Cascade Alliance

Cascade Alliance Blog

Perspectives on the Stockton Universal Basic Income Study (4/1/21)

We’re interested in a new study that illustrates the power of universal basic income to ensure all community members can survive and flourish! Check out our latest blog to learn more about evidence from a universal basic income study that programs like it are associated with improvements in overall quality of life for community members experiencing poverty.

Happy National Reading Month! (3/23/21)

In celebration of National Reading Month, Cascade Alliance wants to highlight our members operating secondhand book social enterprises. Our partner organizations are finding ways to make the consumption of literature both sustainable, and accessible to all. Check out our latest blog for reading recommendations from our members!

Groundbreaking Nomination for Interior Secretary: Debra Haaland

The Cascade Alliance and the organizations that we represent are dedicated to protecting our environment while supporting organizations that provide pathways to employment & economic stability. That’s why we are excited about the nomination of State Representative Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior. Representative Haaland has demonstrated commitment to furthering American conservation & social equity: read on to learn more!

Federal Program Creating Millions of Green Jobs (2/10/21)

Cascade Alliance is all about green jobs to improve our local community’s environmental health and economic vitality. That’s why we’re excited to hear about a new federal workforce development program that combines environmental sustainability and economic development goals: The Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) is making an epic comeback in 2021! Click here to learn more!

Cascade Alliance Pivots During Global Health Crisis: 2020 In Review (1/29/21)

Our partner organizations certainly faced unique challenges in the face of 2020’s global health crisis, but pivoted to meet increased need by performing incredible acts of service for their communities. From experimenting with curbside pickup, online sales, to partnerships with other nonprofits to keep staff employed during the crisis, our members demonstrated how nimbly they are able to innovate and thrive despite obstacles. Read on to learn more!

How to respond to the Coronavirus? Tips for Nonprofits (3/5/20)

As nonprofits running social enterprises and human service programs that necessitate frequent contact with the public, the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) could have significant impacts on our businesses and the services we provide in the community. How can we prepare to reduce impact on revenue while best protecting our employees, volunteers, and those we serve? Read on for a few tips!

Cascade Alliance Members: Combating the National Homelessness Crisis (2/14/20)

Rising homelessness rates is a national issue that is visibly intensifying. Several of our members are actively working to address homelessness by serving unhoused families and youth in their communities. Read on to hear about a few ways our network is working to combat the national homelessness crisis!

Retail Thrift Book Departments: How to Create a Profitable Display (2/6/20)

In the retail world, displays play an important role in making your store visually appealing and marketing your product. This holds true of books in retail thrift—maintaining robust book displays draws customers into your book section, highlights more valuable items, and ultimately drives sales. Interested in adding or improving a book display? Read on for some tips!

New Member Weekend: Introducing Atlanta Furniture Bank, Clever Octopus & Indigo Hippo (1/24/20)

Our Cascade Alliance community of nonprofits gleaning value from the waste stream has grown! This weekend, we want to celebrate three wonderful nonprofits who have recently joined our network: Atlanta Furniture Bank, Clever Octopus, and Indigo Hippo. Read on to learn more about our new members!

Cascade Alliance 2020 Visions 1/14/20

Our individual visions for the future may involve different goals and challenges, but The Cascade Alliance’s collective commitment to grow and learn as a group carries into a new year. Two of our wonderful mattress recycling Cascade Alliance members, GBCE and The Mustard Seed of Central Florida, shared their visions for 2020! Read on to learn more!

Cascade Alliance Celebrates the New Year (1/2/20)

Now that 2019 has come to a close, we are taking stock of another year of challenges and growth across our incredible network of nonprofits dedicated to making their corners of the world a better place. Read on to learn about our accomplishments this past year!

How to Incorporate Sustainability into Daily Life (12/20/19)

As we feel the effects of climate change more and more, it can be difficult to know how to take action. However there are accessible, everyday actions individuals can take to make an impact now. Read on for a few ways to incorporate sustainability into daily life!

Terry McDonald to Speak at the National Zero Waste Conference (12/17/19)

We are excited to announce St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director, Terry McDonald, will be presenting at the National Zero Waste Conference in March 2020. The conference allows us the opportunity to share and learn alongside others in the recycling industry, as we strive together to achieve zero waste. Click here for more information about the event!

Natural Disaster Crisis: An International Perspective  (12/13/19)

In a final installment in our weather-related crisis blog, we will examine the relationship between natural disasters and power from an international perspective: marginalized communities worldwide contribute the least, but suffer the most, from climate change.  Read on to learn more!

Secondhand Holiday Shopping is on the Rise

The results of a recent survey suggest the mainstreaming of buying secondhand is carrying over into the holiday season. With so many great items to be found in the secondhand sector, go green this black Friday! Read on to learn more about survey results, and for tips to increase your sales this season.

Long-Term Effects of Natural Disasters: Dayton, OH and Oakridge, OR Crisis Recovery (11/22/19)

We are exploring the long-term implications of natural disasters in our communities in this week’s blog. Click here to learn about a Dayton Business Journal report that recovery from tornadoes that wreaked havoc through the Miami Valley could take up to a decade, and a snowstorm that cut off power and essential resources last year in Oakridge, OR.

The Register Guard Highlights St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County’s Business Model (11/19/19)

A recent article about St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County’s (SVdP) business enterprises perfectly encapsulates why we are so passionate about sharing the SVdP model with other nonprofits. Last year alone, SVdP’s waste-based enterprises diverted 44.1 million pounds from landfills. Read on to learn more!

