How to follow Community Forum discussions

How to follow Community Forum discussions


We’ve had a few questions from members about how to follow discussions online, without having to login in regularly. The following post will walk you through how to do that. As internet SPAM laws require consent to receive email notices, we will need you to opt-in to each forum topic to get notifications.

Step 1: Login to the FB Community


  1. Go to and select LOGIN
  2. Enter your Username and Password you created.
  3. If you haven’t registered complete this process.


Select the FB Community Forum from Members Menu



  1. There is one main forum called “The Furniture Bank Round Table”
  2. You can see the full members list (and details each member has added to their profile here)
  3. You can see all recent posts (from all sub forums too)
  4. You can update your profile here.
  5. We have 10 sub forums (Introductions to FB hacks) this is how we will group discussions
  6. When you have a new topic to add… click ADD TOPIC
  7. The recent posts are going to be listed here.


To get email notices of new discussions …


  1. Go into EACH FORUM you want to follow (ex. Introductions)


Go to your email …


  1. The email you get from Furniture Link will include a Forum Email – CONFIRM the subscription request.


These simple steps will let you follow discussions as they occur.

If you ever want to add them again, repeat these steps.

If you decide you don’t want as many notifications, go to YOUR PROFILE and edit your subscriptions setting.


Good luck. If you have difficulties, please reach out to me directly and I can help further.

How to follow Community Forum discussions 1

Regional Community Meeting – April 2019!

Regional Community Meeting – April 2019!

Regional Community Meeting – April 2019! 2

A Mid-West Gathering

Returning home to Toronto last Friday from my trip to Bowling Green, Ohio, I was excited to have had the opportunity to share and learn with a group of sister furniture banks. We gathered for what I suspect will be the first of an annual regional meeting of furniture banks in and around the midwest area. Inspired and organized by Rob Boyle of Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Big thanks also to Don Slobodien from Benbrook Associates, who sponsored the event.

Over 10,000 Families per year supported!

As we did our morning introductions, I was amazed that this small gathering of staff and volunteers represented organizations which, in our combined communities, support over 10,000 families annually:

We also had two advisors to the sector join us:

What Did We Discuss?

Huge thanks to everyone for taking the time to come together to share their experiences. Some of the themes discussed included:

  1. What is replacing FBANA?
  2. Fundraising: What’s working and what’s not?
  3. The joys of operating trucking & moving ‘companies’
  4. Client & donor scheduling: Are you in the 21st century?
  5. IT Systems
  6. Let’s talk Social Enterprise: Successes & Opportunities

With regards to the topic of “Where is FBANA?”, I want to take a moment to share the answer I provided. The idea of a coordinating association isn’t a new one. The furniture bank sector has had different versions operating for many years, each coordinated through different structures and different people. Since the last event hosted in 2014, we’ve been without a coordinating group. While a few Executive Directors from various furniture banks have tried to move the idea forward in 2016, we just couldn’t sustain the scope of the project. We each operate our own furniture banks, with limited time and even more limited resources. The old vision of FBANA was to formally set up a separate entity with its own budgets, staff, and board of directors. When we discussed this same theme in January at the West Coast Community gathering – we all agreed that we want to foster a community that works to gather, share and support the development of the furniture bank sector. For each of us, that looks different based on where we are in our life cycle.

  • Some are thinking about a new furniture bank – like Amy from Milwaukee.
  • Others are small volunteer-run organizations – like Tammy and Seth Myers of Compassion Furniture Bank
  • Others still are adding and innovating new social enterprises – like John and Kevin of Furniture Bank of Central Ohio

In the case of my organization (Furniture Bank of Toronto), we got Board approval to move forward with allocating a portion of staff time and limited travel, to foster this ‘communicate & cooperate’ network. Regional Community Meeting – April 2019! 3 Both groups in January and April highlighted that, at this stage, COMMUNICATING and COOPERATING, are of most importance to most of us.
Using a framework called the Collaboration Continuum, with the support of Furniture Link Inc. and other funders this online community is going to focus on these two areas of collaboration. We’ve started in the last 90 days a small online forum here at Furniture Link. If you have not already joined the Community, please click HERE to join. It’s free and it is intended to be a permanent place for ALL furniture banks – big, small, new and old – to discuss, collect and share information on how to best to run a furniture bank in our own community.

Will there be coordination and collaboration by all North America’s furniture banks? I think the answer – the honest answer – is “maybe”. We need to work together in small ways and show value to one another before more complex coordination among us might be possible.

Thanks again to Rob, Tom, Tammy, Seth, Art, Kevin, Dana, Jill, John, Amy. Don, Matt, Amy, and Tammy P for coming together last week.

