Charity Storage, a non-profit organization that raises money for charities through self-storage auctions, raised more than $5,000 in five days in early February. The funds came from four auctions held at US Storage Centers facilities in Southern California, with the film crew and stars from the A&E TV show "Storage Wars" present at one of the auctions.
The fundraising structure works like this: Participating storage operators dedicate a storage unit from inventory as a collection point for donated goods. Departing and current tenants, auction buyers, and local residents and businesses can donate items to the Charity Storage unit and receive a tax-deductible receipt. When the storage facility holds a public auction, the Charity Storage unit is sold in addition to delinquent units, and the money generated from the Charity Storage unit is allocated to local and national charities.
“This is a blueprint for how we hope the entire self-storage community across America will react to Charity Storage,” said co-founder Lance Watkins, who also oversees StorageTreasures.com, a website for self-storage auction hunters. “It was well-planned and well-executed, and there were so many winners: US Storage Centers, charities and the industry in general. It’s a great way for self-storage owner-operators to give back to their local communities. This is just the start to what we hope will be a highly successful year.”
Barry Hoeven is the founder and owner of Westport Properties, the parent company of the US Storage Centers, and co-founder of Charity Storage. He also founded the Kure It cancer-research organization and helped organize the February auctions. He acknowledged the star power of “Storage Wars” contributed greatly to the success at one auction.
“The presence of ‘Storage Wars’ celebrities and their film crew contributed to higher-than-usual bidding, as did the contents of one antique-filled unit,” Hoeven said. “But this was certainly a great illustration of the impact Charity Storage can have as we implement it nationally.”
Funds raised by Charity Storage auctions are distributed between the national Self Storage Association’s Scholarship Fund, Kure It charities chosen by the self-storage facilities from a list of eligible non-profit organizations.
Founded by veteran self-storage professionals, Charity Storage is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS.