Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Green Demolitions

There is a relatively new company out there making the best of the tragic demolition trend.

(Photo above is a Clive Christian Edwardian English kitchen someone would have demolished, resold for 50-80% off.)

Green Demolitions is a non-profit group supporting addiction recovery programs through recycling luxury kitchens and household fixtures. Donors receive tax benefits and the environment is spared significant waste and lives are changed through the work of All Addicts Anonymous.

Green Demolitions was started 21 years ago by a recovered addict whose life was saved through an addiction recovery program. “I was a teenage drug and alcohol abuser raised in Poughkeepsie, NY and suffered two bouts of serious suicidal depression before I got my recovery.

I was in the radio business for 18 years, winding up as the Senior Marketing Manager for two Clear Channel Providence, RI radio stations (WWRX-FM and B101). My recovery happened in the middle of my radio career - five years later WWRX-FM became America's first independent "Imus in the Morning" syndicated station. My radio sales flourished and I earned enough money in the next four years to give back substantially. I left radio in 1998 to pursue fund-raising for the outreach projects that saved my life. In my first year I had meetings with foundations and philanthropists in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, San Antonio , West Palm Beach, Golden, CO, etc., etc. The results - travel expenses $20,000 - funds raised $7,500. Luckily I read about a guy in Forbes magazine - Mr. Brewster Kopp of Greenwich, CT. The article was a "Creative Giving" feature. Mr. Kopp, a successful and well-respected businessman, formerly the CFO for Digital Corp., First Bank Boston, etc. The article stated that Mr. Kopp was now dedicating 90% of his time to helping non-profits. So I cold-called him, got an appointment, and he liked our programs. In 1999, I was introduced to one of his foundations and started raising funds for the next two years. Unfortunately, the market crashed in 2001 - so the donations were going to be slim. Shortly after the crash, I drove by the former residence of Farah Pahlavi, the Last Empress of Iran, who had lived in a 10,000 square foot Rockefeller Mansion. The "Demolition in Progress" sign in the driveway intrigued me. The gates were open, so I drove up. The house was gone . . . so I had an idea . . . why not start a demolition donation program and earn the money rather than ask for it. The idea turned into a pilot project resulting in an Greenwich Time feature article in the October 2001 real estate section. 36 people responded. Over the next four years - under the radar screen - the program grew through word-of-mouth from high-end architects (Alex Kaali-Nagy), builders (Scott Hobbs) and kitchen designers (Jim Bilotta). In 2005, I decided to start Green Demolitions with a little "seed money". It was just myself and a part-time administrator. In four years we have grown to thirty-seven employees, three stores in three states (CT, NY, PA) and 36,000 square feet of retail and warehouse. During that time significant funding has been earned for the outreach programs of All Addicts Anonymous (AAA) http://www.alladdictsanonymous.org/. Those funds have been the catalyst for AAA groups starting all around the country. In addition, 35% of our employees are recovered addicts or family members of recovered addicts. Media coverage? 100% positive press including: The New York Times, CNN, Planet Green, This Old House, and Consumer Reports.org (to name a few). At Green Demolitions, "green" has three meanings:

Green #1 - Financial gain - everybody saves some "greenbacks" - donors, consumers, and industry pros

Green #2 - Protection for the environment - landfill waste reduction, associated energy costs savings, and forestry preservation

Green #3 - Self-supporting charity "recycling the lives" of addicts of all kinds and their families.
Green Demolitions is the "win-win" nonprofit organization - earning it's own support (96.8% in 2008).
Without you, we would not be here.
Thanks for your support!!!
Keep it Green,
Steve Feldman, President and Founder”

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