I encourage you to join or start the discussion in the online forum on the above themes.
We can all share and learn from each other’s experiences and expertise.
Regional Community Meeting – April 2019! 4

How Toronto’s fastest growing ‘valet storage’ startup Second Closet is helping Furniture Bank increase social impact.

How Toronto’s fastest growing ‘valet storage’ startup Second Closet is helping Furniture Bank increase social impact.

Re-posted from LINKEDIN

How Toronto’s fastest growing ‘valet storage’ startup Second Closet is helping Furniture Bank increase social impact. 5

At Furniture Bank as we look for creative, efficient and effective ways to scale our environmental and social impact. We are working with Furniture Link Inc. to demonstrate how partnerships between business and charities can create sustainable models for maximum social and environmental impact. Over the life of our organization we have diverted more than 20,000 cubic meters of goods from landfill, which created savings for the city exceeding $8,000,000 and turned housing in to homes for over 100,000 men, women and children in our community.

Furniture Bank is a registered charity that provides furniture to our city’s most vulnerable members. as community shelters and social agencies are lucky enough to secure housing for their families. When you have an empty apartment and no financial support, you can spend years living off the floor, using milk crates for chairs, clothing piles for mattresses, and garbage bags for storage.

At the same time we see unwanted furniture all around us. While statistics in Toronto are limited, the trends from other countries are informative. In the U.S. the EPA reports that furniture accounted for 9.8 million tons (4.1 percent) and of all household waste and was the number one least-recycled item in a household. In the UK reports suggest Britons throw away more than 300,000 tonnes of reusable furniture every year.

Our primary goal?

To secure more furniture donations for families experiencing furniture poverty here in Toronto and divert usable furniture from landfill.

On March 11th Furniture Link Inc. helped us launch a pilot program with Second Closet to test the use of outsource resources to expand our collection of usable goods without additional investment or cost to Furniture Bank.

In these first 43 days, the pilot has diverted 736 items of home furnishings from landfill into the homes of over 50 families emerging from crisis and displacement. Stacked one atop another, these items measure a full CN Tower’s height of furniture! Based on volume, the pilot saved landfill space that has a value of over $100,000 and created homes for 50 more families from our community agencies and shelters. These same 80 donors got the added bonus of significant charitable receipts for their donations.

More Furniture + More Transportation + More Resources =

More Impact

This is a complex problem. There is more than enough quality furniture, and unfortunately growing need from community agencies and their families. The challenge for Furniture Bank is accessing the furniture, transporting it, and resourcing this redistribution network.

Our vision is to partner with our existing and new stakeholders to divert good quality but unwanted furniture from landfill to households that desperately need it.

Our pilot with Second Closet, and Furniture Link is our most recent program to engage in adding a social component to the Circular Economy, with a sustainable model to deliver our maximum environmental and social impact. We are piloting “more access” and “better transport” without requiring more resources from the Charity.

Our first Second Closet delivery from Furniture Bank donors!

Seeking More Partners for Social Impact and Waste Diversion!

As part of a network of similar charities across Canada and the US, we are working with Furniture Link to forge sustainable commercial relationships to divert more household goods from landfill to homes that need them. We are seeking relationships with removal and moving companies, retailers, manufacturers, government agencies and stakeholders In the Zero Waste movement.

Much more to share on Second Closet, Furniture Link partnerships, expanding our impact in the Toronto area and illustrating the environmental and cost savings to municipalities of a thriving furniture bank in your community.

Where do coffee tables go?

Where do coffee tables go?

Furniture Bank Toronto has found a great way to visualize how to express the impact of in-kind donations to corporate and community partners. As long as you are capturing the items you are collecting and the Zip/postal code of the donor and beneficiary family receiving an item it is not hard today to ‘map’ where the donations come from and go to.

Today’s Example

Later this afternoon we are having a “Build-A-Thon” at a large telco in downtown Toronto. A team of 110 office executives will have 1 hour to build 55 coffee tables and bookcases. They will be collected and brought to the Toronto Furniture Bank and then passed on to families. They should all be in new homes by Friday!  You’ve probably noticed donors have a very hard time visualizing the size of the problem, and we find maps help.

 If you are interested in ‘how’ – let me know and I can write a member post on the steps to do it. Email me and maybe we can collaborate on a joint version. If we all provided data in a consistent format we can map anywhere. 


So here are 2 maps visualizing ‘2018 Coffee Table & Bookshelf’ community impact:

Where donations came from (with our pickup service)

Where do coffee tables go? 6

Where these same donations we sent too Where do coffee tables go? 7

If food waste can do it?