Nonprofit Natural Disaster Response: California Wildfires (11/15/19)

As nonprofits that view our missions through the lens of economic or environmental justice, addressing roots of increased vulnerability to natural disaster among the populations we serve, as well as developing resources for disaster recovery, are increasingly a priority. The impact of recent California wildfires follow national trends indicating low-income people are disproportionately likely to become homeless post-disaster. Click here to learn more!

New Inroads in Sustainable Transportation: Electric Powered-Airplanes (11/13/19)

The effects of environmentally-conscious consumers are extending into every industry, including air travel. Due to pressure to reduce environmental impact, and foresight that regulatory mechanisms may be fast approaching, some airlines and plane manufactures are exploring technological innovations to reduce their carbon footprint. Read on to learn more!

Emergency Preparedness: The Egan Warming Center (11/8/19)

Dropping temperatures that accompany winter weather mean emergency shelter can be a matter of life and death for the unhoused. With homelessness rates rising we in the nonprofit sector are increasingly vital to efforts to provide emergency response in weather-related crises. Increasing homelessness and climate changes converge to exacerbate an already grave situation. How can we strengthen our resiliency to meet the need in our communities for shelter? Read on to learn about SVdP’s emergency shelter programs!

The Power of Collaboration: Staff Highlight, Chris Pletcher (11/4/19)

Our ongoing emergency response project in Dayton, Ohio is progressing well. With several Cascade Alliance members making return visits to the site, we were able to accomplish multi-leveled project goals on a faster timeline. This week, we want to highlight contributions of Chris Pletcher, the Special Projects Manager at Finger Lake Reuse. Chris spent two weeks in Dayton, and was able to apply his expertise to reworking production and materials flow in the warehouse, and the setup of a new point of sale system. Read on to learn more!

The Power of Collaboration (10/25/2019)

The value of collaboration between nonprofits rests in expanded capacity to respond to community need, maximized waste-diversion, and honing best-practices to generate agency revenue. We are enthusiastic about a project between St. Vincent de Paul of Dayton, Ohio (SVdP Dayton), Cascade Alliance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that embodies the potential of nonprofit partnerships around the nation. Read on to learn about how we responded to a community crisis through nonprofit networks!

Finger Lakes ReUse Voted the Best Thrift Store in Ithaca, New York

Our members at Finger Lakes Reuse in Ithaca, NY, were recently voted as the best thrift store in their area!  Congratulations! FLR operates two locations: Triphammer Marketplace and one store in Ithaca. Click here to learn more about their work!

Changes in Fast Fashion

The popular fashion chain filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday.  Shopping trends amongst teens and young adults has shifted in the past year, with an increase turning away from brick and mortar stores, and opting for online sites or second hand thrift stores. Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing:  Youth Take Action with Climate Strike

For the last week, youth and young people have been taking action with Fridays for Future and kicking it off with the Global Climate StrikeRead on to take action!

A Guide to Used Car Sales for Nonprofits

Are you looking to add additional ways to increase income for your agency?  Starting a used car lot could be a great opportunity!  Read on to learn more about ways your agency can generate increased income!

One Good Thing (9/20/2019)

This past week we had visitors from Monarch Thrift, a social enterprise of Emmaus Ministries in Chicago, IL.  Read on to learn more about their work!

How Can I Help Reduce Plastic Waste? 

Plastic waste is a universal problem.  Read on to learn how some of our favorite groups/organizations are tackling this issue.

 One Good Thing (9/13/2019)

Our friends at UTEC were selected by the state of Massachusetts to establish a Center for Excellence.  This will be a premier training facility in the state to address gun violence through public health and the racial equity lens.  Read on to learn more about the work that will take place!

Why the Bed-In-A-Box Trend Isn’t as Comfortable as You’d Think

The bed-in-a-box trend might seem like a convenient, budget friendly option, but did you know traditional mattresses are more budget and environmentally friendly?  Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing (9/6/2019)

In 2015, the United Nations came out with a plan for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals to meet by 2030.  We’re excited to see that we’re already on track as an organization to meet some of these goals!  Read on to learn about our progress towards those goals.

France to End Disposal of $900M in Unsold Goods Each Year

Believe it or not, landfills around the world are being filled with unused goods that could otherwise be recycled.  An article from June 2019 in the New York Times revealed that France has intentions to ban the destruction of unsold consumer products.  This practice currently results in the disposal of new product that’s worth over $900 Million USD in the country each year.   Read on to learn more and for the full NYT’s article.

One Good Thing (8/30/2019)

You might know about our members at TAP in Roanoke, VA for their online book program.  But did you know they offer childcare to working parents in Southwestern Virginia who are on a career path to secure a job?   Read on to learn more!

Ways to Curb Climate Change

CNN recently published an interactive article regarding climate change and ways we can reduce our CO2 emissions.  While the quiz and suggested answers might seem straight forward, there’s still a lot to learn!   Click here to read more and take the quiz.

One Good Thing (8/23/2019)

Last week SVdP Executive Director, Terry McDonald and Cascade Alliance Director, Bethany Cartledge, attended the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit in Washington D.C. It was inspiring to participate in passionate conversations about environmental responsibility with speakers from such a wide variety of industries.  Click here to read more!

