Hi Forklift Fans!
We want to share our excitement about a promising new community partnership. In late February, we received a huge donation from the Liaison Hotel, located in downtown D.C. just blocks from the Capitol. The morning after our 26-foot box truck returned fully loaded from it’s first-ever pick up from the hotel, one of our team spoke to General Manager Jeff Brainard about the hotel’s history, the management company’s community-oriented mission, and their experience donating to the ‘Lift.
The Liaison is managed by Two Roads Hospitality, a company that strives to be a real partner to the community in which each of its 95 international properties is located. Brainard, who has been with Two Roads for 18 years, and who once served on a committee to create a sustainability guide for the organization, said that one of their core values is that “when you’re operating a business in a community, you need to be a community partner.” For the Liaison Hotel, that means partnering with DC Central Kitchen and other DC-based charities that directly impact the lives of those working and living in the area, like the hotel’s own staff and associates. “By giving back to that community, and helping organizations like [Community Forklift], you’re helping neighborhoods that are going to touch your associate team.” The practice of giving back to the community is embedded in their M.O. because “through their contributions, you’re able to operate.”
This philosophy is what led the Liaison to donate thousands of dollars worth of upscale furniture, custom decor, lighting, and room accents, high-quality tile, and large lots of various high-value, surplus building materials to Community Forklift. Brainard said that although “it’s always easier to just discard”, the real challenge was in identifying the right organization that makes donating cost-effective. We couldn’t be happier that for the Liaison, the perfect fit was Forklift!
The New Jersey Avenue property has been operating as a hotel since 1970 under various ownership (at one point it was a Holiday Inn). Over time, the hotel accrued huge amounts of furniture and building materials that it can’t use, but which Brainard feels “should be able to be used by people in the community” instead of sitting in a storeroom, or in a landfill.
The logistical hassle of donating rather than dumping was worthwhile to Brainard and his colleague Ben German (Director of Rooms), because they feel, as we do, that you shouldn’t unnecessarily discard what can be repurposed. “If you’re using less natural resources, donating and not discarding, it makes economic, environmental, and community sense. We’re always trying to balance that three-legged stool: owners, guests, and associates – and environment and community are in each of those legs.”
It’s remarkable that Two Roads Hospitality, a company with properties located from New York and Malaysia to Mexico and D.C., not only manages to form meaningful relationships at the local level, but actually makes it a priority. Their willingness to take the extra time and resources to coordinate a donation pick up is the kind of thing that makes our work possible. The feedback we got from Jeff was a great bonus: he reported that his experience donating to us was so positive it made the extra effort worthwhile.
We are nothing without our donors – their participation, no matter the incentive, is what allows Community Forklift to operate as a hub of accessible green living. The sales of donated materials fund our free educational workshops, our community giving programs, and support our dedicated staff – the folks who keep our doors open every day for the materials that, instead of going to the nearest landfill or incinerator, find new life at Community Forklift.