Our Programs

As part of our mission to lift up communities, Community Forklift partners with hundreds of nonprofits, community groups, schools, and social service agencies to offer public education, outreach activities, and community giving programs to area residents. Here are just a few of the ways we lift up our community:



Home Essentials Program

Community Forklift provides home repair supplies and other household essentials free-of-cost to families and individuals with low incomes. Since 2011, Community Forklift has provided over $150,000 of materials to our local neighbors in need to improve their homes!

If you or someone you know needs repair supplies, household fixtures, or other building materials that will provide a safer, better living environment, please follow the below steps:

1. First, click this link to read the attached letter for more information about our program. The letter details how folks can qualify, the types of verification we need, and what to expect.


2. Then, FILL OUT OUR APPLICATION by clicking here. This is the only way to apply for our program. Make sure to fill out all the required fields and click Submit at the bottom. The form will show you a message to confirm you successfully sent it to us.


*Please note: It may take us a few weeks to review your application. We only have one community services coordinator and hundreds of applications, but we are working as quickly as we can and look forward to meeting you!


3. Come in for your scheduled appointment time with our coordinator. Once you are contacted by our new staff member, we’ll give you an overview of how the program works and you’ll be scheduled for an appointment. During this time, we’ll go over all of our policies and procedures.  Then, we’ll either award you specific materials, or get you set up with a grant to come back to the warehouse at your convenience.

4. Arrange transportation for your materials and take them home, free of cost!

Please note that we have waiting lists for all appliance requests at this time. Unfortunately, we are not receiving enough donations to keep up with demand, but we are working through the lists as quickly as we can. Thank you for your patience.


Community Building Blocks Program

Community Forklift provides mini-grants of store credit to nonprofits, schools, and volunteer groups who need building materials for projects that serve the greater community. Since 2011, Community Forklift has worked with 400+ organizations and has awarded over $250,000 in store credit for organizations to pick up free materials from our warehouse. We have also loaned out over $18,000 in materials for art installations, theater productions, and other community events.

Please click the  link below to apply. It may take a few weeks for us to review your application, but a member of our team will call or email to discuss further and set up an appointment time, if approved. We look forward to working with you!

*Please note that intake for our 2017 CBB program has ended. You can apply now for 2018 grants, and we’ll begin reviewing applications after the new year. Happy holidays!

2018 Community Building Blocks Application


Reuse Incubator for a Sustainable Environment (RISE)

RISE creates small business partnerships to attract, mentor and support small green and reuse businesses. Currently, there are five businesses participating in the program and operating out of the Community Forklift facility; these include Treincarnation, Decorative DeZign Interiors, Salvage Arts and Alco Appliance. (One business, Tanglewood Works, grew so big that they moved over to a larger space in Hyattsville!)

We also regularly meet and advise other small businesses who are interested in locating green businesses nearby. We work with the Port Towns Community Development Corporation on economic development, including the EcoDistrict Project for which Community Forklift serves as an anchor organization.


Educational Tours and Programming

Community Forklift is an internationally-known reuse center that offers a green business model promoting sustainable development. In fact, we have been voted DC’s “Best Green Business” by the Washington City Paper every year since 2013! Our team has hosted everyone from preschoolers and scout groups to grad students and Department of State visitors to teach groups of all ages about topics such as social entrepreneurship, waste reduction, and the reuse movement.

If you would like to schedule your own tour or would like for us to visit your school or organization, please contact Events(at)CommunityForklift.org or call Rachel at 301-985-5180.

line at gate compressed


Special Events

Community Forklift hosts family-friendly parties & festivals throughout the year.  Here’s what we’re planning for 2017 –

  • April 1st & 2nd: 8th Annual Garden Party & Sale (One of the biggest events of the year!  We’ll have lawn & garden supplies for sale, gardening advice, free workshops, food and music.  There is also a costume contest for people & pets, so wear your best garden party attire!)
  • May through September: Forklift First Fridays (We stay open late on the first Friday of each month, and put on a party with live music, food trucks, local artists, and a pop-up bar)
  • Fall: The FunkYard Festival (Highlighting both fun(ky)/artistic and practical reuse, with an underlying theme of local history, celebrating both the preservation of our history and the funky side of DC. We’ll have local artists who work with green materials, local preservation groups, workshops on DIY repair & creative reuse, and live funk music.)
  • November 24th & 25th: Green Friday & Small Business Saturday (This is our alternative to the consumerism of Black Friday. We’ll have a craft corner for all ages and workshops on upcycling and making gifts. We’ll also have photos with Santa, food trucks, and live music)

Please sign up for our blog and newsletter to receive all of our updates and details!

If you are interested in partnering with us and attending our events as an exhibitor or food vendor, or playing a gig, please complete this form!


three ladies with seeds compressed for web

Thanks to Sarah & Samantha Photography for capturing the fun at our 2013 Garden Party



Free Workshops

In addition to our community festivals, we also offer DIY reuse & renovation workshops throughout the year.  These are free of charge.  Whether it’s how to build a cold-frame for starting seeds, or a slideshow of a local renovation, we explore different ways to reuse and go green at home. We’re always scheduling new workshops, so check our calendar page to see what’s coming next.

Do you have experience in reuse, upcycling crafts, old home repair, green living, or historic preservation?  If so, please share your workshop idea here – and spread the word to your handy & creative friends, too! 

Keep in mind:  we do offer gift certificates to workshop presenters as a token of appreciation. We also announce the workshops in our newsletter and social media, which reaches over 20,000 people.  So if you’re a contractor or artisan, it’s a great way to serve your community, get some publicity, and meet potential clients.


Participation in Festivals and Events

Are you having a community festival or event? Our outreach team would love to be there to support your efforts and educate your community about reuse!

Please contact us at Events(at)CommunityForklift(dot)org  about exhibiting or speaking at your upcoming event.
2012 - 5 Riverdale Arts Festival booth


Volunteer Program

Come get your hands dirty for a good cause! Volunteer at the Forklift for a few hours, a full day, or even on a regular basis. Opportunities for individuals and groups include organizing and cleaning donations, helping to design or rearrange sections of our store, assisting with community events, and more. We can even arrange special projects or more skilled tasks if you’re handy and have a good set of work boots!


PLEASE NOTE: All new volunteer applications are being placed on hold and we are unable to accept group applications for Fall 2017. We are in the middle of a staff transition and do not currently have a community services manager to process intake or supervise groups of volunteers. We are sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

If you have some flexibility around when you volunteer and don’t mind waiting a few weeks, please fill out the below volunteer interest form. You will be contacted later this fall regarding scheduling and we look forward to working with you soon!

Volunteer Form



Internship Program


Internship video


Community Forklift offers internships every spring, summer, and fall. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about green business and gain valuable work experience in the rapidly growing industry of reuse and sustainability!

Find more information about our internship program here.