Bethany’s D.C. Update

There was good takeaway from the sessions, a diverse attendee mix, and best of all, we observed and appreciated the change in language in how waste was discussed.

Safety in the Workplace: Tips from Cascade Alliance

Creating a safe workplace environment should be a priority in all businesses and organizations.  Click here to learn about workplace safety, ways St. Vinnie’s implements safety precautions, and forklift safety.

One Good Thing (8/9/2019)

Next week, SVdP Executive Director Terry McDonald will be speaking at the 5th Annual Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Washington D.C.  Read on to learn more!

More Than Words Bookstore Featured by the Social Enterprise Alliance

We were happy to see our friends at More Than Words were recently highlighted by the Social Enterprise Alliance for their Member Spotlight. Last month they also received eBay Small Business of the Year award!  Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing (8/2/2019)

Our Fearless Leader, Susan Palmer, was recently highlighted by on our main agency’s page.  We’re highlighting Susan because this is her last day with the Cascade Alliance before she retires.  We are sad to see her go but excited to see where life takes her!  Click here to read more.

The Key to Having a Flourishing Book Section in Your Thrift Store

Interested in learning what makes for a flourishing book section in your thrift store?  Read on for some tips and an example from one of our St. Vinnie’s stores.

One Good Thing (7/26/2019)

Our Cascade Alliance members at UTEC, in Lowell, MA, are celebrating 20 years as an organization in their community!  Read on to learn more.

Extended Producer Responsibility Proposal for Packaging Hits National Stage

Last week, two US legislators released an outline of legislations that addresses single-use plastics and packaging.  The legislation would hold consumers and producers responsible for the waste that they produce.  Read on to learn more.

One Good Thing (7/19/2019)

Terry McDonald will represent St. Vinnie’s and the Cascade Alliance in Washington, DC, next month.  We’re excited he’ll be presenting at the 5th Annual Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation on August 15th Read on to learn more.

How to Make a Viral Video

Searching for new ways of promoting your business, program, or event?  In today’s technology driven, social media infused world, tech is a great way to boost those mentioned above.  Read on to learn more about the components of making a viral video and to see our first attempt!

One Good Thing (7/12/2019)

Where in the world is the Cascade Alliance this week?  Susan and Bethany are currently with our members – St. Vincent de Paul of Dayton, OH.  Our team has spent the last few days collaborating and working alongside some of their staff.  Read on to learn more about their time there!

All About eBay

Interested in adding on to your brick and mortar store by selling online?  Or maybe you’re interested in starting out first with an online store?  Read on to learn all about selling on eBay!

One Good Thing (7/5/2019)

Last week, the Cascade Alliance had the opportunity to visit Center Pole in Garryowen, MT.  We are looking forward to building this new collaboration!  Read on to learn more about the trip.

Wednesday Wisdom: REDF Accelerator Program

Interested in social enterprise?  The REDF Accelerator program is now taking applications until July 29th.  This is a great program that several of our Cascade Alliance members have been a part of and have found to be beneficial.   Read on to learn more.

One Good Thing (6/28/2019)

The 2019 annual message from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation takes a closer look at an area of profound concern to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County: the link between housing and well-being.  Read on to learn more!

The Benefits of a Product Sharing Network

Operating a business isn’t easy, that’s why a product sharing network could be beneficial, and it’s one of the many ways Cascade Alliance is useful to nonprofits.  Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing (6/21/2019) 

Cascade Alliance has welcomed on a new team member!  Read on to learn more about Laura Bennett, who has joined us.

How To: Selling Vintage Books

Looking to generate more income for your organization?  Maybe you receive a large amount of book donations each week?  Consider adding a vintage section to your book department!  Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing (6/14/2019)

Join us in welcoming The Scrap Exchange’s new executive director, Laura Nicholson!

Fostering Motivation in the Workplace

Looking to build and reinforce motivation in your workplace?  That can be challenging for employees engaged in repetitive tasks  When the work itself isn’t stimulating, we rely on other motivational tools, both financial and social.  Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing (6/7/2019)

You may have seen in recent news of businesses and brands eliminating plastic straws from their products.  This cool story was shared by our friends at Clever Octopus!  The Strawpocalypse is made from 168,000 plastic drinking straws that were collected from streets in Vietnam and donated by individuals with help from Starbucks Vietnam and Zero Waste Saigon.  Read on to learn more about the project.

A Quick Guide to Identifying Higher End Brands

Looking to up your game in the resale industry?  Click here to check out our guide to identifying higher-end brands that can be sold online as another stream of revenue.

One Good Thing (5/31/2019)

Our members at Global Neighborhood have been hard at work with their transition to a new space for their thrift store.  They started moving in March and had a successful grand opening later in April!  Their work they do with the immigrant community in Spokane was recently featured in their local newspaper.  Read on to learn more!

When the Little Details Matter

You might not think that eight staples tucked among 30,000 pounds of mattress foam would matter. But they do. It’s like needles in a haystack in our mattress recycling facilities where our staff deconstruct 400 mattresses every day. Read on to learn why the little details matter!

One Good Thing (5/24/2019)

Do you ever wonder what happens to your items after you donate them?  A new paper was recently published in the Journal of Marketing from Researchers at Penn State University and Boston College.  The study found that people are more likely to recycle when they know what becomes of their waste.  This is great news to hear!  Read on to learn more.

