Down in the heart of the Louisiana Bayou, a self-storage owner is on a mission to make the world a better place. And he’s actually doing it.
Over the past quarter century, Baton Rouge native Lonnie Bickford has owned and operated more than nine storage-related businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, he’s constantly looking for ways to enhance his life, believing there's always room for improvement. In 2016, he came out of retirement to launch StorageAuctions.com, which provides online-auction services to the self-storage industry; but he wanted the business to serve a greater purpose.
As it turns out, there was a mission just waiting to emerge in Lonnie’s life. He met his wife, Jacci, almost a decade ago while they were working in Swaziland, Africa. They had partnered with humanitarian organization Children’s Cup to install water wells, build housing and feed local children. They bonded over their love of helping others, and it became their passionate resolution to make a positive impact.
While working with Businesses Without Borders, Storage Gives Founder Lonnie Bickford
helped install this water well in Iquitos, Peru.
Across the world, many children go hungry, and even more lack access to clean water. Lonnie and Jacci seek to support life-giving causes that provide food, water and healthcare to those in need. They use revenue from their auction business to fuel their charitable initiative, Storage Gives, which works with eight global charities to change lives for the better. Read on to see how your self-storage business can get involved.
How You Can Help
Storage Gives provides an opportunity for self-storage operators to do good work in the world. To participate, you can make cash contributions or donate through your facility auctions.
For every unit you sell on StorageAuctions.com, the company provides five meals to a child in need, at no cost to you. You can also commit funds from your auction proceeds, from 5% to 100%. Finally, you can make a direct donation as a company or an individual, any time and in any amount. Storage Gives appreciates all support, and any help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated! As more people become aware of the organization, its influence will grow in many helpful ways.
You can feel good about getting involved at any level because Storage Gives is 100% not-for-profit. All donations go directly to the following eight organizations, which have been vetted to ensure they’re in good standing with the IRS and their administration overhead is viewed as professional and proper.
- Autism Speaks Inc.
- Free Wheelchair Mission
- Homes for Our Troops
- Mission Feeding
- Susan G. Komen for the Cure
- Shriners Hospitals for Children
- Water for Life
“So far, we’ve donated nearly $2,000 to Autism Speaks through our StorageAuctions.com auction proceeds. We are so thankful that through Storage Gives, Lonnie and Donna [Morgan-Esquibel] have given us the opportunity to give back to an organization that is so near and dear to us,” says Jennifer Barnett, chief operating officer for property-management firm Absolute Storage Management, which has pledged to contribute 5% of its auction proceeds from all 130 of the facilities it manages.
When the Texas Self Storage Association (TSSA) shifted to a virtual platform for its conference last year due to the pandemic, Storage Gives assisted with its annual fundraiser for Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston. “The folks at Storage Gives are such wonderful and caring people, and their platform and system for raising money really kept our charitable-fundraising efforts afloat last year,” says TSSA Executive Director Ginny Sutton.
This year Storage Gives aims to provide 500,000 meals and 1 million liters of clean water to those in need. Every self-storage professional is encouraged to join this worthy cause. Together we can ensure our industry makes a meaningful, positive impact on the world, changing and improving lives with “every unit, every day.” To learn more about how you can help, visit www.storagegives.org.
Stacie Maxwell is vice president of marketing and training for Universal Storage Group (USG), a self-storage consulting and management firm, where she oversees branding, design, marketing, public relations and more for the company’s 70-plus property portfolio. With more than 20 years of industry experience, she also works closely on USG’s facility-development and transition projects, and is responsible for driving the manager-training program and new-store startup teams. Stacie is a regular speaker at industry events and contributes to publications. To reach her, call 770.285.0421 or visit her profile on LinkedIn.