Companies to Classrooms, Duluth was started after Explorations of Montana, Inc., which was owned by Mary Beth Kjolhaug, closed in 2009. Explorations specialized in educational toys and teacher resources. Unsure what to do with the excess inventory, Mary Beth began to explore distribution options to students and teachers in the Duluth area. An article in Oprah Magazine narrowed the search to Companies To Classrooms, Inc, in Bloomington, Minnesota. After several visits to its warehouse and many conversations with Executive Director Cary Weatherby, the decision to create a similar organization in Duluth was formalized. The process of recruiting key people for leadership positions, organizing community support and completing the necessary documents for the incorporation of the nonprofit organization, Companies to Classrooms, Duluth, began in September 2012.
To support teachers and classrooms in our community by providing educational supplies, free of charge, through the operation of a store staffed by volunteers and stocked with excess goods donated by local businesses and individuals.
Companies to Classrooms, Duluth is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization operating a “free store” stocked with excess supplies and inventories donated by local businesses and given to school teachers and school students in our region, at no cost to them or their school.
Free-and-reduced lunch students struggle to acquire needed school supplies. With school budgets becoming tighter and tighter, teachers do what they can to provide materials out of their own pockets. But the need for school supplies is far greater than what the average teacher can provide.
As a solution to this growing problem, businesses, which have traditionally recognized the importance of supporting their local schools, now have a convenient, cost-effective way to recycle excess or outdated supplies and inventories. Rather than paying to have outdated materials hauled to a landfill, businesses can now donate these items, help their local community and realize tax benefits in the process.
Companies to Classrooms, Duluth solicits local companies to donate their excess supplies and inventories. We then inventory these items and place them in our “free store”. School teachers and staff visit the store and obtain supplies for their students and classrooms at no cost to them or the school.
The results: benefits for the companies, the students, the teachers, and the community overall. Local businesses have an easy, tax deductible way to support education. Companies can eliminate excess office supplies and feel good that the materials are being reused by kids who need them. Students are equipped with school supplies at no cost to themselves, their families, or their teachers. And finally, the local community benefits by not having the excess office supplies ending up in local landfills.
Companies to Classrooms, Duluth is a simple concept of giving and reusing that in the end helps everyone involved.