The Importance of the First 15 ft of a Store

What are some of the first things you notice when you walk into a store?  Lighting?  Displays?  Customer service?  If you’re struggling with ideas on how to transform the entrance of your store, just think about the elements of a store that you like to see when you first enter.  Read on to learn of some tips to creating a welcoming and successful store entrance.

One Good Thing (5/17/2019)

Mostly on this blog we talk about our social enterprises, the things that we and our Cascade Alliance members do to earn the money that allows us to serve our mission. But today, we’re mission focused. One of our homeless programs was recognized on a national TV news show!  Click here to watch the video and learn more about how our Dusk to Dawn program was highlighted on  Tucker Carlson’s multi-day “Homeless in America” piece.

Technique Tuesday: Memorable video? How about viral! (5/14/2019)

Learn the four rules to creating your own viral video!

One Good Thing (5/10/2019)

The State of Washington recently passed a new law regarding paint recycling.  They’ve joined 8 other states and the District of Columbia that have a formalized system for recycling paint.  Read on to learn more!

Technique Tuesday:  Effective Advertising with Social Media

Social media is one of the most popular ways to advertise.  Looking to up your social media game?  Read on to learn some ways St. Vinnie’s effectively uses social media to bring customers in and some ways that our Cascade Alliance members and friends have found work well.

One Good Thing (5/3/2019)

Recently, Cascade Alliance headed down to Florida for the Sustainatopia Conference (you can read more about that in our previous blog post) and a visit with our member The Mustard Seed of Central Florida.  We had an excellent visit with our friends at Mustard Seed!  Read on to learn more about the trip.

Technique Tuesday: Mattress Recycling

Do you ever think about what happens to your mattress when you buy a new one?  The delivery truck drops off a brand new plush mattress and hauls off your old one, never to be seen again.  How would you react if you knew around 20 million mattresses end up in landfills each year?   Read on to learn more about mattress recycling and where you can drop off your used mattress!

One Good Thing (4/26/2019)

Do you know what’s more exciting that new recycling regulations?  It’s Bethany and Terry who will be speaking at Sustainatopia next week in Miami, FL!  Read on to learn more about the conference and be sure to follow along on our social media for live updates from the conference.

Technique Tuesday: Marie Kondo and Jason Momoa? Keeping Up With Pop Culture

You might be wondering who the two names are in this blog title.  Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and Jason Momoa is an actor, and both have relevance to the work our Cascade Alliance members partake in, believe it or not.  As businesses and organizations, how do we incorporate popular culture into our everyday social media marketing?  Read on to learn how!

One Good Thing (4/19/2019)

Last week we hosted our 4th Cascade Alliance Convening here in Eugene, OR.  Members from 13 different states attended, with two of our groups not present.  This was a great few days of learning and collaboration with one another.  Read on to learn more!

Technique Tuesday: Tips for Starting a New Project in Your Store

So, you’ve started a new business and now you’re looking to take on a new project to bring in more revenue.  Curious how to effectively do that?  Worried that adding a product line might be too big of a project?  Read on to learn how to effectively expand your store with a book section!

Technique Tuesday: Creating a Healthy Workplace Culture

How do we cultivate a positive and healthy workplace culture?  A workplace culture plays a large role in the overall health of the organization and of its employees.  This will be one of our sessions at our upcoming Cascade Alliance Convening but you can read an overview of it here.

One Good Thing (4/5/2019)

The Cascade Alliance Convening is quickly approaching and soon over 30 representatives from 14 nonprofits from across the US will gather in Eugene, OR, next week.  Participants can expect two full days of learning, collaboration, and opportunities to strengthen networking relationships.  We are excited to have two sponsors for our conference – you can read more about them by clicking here.

Technique Tuesday: Collaboration Among Members

Back in November, Cascade Alliance had the opportunity to hear Chris Pletcher, the Deputy Director from Finger Lakes Reuse, share how he tracks data to determine how many staff hours are needed to raise revenue.  Chris will be presenting at our upcoming Cascade Alliance Convening this April.  Read on to hear about collaboration among members!

One Good Thing (3/29/2019)

In a few short weeks, Cascade Alliance members will be traveling to Eugene for a convening.  Our upcoming conference (April 11-12) features business-centric panel discussion with REDF staffer.  Read on to learn more about them and how they’ve helped some of our members!

Technique Tuesday: Measuring What Matters

Climate researchers estimate that we have up to 10 years left to aggressively tackle climate change before it becomes irreversible. Interested in learning about your greenhouse gas footprint? Read on to learn more about measuring your GHG footprint!

One Good Thing ( 3/22/2019)

We were not surprised to learn that one of our members, Union Rescue Mission in Wichita, has named its new administration center after outgoing Executive Director Denny Bender. This week they had a ribbon cutting ceremony.  Read on to learn more about what the organization does for those in need.

Technique Tuesday: Organizing Those Piles

Stuff comes in. Stuff goes out. That’s the essence of managing materials, whether it’s thrift stores, mattress recycling, or online books. But when we fail to manage the flow, things back up, piles get created and pretty soon the stuff that makes money is hidden behind the stuff that doesn’t.  Read on to learn how to combat these issues!

One Good Thing (3/15/2018)

While the advancement of technology sometimes drives us to the point of aggravation, the power of FaceTime has been an effective collaboration tool for Cascade Alliance members.  Read on to learn more!

Technique Tuesday: Expanding Your Community Circle

A few weeks ago, we brought up the idea of creating community rather than competition with other businesses in one’s city. What if we continued to expand the community circle and welcome more groups into that circle?   Read on to find out how!

