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News / Clark County News

Vancouver’s The Giving Closet gets a $150,000 lifeline from foundation

Gift from KMR Group Foundation will help nonprofit that provides free clothes, food to low-income families to keep its doors open

By Alexis Weisend, Columbian staff reporter
Published: March 13, 2024, 6:05am
5 Photos
Denise Currie, founder of The Giving Closet, from left, chats with Kate Jones and Lexie Knight of KMR Group Foundation while giving a tour of the nonprofit on Tuesday morning in Vancouver. The Giving Closet secured a $150,000 donation from KMR Group Foundation that will help it continue operating. At top, families stuggling with finances say they rely on the The Giving Closet for shoes and clothes when money is tight.
Denise Currie, founder of The Giving Closet, from left, chats with Kate Jones and Lexie Knight of KMR Group Foundation while giving a tour of the nonprofit on Tuesday morning in Vancouver. The Giving Closet secured a $150,000 donation from KMR Group Foundation that will help it continue operating. At top, families stuggling with finances say they rely on the The Giving Closet for shoes and clothes when money is tight. (Photos by Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Giving Closet, a nonprofit store in Vancouver that offers free donated clothes, food and toys to low-income families, received its largest donation yet after budget issues prompted fears the nonprofit would have to close.

“It will definitely keep our free community store thriving and going. We will be secure for another year, easy,” said Denise Currie, The Giving Closet’s founder.

The KMR Group Foundation, a Vancouver-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting underserved communities locally and internationally, donated $150,000 to The Giving Closet after reading about its financial troubles in The Columbian.

The values of The Giving Closet, including treating people going through tough times with dignity, aligned with its own, Kate Jones, executive director of KMR Group Foundation, said in an email.

Get Help

To make an appointment to shop at The Giving Closet, go to givingcloset.org/shopping, email Jen@givingcloset.org or call 360-993-4800.

You Can Help

“After reading the article, we knew we wanted to help, so we arranged a visit. Seeing their operations up close and hearing their story firsthand was truly eye-opening. After careful consideration, we felt compelled to extend a helping hand,” Jones said.

Last year, The Giving Closet lost major funding, totaling about $230,000. A donor decided to invest in a new ministry; an online fundraiser raised a fraction of money it normally did; a 10-year commitment from a business sunsetted; and the store was declined a grant, according to Currie.

In all, the store lost about 92 percent of its budget, prompting talks of closing this year. But community members stepped up, signing up for monthly donations and spreading the word about the possible closure.

Currie said the $150,000 grant is, by a longshot, the largest donation The Giving Closet has received.

The Giving Closet serves more than 100 people a day, providing necessities in a time of rising rents and inflation.

Many of the families who shop there told The Columbian the store is their only means of providing shoes and clothes for their children.

Currie said the people who shop at her free store are relieved.

“We’ve been telling them, and they are so elated,” Currie said. “When they found out that we had some help coming, they were so excited because a lot of them were saying they didn’t know what they were going to do.”

Currie said the funding will give her staff time to plan more fundraisers that will keep the store operational.

“It gives us some breathing room instead of the panic mode,” she said.

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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