Loan Closet Project Seeking a 501c3 Partner (N. Virginia)

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For additional information, contact:

John R. Hudson, Program Manager

703-324-5874 Phone

A group of approximately 20 professionals has been meeting for approximately 1 year in order to establish an Equipment Recycling Closet that will serve Northern Virginia. It is hoped that this Closet will model itself after a pilot project that is located in Roanoke Virginia. This project, FREE, was funded by the Virginia NueroTrauma Initiative, has been duplicated at two other sites, Richmond and Hampton Roads. There is currently a statewide initiative to establish additional Closets in other regions.

It is hoped that this Closet will model itself after a pilot project that is located in Roanoke Virginia. This project,

The way the model works is that individuals donate equipment to the closet. The equipment is then picked up, refurbished, cleaned and sanitized by local agencies engaging in work training, specifically Goodwill Industries in the three areas, and then transported to the Closet. Once the piece of equipment has been placed in inventory, volunteer physical/occupational therapists examine the equipment and ensure its suitability for transfer to an individual in need. The therapists also make what repairs they can, others are made by local durable medical equipment vendors who donate their time. The piece of equipment is then ready to be given away. The individual requesting the piece of equipment completes a request form and secures the required prescription from a physician, documenting that need for the piece of equipment. Once this information has been reviewed and approved the individual comes to be Closet and is fitted to the piece of equipment by the volunteer therapists. The piece of equipment is then the individuals to keep.
FREE has developed a comprehensive manual on the operation of a Closet and provides all the information necessary for the daily operation of the endeavor. In addition, the Helen Keller Institute of George Mason University has developed software to support the operations of the Center here as well a statewide. The software allows recycling centers to: manage internal inventory; notify other centers of equipment that they may have available for transfer; and consumers to post equipment that they may want to either give away or sell to other consumers directly.
The FREE Closet is currently staffed by one full-time fundraiser and administrator and one administrative assistant, part-time I believe. Since their funding from the grant expired they have been able to raise a sufficient amount of funds to continue operations. This type of project has a lot of public upheaval when it comes to fundraising.
Currently, the state is making available $5,000 seed money to this region to begin to develop a formalized business plan. Below you will find a project description, quite aggressive and ambitious, but I have prepared but not submitted to the state. The hope is that we will be able to duplicate the Roanoke-based project here in Northern Virginia and begin to address the needs of consumers with disabilities for durable medical equipment and assistive technology. The greatest need is for a 501(c)3 that is willing to take this project under their umbrella and with the support of the interested professionals make a concerted effort to bring it to fruition.

Disabilities Equipment Recycling Closet

DFS is applying for a $5,000 grant from the state to be used for a project that focuses on durable equipment recycling.

The plan is to establish an equipment recycling closet (warehouse) that will serve the Northern Virginia area (Alexandria, Arlington, cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and Fairfax County). The closet will house and distribute free of charge used but refurbished and sanitized durable medical and assistive technology equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc. This equipment will be made available to individuals who cannot afford to purchase new equipment.

The initial grant monies will be used to facilitate the planning process which will ultimately result in an implementation plan for the equipment closet. The plan is to contract with a 501 C-3, a graduate school intern or otherwise qualified individual to perform the scope of the work and document the results.

The scope of work includes:

1. Identifying existing closets in the Northern Virginia area.

2. Identifying resources (such as the use of volunteers to man the warehouse, physical and occupational therapists).

3. Identifying storage opportunities. It may require as much as 2,000- 2,500 Sq Ft.

4. Developing:

- a fact sheet describing the need, service delivery model and the projected costs of operation

- a list of potential/interested 501 C-3 partners

- a list of civic organizations interested in sponsoring this project

- a request for funds to be submitted to civic organizations

- a list of potential funding opportunities from the foundation registry

5. Summarize all of the above in report fashion for the Disabilities Services Program Manager.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

John R. Hudson, Program Manager
Disability Services Planning and Development
12011 Government Center Parkway Suite 708
Fairfax, VA 22035
703-324-5874 Phone
703-449-8689 FAX
703-449-1186 TTY
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