A Zealously Efficient Supply Chain: Maximizing Hospital Capacity Puts Too Much Strain on Resources

Take a look around. If you’re an average American household, you have about $7,000 in unused items hanging around your home. 

That was intolerable for industrial engineer Brittany Martin Graunke. She wanted an efficient way to move such items to charities that could use them, she told the August edition of Chicago Parent. Working at the United Way had revealed to her the funding cuts and donation shortages nonprofits have suffered during the Great Recession and the anemic recovery.

So Graunke created Zealous Good to let people and businesses donate directly to local charities. More than $200,000 worth of items have been transferred to Chicago area charities in the past year, and the gig has turned into a full-time job. Donors create a login on the website (www.zealousgood.com), share details about what they have and estimate the value. Zealous Good notifies charities who want the donated item.

After notification, the donor coordinates directly with the nonprofit.

“For families, we’ve found that it’s been helpful for moms to teach their kids about giving back through our site,” Graunke told Chicago Parent. “If a child has a favorite set of toys or some sort of memento that they didn’t need to hold onto, the child was able to see another child in need benefitting from it. So it’s more significant for the child and a fun way to think through things.”

Donors think beyond clothes and furniture to give leftover, unopened baby formula, sports equipment, electronics and other useful items.

In an email to IE magazine, the Northwestern University IE grad said she is proud to draw upon her education and skill set while building Zealous Good.

“We’re trying to apply IE principles to a massive in-kind donation marketplace and seeing great success,” Graunke said.

Reproduced from http://www.iienet2.org/IEMagazine/Details.aspx?id=32662.