One Good Thing (3/8/2019)

After a series of flights being delayed due to bad weather and being sick, the Cascade Alliance team finally made it out to Dayton, OH to meet for a week of collaboration with one of our new members, St. Vincent de Paul of Dayton, OH!  Read on to learn more about how we spent our time there.

Technique Tuesday:  Keeping Up With Vintage Trends

“Everything old is new again.”   Vintage fashion has been making a comeback for the last few years and is still increasing in popularity.  Thrift stores are also a hub for vintage goods – so how do we successfully combine and promote the two towards young adults?  Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing (3/1/2019)
After a week of snow and website mishaps, we are back with One Good Thing!  Terry McDonald, executive director of the largest social services agency in Lane County, is speaking next week at two events at two of the nation’s most prestigious universities.  Read on to learn more!

Technique Tuesday: Collaborating with Organizations in Your City

What if our world was more focused on community and collaboration, rather than competition with one another?  A local donut shop in Portland, OR is doing just that – and so is St. Vincent de Paul and Cascade Alliance Members.  Read on to learn more!

Technique Tuesday: How to Overcome Dips in Sales

Low numbers in sales can be daunting to overcome and stressful to think about.  We’ve created a list of ideas to help you overcome that issue.  Read on to learn more!

One Good Thing (2/15/2019)

One of our members, Union Rescue Mission in Wichita, KS, was recently featured in an article that focuses on how they’re helping to tackle the use of methamphetamines in their community.  Read on to learn more!

Technique Tuesday:  Looking under the sofa cushions for a little extra cash! (2/12/2019)

Interested in learning techniques on how to find grants or funding opportunities related to recycling/mattress recycling?  Look no further!  Check out our latest blog post that focuses on our Cascade Alliance members who’ve received funding and how your organization can do the same.  Click here.

One Good Thing (2/8/2019)

Cascade Alliance recently got to attend the Reverse Logistics conference in Las Vegas this month.  To learn more about our experience and some of the highlights, click here.

Technique Tuesday:  Online Media Sales (2/5/2019)

Interested in selling online media?  Or maybe you’re already selling media but are looking for new practices to implement in your operations?  Read on to learn more about Cascade Alliance’s best practices for selling media online!

One Good Thing (2/1/2019)

Fleeing the cold and snow of Ithaca, NY, our members, Finger Lakes ReUse paid a visit to Eugene during a rare sunny week.  To read more about how they spent their week learning about our operations, click here.

Technique Tuesday: Identifying Trends (1/29/2019)

How does one identify trends?  Or to be more specific, popular trends that drive sales?  Check out our latest post for tips to identifying trends through the use of social media by clicking here.

One Good Thing (1/25/2019)

We are excited to welcome a new member, Global Neighborhood, to our Cascade Alliance network!  Global Neighborhood is a community organization based in Spokane, WA.  Read on to learn about the great work they do with the local refugee community.

Technique Tuesday: Ways Organizations Can Increase Millennial Engagement (1/22/2019)

The average attention span of a millennial is 8 seconds.  Below are suggestions on ways to engage with Millennials (born between 1981-1996) and Gen Z (born after 1996) and build your follower/audience base.  Read on…

One Good Thing (1/18/2019)

Our Cascade Alliance Member, UTEC, recently received a $75,000 grant from the New England Patriots new Social Justice Fund.  To learn more about their experience, read on…

Technique Tuesday: The Konmari Method and How to Take Advantage of the Impact (1/15/2019)

Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s immensely popular book has now become a Netflix series based on helping people declutter their lives, and according to an article in the New Yorker, seems to have driven many people into a frenzy to clean their closets and dispose of anything that doesn’t bring them joy.  Retail thrift store operators are definitely feeling the joy at this development, read on to learn more…

One Good Thing (1/11/2019)

The work of the Cascade Alliance was recently featured in a case study done by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  An excerpt pulled from the study mentions: “The endless supply of waste in this country, Gootman said, offers “a huge business opportunity that could bring some of the change that everyone sees is needed,” and she noted “the tremendous potential there for a national network to help deal with waste.”  You can read the recap here along with the full case study.

Technique Tuesday: Tips for Opening a New Store (1/8/2019)

This week for Technique Tuesday, we will be focusing on tips and tricks to opening a new store while keeping a level head.  Sometimes it seems like a stressful goal to pull off but using a timeline and spreading tasks out can be super helpful.  Read on…

One Good Thing (01/4/2019)

This week for One Good Thing, we would like to highlight some of the accomplishments of our members from last year.  We had another wonderful year of growth with our partners in 2018!  Read on to learn more…

One Good Thing (12/28/2018)

This week for One Good Thing, we want to highlight the success of The Mustard Seed in Central Florida.  They’ve had lots of exciting moments happen in December!  Read on to learn more…

One Good Thing (12/21/2018)

This week for One Good Thing we would like to highlight the recent success for our partners at TAP in Roanoke, VA!  This past week they were able to launch their online book site on Amazon and made their first sale!  Read on…

Technique Tuesday: How to Handle Employees Under the Influence (12/18/2018)

This week for Technique Tuesday, we will be covering the topic of how to handle suspected employees under the influence. While this is a heavier subject matter, we hope this technique can provide guidance for dealing with these issues.  Read on…

One Good Thing (12/14/2018)

