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At Dorcas Ministries in Cary, nonprofits are better together

Posted December 31, 2014

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— The last few days of the year are always busy for nonprofits welcoming the rush of people trying to make a final tax-deductible donation.

At Dorcas Ministries thrift store in Cary, old cast-off items are helping with a new concept.

In 2008, Dorcas Ministries rolled the dice and bought the Cary Plaza Shopping Center. They moved into the space in 2011, with the idea of taking on other nonprofit tenants and making the center a one-stop destination for both donors and clients.

Now, 78 percent of the space is leased to nonprofits, and money raised from the sale of items at Dorcas Shop benefits all of them.

“This year, we will have distributed more funds than ever in the 46-year history of Dorcas Ministries,” Executive Director Howard Manning said. “The best partnership we have is having Habitat for Humanity as a tenant. They accept donated items we don't, and vice-versa, so it makes it easy for donors to recycle those items.”

Donors say having several nonprofits under one roof is convenient.

“I intentionally come here because it’s a local charity,” Denise Keeter said.

Carrie Palmer said, “It does make it easier to give.”

Betty Schiess has sorted and priced items as a volunteer with Dorcas for 10 years. She said the move to the shopping center has greatly improved their mission.

“The more charities we get on this side of town, the more we help people,” she said. “They’re helping, we’re helping.”

Spending on the ministry's food pantry, job assistance, homeless prevention and other programs is up 50 percent in just three years. Manning said he hopes to see that double by 2020.

“It has exceeded all expectations,” he said. “It’s been a journey we couldn’t predict.”

 

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