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Herman Miller’s Gift of Furniture Helps Send Children to Camp

Camp Ekon, located in Muskoka, enables children from lower income families to attend camp through a special bursary program. Last summer, construction commenced to replace several aging buildings on Camp Ekon’s property, including a welcome center and an administrative office for staff. But while directors had raised money to construct the much needed new buildings, they remained with the dilemma of how to furnish them.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Toronto, Herman Miller—innovative leader in the furniture industry—was making space in their showroom for new furniture to to be displayed. These items from last season’s display had to go; despite being in next-to-new condition, they could not be sold in store. The items in question? A reception suite, desks, tables, filing cabinets, and a variety of chairs, all fresh out of HMI’s contemporary showroom.

So what were the solutions to these two individual dilemmas? The answer seems simple. In fact, for many organizations with surplus assets, the decision to donate their lightly used furniture is a simple one, however the process of finding recipients, arranging logistics, and actually carrying out the donation is more difficult. That’s why Herman Miller developed their rePurpose Program, and began a lasting partnership with Green Standards to coordinate these donations, creating solutions with multiple benefits.

Green Standards matched and coordinated the donation with Camp Ekon; it arrived just in time for camp season too. New campers were greeted by staff in the newly furnished welcome center, staff who could now focus their funding on improving the experience for campers and furthering the bursary program instead of spending it on furniture. Meg Doherty, the director of Camp Ekon wrote to Herman Miller, “Your amazing donation will allow us to furnish the buildings we have been working so hard to fundraise and budget for. Monies that would have otherwise gone towards securing the necessary equipment to make these areas functional can now be directed back to our camper bursary fund, the programming budget, and an array of supply and equipment upgrades.”

Every year, millions of tons of office furniture are disposed of in landfills all over North America, despite how much they would be valued by organizations in our communities. It takes organizations like Herman Miller to continue the transition towards a way of thinking which instead considers the value of the community and the environment.

“We could not continue to provide the same quality and accessibility that Ekon has developed a reputation for without the tremendous support of people like you,” Wrote Meg. “Thank you so much for your wonderful in-kind contribution to Camp Ekon.”

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