This week for One Good Thing, we want to highlight our members at Opportunity House.  Bethany & Madeline, from Cascade Alliance, were thrilled to be able to work with our pals at the Opp Shop last week.  To learn more about their trip, read on…

Technique Tuesday: DIY Inspiration (12/11/2018)

This week for Technique Tuesday, we’re sharing some documents for reusing materials that you can share with your customers!  These tutorials were put together by Mitra Demirza, the designer of ENVIA fashions.  These DIY instructions can be great to leave next to the materials for shoppers to see. Read on…

One Good Thing (12/7/2018)

This week’s One Good Thing is featuring the Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC.  Our director, Susan Palmer is currently visiting them along with Chris Pletcher, the Deputy Director from Finger Lakes Reuse.  We’re highlighting this collaboration because it’s great to see our other members teaching one another through the network Cascade Alliance created. Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Productivity Management (12/4/2018)

This week for Technique Tuesday, we will focus on ways to keep your organization running smoothly by productive task management.  Last week, St. Vincent de Paul director, Terry McDonald, visited one of our mattress deconstruction operations in Stockton, CA.  Read on…

One Good Thing (11/30/2018)

This week for One Good thing, we are celebrating that we have two visiting member this week!  We were excited to welcome Shannon and Madeline from Opportunity House, to Oregon.  Both came here for training together and Madeline and the Cascade Alliance staff will be going to the Opp Shop next week.  This will be a two part series.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Social Media Strategies (11/27/2018)

This week for Technique Tuesday, we’re focusing on how to promote your organization through various ways on social media.  These examples are from our group and member organizations.  The techniques presented work well for us but of course, these techniques can be tailored to what fits best for your group!  Read on…

One Good Thing (11/22/2018)

This week we would like to highlight the many ways we are thankful – for the many positives this year has brought and for all the successes our members have had.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Strategies to Combat Shoplifting During the Holidays (11/20/2018)

With the holiday shopping season kicking off this week, we’ve chosen to re-share some key tips to preventing shoplifting in stores. Theft is a continuous problem. The best deterrent to shoplifting is giving the best customer service possible.  Read on…

One Good Thing (11/16/2018)

This week for One Good Thing we’re highlighting TAP into Hope!  We wanted to share the example of how teamwork is a key factor in an organization’s success – specifically with this story surrounding rare books.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Keys to a Successful Thrift Store (11/13/2018)

This week’s Technique Tuesday will focus on tips to run a successful thrift store.  Since Thanksgiving is coming up, we’re using that holiday as an analogy for these key tips to success.  Read on…

One Good Thing (11/9/2018)

Sometimes we see so much negativity in the news and on social media that we forget about all the positive things that happen – that’s why we started One Good Thing a few months ago to focus on successes of our members.  This week for One Good Thing, we will be focusing on some of the recent successes UTEC, in Lowell, MA, has experienced.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Creating Successful Store Displays (11/6/2018)

This week for Technique Tuesday, we will be focusing on the steps it takes to create a successful store display.  These tips are especially relatable with the holiday season starting.

One Good Thing (11/2/2018)

This week for One Good Thing, we are focusing on a recent visit from John, the online book program manager at TAP into Hope in Roanoke, VA.  Over the last few days this week, John has been shadowing some key staff to learn best practices running online books ahead of their program going live. Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Creative ways to display items (10/30/2018)

This week we’re focusing on ways to sell products in your stores if you happen to be lacking the usual equipment for hanging or displaying items.  Read on…

One Good Thing (10/26/2018) 

This week we are focusing on the past conferences our Economic Development Director, Susan Palmer, recently spoke at.  These conferences focused on reuse of materials that would otherwise be headed towards the landfill, and ways of recycling waste.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Selling Seasonal Items (10/23/2018)

With the changing season and holidays coming up, this week’s Technique Tuesday will focus on the best way to sell seasonal items in thrift stores.  To learn more about what seasonal items to hold on to for the next year and displaying holiday specific items, read on!

One Good Thing (10/19/2018)

This week for One Good Thing we will be focusing on two good things happening for two of our members…because the only thing better than one good thing is two!  Our members Big Reuse in Brooklyn, NY and Finger Lakes Reuse in Ithaca, NY, are both in the process of resetting and redesigning their spaces.  Read on to learn more…

Technique Tuesday: Tracking Data Using Excel: Part 3 (10/16/2018)

We are back with the final installment of Tracking Data Using Excel, from Rebecca Currie, Finance Director at The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC. Today we will be focusing on how to use different average functions.  Read on to learn more…

One Good Thing (10/12/2018)

Welcome back to the 4th installment of One Good Thing!  This week we will be highlighting some of the recent successes such as a renovated store front and a collaboration with a University in NYC at the Urban League of Essex County in Newark, NJ.  Read on to learn more…

Technique Tuesday: Tracking Data Using Excel: Part 2 (10/9/2018)

We are back with Part 2 of Tracking Data Using Excel, by guest writer Rebecca Currie, Finance Director at The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC.  Read on to learn more…

One Good Thing (10/5/2018)

This week for One Good Thing, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight our organization’s recent success in becoming semi-finalists in the Communities Thrive Challenge, a grant opportunity presented by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.  To find out more, read on…

Technique Tuesday: Tracking Data Using Excel: Part 1 (10/2/2018)

For the next few weeks, Technique Tuesday will be written by a guest who is none other than Rebecca Currie, Finance Director at The Scrap Exchange in Durham, North Carolina. She has written a three part series on tracking data by using excel.  This informational/tutorial will be useful for those who don’t use a point of sale system but would like some sort of way to track their businesses data.  Check out part 1 of the series…

One Good Thing (9/28/2018)

Welcome to the second installment in our One Good Thing series!  In a week of stressful news, we are excited to share some more successes from our members.  This week we are featuring the success of increased revenue, donations and and expanded clothing area happening at Finger Lakes ReUse in Ithaca, NY.  Read on..

