Airline Ambassadors, a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid around the world, has always relied on the generosity of others to provide free storage to warehouse and track its many donations. When they learned they would lose precious storage space last summer, they scrambled to find new accommodations.
“We had to start putting the displaced aid in the trunks of our cars, homes, and outside our balconies under tarps, says Patriece Robinson, vice president of development for the Dallas based company. “It was chaotic, especially because it becomes difficult to track where all the aid is when you need it for a particular mission.“
The nonprofit turned to Seattle-based industry leader Shurgard Storage Centers, which offered the group two free 10-by-20 units. Shurgard launched a charity program in January 2002 to help nonprofits like Airline Ambassadors. Storing for Hope provides free storage for up to six months to qualified nonprofits in domestic markets served by Shurgard. As of August, the company had donated more than 300,000 square feet of storage to 240 nonprofit organizations.
“Nonprofits across the country need our help, and Shurgard’s Storing for Hope enables them to devote more of their scarce resources to programs and not overhead, says Charles K. Barbo, Shurgard’s CEO and chairman. “Storing for Hope is the perfect way for Shurgard to help our communities become better places to do business and raise families.“ To qualify, a nonprofit must meet the following criteria:
- Hold 501(c)(3) status
- Have recently audited financial statements
- Have a history of contribution to the community
- Serve a market where Shurgard operates
- Does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or disability
- Practice a mission and values that are consistent with the mission and values of Shurgard
Nonprofits of all sizes can apply to the program. The groups that have benefited include large, nationally recognized organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and Habitat for Humanity, as well as smaller, local programs. “The strong response to Storing for Hope since the program was launched shows nonprofits have a serious need for Shurgard’s assistance, Barbo says.
That is certainly true for Airline Ambassadors, says Founder Nancy Rivard. “It’s absolutely invaluable support to us. We collect aid frequently from humanitarian aid organizations and our volunteers to support our monthly mission to help children in need, she says. “We need a place to put that. We need a central location. Airline Ambassadors has a free storage unit in San Francisco, and Shurgard is donating two more storage units to facilitate their humanitarian efforts.
The items stored through Shurgard’s program range from handmade baby blankets to donated furniture. Nonprofits also store clothes, medicine and even nonperishable foods. Airline Ambassadors recently stored socks and shoes for children in Afghanistan and medicine for children in Ecuador and El Salvador at its San Francisco storage unit. “We have a lot of aid consistently donated, and we needed a place to keep it, Rivard says. “The amazing partnership with Shurgard has enabled us to further our humanitarian work.
Nonprofits can apply for participation in the Storing for Hope program by visiting www.shurgard.com and clicking on “Storing for Hope” at the bottom of the home page. The application can be completed online. For more information, call 800.947.8673. To find out more about Airline Ambassadors, visit www.airlineamb.org.