a difference. "I've never seen anything like them before," said Tolmach. "They're really committed to the idea. They want to go out and use modern business practices to change the world." Web Thrift Store intends on making sure that education is helped in a more direct way as well. Zises says that by the end of the year, smaller charities will be able to participate in a self-sign-up, and people will have the opportunity to donate to individual schools.

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