One Good Thing (9/21/2018)

Sometimes we get so focused on challenges in our work that we don’t notice positive progress. Over the next year we will have a series of blog posts called One Good Thing for highlighting our member’s successes on a regular basis!  This Week’s One Good Thing comes from Denny Bender from Union Rescue Mission: Wichita.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday: Annual Stores Goal (9/18/2018)

Goal planning for a business can become complex pretty quickly, however, we’ve identified four basic principles that can help you and your business stay on track and successful during the planning stages of goal execution!  Read on…

Five Headline Friday (8/31/2018)

This week we bring you stories about prisoners re-entry into community, new recycling equipment, ThredUp’s response to Burberry’s burning, a book heist and more!

Technique Tuesday: Read this article by The Balance for tips selling used books on eBay (8/28/2018)

Friday Five (8/24/2018)

This week we talk collaboration, independent bookstores, plastics, and social enterprise! Read on…

Five Headline Friday! (8/17/2018)

Happy National Thrift Shop Day! Our first story kicks off with some thrift, followed by the impact Dollar General, Mattress Recycling and Amazon are having nationwide. Read on…

Technique Tuesday: How to Distinguish Counterfeit Money (8/14/2018)

Though the presence of counterfeit money is relatively rare, it is an important issue to be aware of when running any business where money changes hands. According to a recent study conducted by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, counterfeit bills make up .01% of the bills in circulation in the United States. This number is small, but its important to remember there is always a chance that counterfeit money may pass through your store. Do you know how to distinguish counterfeit bills? What should you do if you suspect someone is trying to pay with one? How would you respond if you realize you have ended up with a counterfeit bill?

This document is intended to answer these questions.

This week’s Friday Five touches on the new internet sales tax, e-bikes, and culture suck! Read on…  (8/10/2018)

Another round of the Friday Five! (7/20/2018)

Read on to learn about the upcoming conference we’ll be presenting at, an ambitious 45 mile fiber optic building, and more!

Five Headline Friday (7/6/2018)

This week we cover:

Technique Tuesday: Bumping Summer Retail Sales (7/3/2018)

When the dog days of summer hit, it can drive retail revenue down. We responded with a four-day tent sale in the store parking lot that was stocked with some of our best furniture and housewares. There are multiple benefits, read on….

Five Headline Friday (6/29/2018)

We are back with some fresh headlines for you on this Five Headline Friday.

Five Headline Friday (6/21/2018)

Summer is here, and so is Five Headline Friday!  Some of what’s happened this week that we hope will be informative and useful to our partners:

Read on…

Five Headline Friday (6/15/2018)

Five Headline Friday is back, after a brief technology-induced hiatus.  This week we’re looking at:

Read on…

Five Headline Friday (6/1/2018)

Welcome to this week’s Five Headline Friday, and Happy June!  Some stories that got our attention this week:  Zero Waste Scotland is working to help the city of Edinburgh to become more circular, the recycling crisis – the struggle really is real as we dump recyclables into landfills, a how-to framework from the Harvard Business Review for cross-sector collaboration for social good,  textile waste and what to do about it, and the trend toward regional philanthropy.  Read on…

Five Headline Friday (5/25/18)

Happy Friday and Memorial Day Weekend.  Here are your Five Headlines for the week, we hope you find them informative, inspiring and useful.

This week we’ve come across: a new Social Enterprise directory, designed to raise awareness and connections between entities involved in social enterprise; hoteliers and mattress recycling; Ikea is going full circular (economy, that is); innovations in helping incarcerated people succeed, and more investing in affordable housing by health-focused entities such as Kaiser Permanente.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday:  Motivating Staff Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of our Technique Tuesdays blog on motivating employees. We’ll share what we’ve learned about using compensation and other monetary incentives to encourage high performance….

Five Headline Friday (5/18/18)

Happy Friday!  We’re back to share some headline news with you.  This week we’re looking at…questioning of fashion resale’s actual connection to sustainability,  systemic problems with recycling and what to do about it, a new tool to help health and human service organizations identify heath and well-being issues in their cities, and advice for non-profits as they approach the summer season.  Read on…

Technique Tuesday

Every so often (Tuesdays, let’s say) we offer some tools and techniques we’ve found  helpful for organizations to advance their missions more efficiently and effectively.  This week we turn our attention to motivating employees.  Read on..

Five Headline Friday (May 11, 2018)

It’s Friday, and we have our weekly round-up of news and views.  We are looking at nonprofits’ using Amazon wish lists to fund specific needs, the role of design in affordable housing, a look at the sharing economy, and manufacturers turning toward a circular economy model.  Read on…

Work the Problem:  Strategies to Combat Shoplifting

Theft is an ongoing problem in retail stores.  This article offers some strategies we have found effective to reduce losses.  The best deterrent to shoplifting is giving the best customer service possible.  We talk about prevention, and how to respond when shoplifting is suspected.  The focus is on how to relate to customers in a way that lets them know your store pays attention and keeps everyone safe in the event shoplifting is discovered.  Read on…

Five Headline Friday (May 4, 2018)

With you May the Fourth and the Five Headlines (plus one) be!