If food waste can do it?

Amazing to see business move into address waste.
Furniture Link is focused on waste in home furnishings and linking them to the thousands of organizations and their beneficiary families who cannot afford these goods as they recover from a crisis.

“Waste, at its heart, is an expense”

We completely agree with the sentiment, and it applies to furniture and household goods as well!

Read the full article here 

Big Money Joins Fight Against $1 Trillion in Wasted Food

Companies have raised more than $125 million in capital to improve the industry’s efficiency, but it’s proving hard to convince consumers not to throw away perfectly good food.
February 23, 2019, 8:00 AM EST
If food waste can do it? 8If food waste can do it? 9
Illustration: Cathryn Virginia
There’s gold in keeping bananas yellow.
Companies fighting food waste in the U.S. attracted about $125 million in venture capital and private equity funding in the first 10 months of 2018, according to a report from ReFED, a coalition of nonprofits, businesses and government agencies. This amount is expected to rise.
Luring funding are products like smart tags that change color when milk goes bad, a mist to prolong the shelf life of fruit and software to help grocery stores order just the right amount of produce so they throw less away.
The solutions have skeptics, but the problem is generally acknowledged as an economic and ethical calamity. Every year, 1.4 billion tons of food—a third of global production—ends up in landfills. By some estimates, this adds up to nearly $1 trillion of annual squander and the production of about 8 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gases. At the same time, nearly 800 million people go hungry every day.

Business Opportunity

“Investors are seeing that food waste is a big business opportunity,” said Michelle Masek, head of marketing at Apeel Sciences Inc., which formed a partnership this month with a major European supplier of avocados that will use a water-based solution the company says extends the ripeness as many as four days.

63 Million Tons

That’s how much food the U.S. wastes per year, with consumer kitchens the worst offenders
Source: A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent, ReFED, 2016
The challenge is that individuals—not restaurants, supermarkets or farms—are among the main offenders. In the U.S., about 43 percent of all the waste happens at the end of the supply chain, in home kitchens, according to a 2016 ReFED report. A study from the Natural Resources Defense Council found 68 percent of what’s trashed is still edible.
People are aware of their shortcomings, according to a 2016 survey. They feel guilty, but not guilty enough to make a difference.
But not everyone is sold on the idea that the answer lies in more stuff.

Grocery Stores

“I worry about this food-tech, food-waste boom becoming a food-waste bust,” said Elizabeth Balkan, director of the NRDC’s food-waste program. If consumers want to throw away less food, what they have to do is plan better and store smarter, she said. It does “require lifestyle adjustments, but it shouldn’t be things that require a lot of costs and newfangled devices.”
The hope for serious change, and the greatest opportunity for investment, rests with grocery stores, where narrow margins and tough competition from Walmart Inc., Inc.’s Whole Foods Market and European transplants Aldi and Lidl provide bottom-line incentive. Not only is revenue lost from tomatoes gone mushy and expired cheddar, there’s the added expense of getting rid of it.
“When they started to realize the cost of food waste, we started to see a change,” said Anne Greven, global co-head of food and agriculture innovation at the Dutch lender Rabobank.

Imperfect Produce

Startups have stepped in. FoodMaven, which sells discounted surplus food and what it describes as “imperfect produce” to restaurants and commercial kitchens, announced $10 million of investment in January, from members of the Walton and Pritzker families, on top of $8.6 million from a first round of funding. Afresh Technologies, which taps machine learning to help retailers buy just enough to keep inventories in balance, followed a $1.7 million seed round in January 2018 with an undisclosed, but larger, funding round that closed in December.
Other companies include Bluapple, maker of a gas-absorbing device for refrigerators that claims to add a few more days to berries and greens, and Ovie, which says its Smarterware combines Tupperware and sensors to let you know how much time that leftover fruit salad or beef stir-fry has left. Companies like Copia and Goodr are making food donations easier.
Older companies, too, see the benefit of new products to address the problem. Newell Brand Inc.’s Rubbermaid advertises the containers in its Fresh Works line as capable of prolonging the life of items like strawberries and leafy greens.
Walmart “looks at food waste in a more holistic way,” said Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. For example, the biggest U.S. retailer cut strawberry delivery time from farm to store by 50 percent, adding two to three days to the berries’ usable lives.
Through its Customer Value Program, Walmart reduces the price on items that will expire soon to increase the likelihood they’ll be purchased and created a standardized date label to lower the chances anything goes bad at home. Walmart donates to local food banks what doesn’t get sold.
“Waste, at its heart, is an expense,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart’s senior vice president for global sustainability.
Author: Dan Kershaw