Read on…

Five Headline Friday (April 27, 2018)

It’s Friday and we are here once again and to serve up some of the news of note from this week:

Read on…

Five Headline Friday (April 20. 2018)

Come and get your Five Headline Friday to see what’s been going on this Earth Week!

Read on…

Five Headline Friday (April 13, 2018)

It’s Friday and time for some headlines we hope you’ll find useful and inspiring.  This week we’re featuring articles on:

Read on…

Five Headline Friday (April 6, 2018)

Welcome to our weekly offering of headlines we hope you’ll find useful and inspiring.  This week we’re featuring articles on:

Read on…

Five Headline Friday (March 30, 2018)

We’re back to Friday with some news and views on…

Five Headline Friday (March 23, 2018)

It’s Friday and time for some headlines!  This week we’re featuring two stories about response to the China plastic recyclable ban, an ICYMI- Starbucks is responding to pressure and spending big to make greener coffee cups (but why not just bring your own re-useable one, we say!), a story of online resale going to bricks and mortar, and a program linking business students with non-profits to mutual benefit.  So here they are…

Global Recycling Day is March 18

Ever heard of the seventh resource?  We hadn’t either until we stumbled on Global Recycling Day, March 18, 2018, being launched by the International Bureau of Recycling.  Read on…

Five Headline Friday (March 16, 2018)

Welcome to Friday!  Have you recovered from the transition to Daylight Saving Time?  This week’s headlines feature two stories about certain caffeinated beverages, coincidentally.  We also have stories about a real mischief-maker in waste diversion:  child car seats, the value to rural women entrepreneurs of market-based social enterprise, and online thrift is gaining momentum with the help of technology to increase profit margins. Read on…

Five Headline Friday (March 9, 2018)

Welcome to Friday!  Here’s our weekly offering of five of the latest topical articles, news stories, and reports. This week’s top stories include:  Ebay’s role in the circular economy and ways they are innovating to enhance user engagement, the Association of Fundraising Professionals is observing Women’s History Month with its Women’s Impact Initiative, and an article highlighting the successes of mattress recycling in California.  Is there a place for retail thrift in the “pop-up” economy? The Roanoke Times explores this emerging business model.  Finally, Resource Recycling describes the value of measurement and analytic software tools being used  to measure impacts in recycling programs in state, local, and industry sectors. Read on…

Potential Impacts of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Waste and Recycling

Waste Dive took a look last week at how a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum might impact the waste and recycling industries. Authors Kim Slowey and Code Boteler write that prices for domestic steel and aluminum are likely to increase, so domestic recyclers could get higher prices for their products.

That’s a short-term potential impact, says Terry McDonald, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, which sells about 5,000 tons of various kinds of scrap metal into secondary markets each year.  Read on for more about predicted effects on waste and recycling…

Five Headline Friday (March 2, 2018)

Here’s our latest “Five Headline Friday.”  This week we are reading about the Super Bowl doing super waste diversion, Millennials donating their parents’ stuff to thrift stores, networking to advance local social enterprise, a check-in with how the EPA is approaching sustainable materials management in the Trump era, and a presentation by Greg Vestri, a profit-non-profit “bridger”, on how non-profits can use a profit-oriented framework to reduce dependence on donations to fund growth.  Read on…

Changing Workplace Culture Not Easy But Doable

“In the past year, the “Me Too” discussion has made all of us aware of the importance of creating a workplace culture where people feel valued and safe, but there are many other ways that workplace culture can go sideways – gossiping among staff, kidding around that can lead to workplace injuries, failure to reinforce best practices – and it takes sensitive leadership to change the culture and improve working conditions.

Read on for how we describe a positive work-place culture, both for employees and for customers, and examples of the ways we work to make changes when we see that they are needed.”

Adaptive Reuse

At the Cascade Alliance we mostly focus on reuse at the level of individual items – whether it’s clothing or furniture or a salvaged mahogany fireplace. But we also excel at adaptive reuse, taking a building adapted for one purpose and giving it a new lease on life with a new purpose.

Cascade Alliance featured in Next Cities report on Recycling Programs Potential to Grow Human Services Nonprofits

Next Cities reports on the successes and underlying philosophy and strategies of Saint Vincent de Paul of Lane County, and the Cascade Alliance in accomplishing our social venture mission.

Five Headline Friday (February 23rd, 2018)

It’s Friday again! Here’s our seventh installment of “Five Headline Friday.” Each week we pull together our top five articles, news stories, and reports and share them here. This week’s top stories include a thrift store piloting new strategies, a sustainable publisher calling for reduction in book waste, and some apps that make charitable giving easy and fun.  Read on…

Five Headline Friday (February 16th, 2018)

Happy Friday! Here’s our sixth installment of “Five Headline Friday.” Each week we pull together our top five articles, news stories, and reports and share them here. This week we touch on two efforts to improve measurement of outcomes in social impact programs, Uber-like technology for on-demand recycling pickups, rewards for innovation in plastic pollution solutions, and a mattress recycling program with a social and environmental mission.  Read on…

Five Headline Friday (February 9th, 2018)

Happy Friday! Here’s our fifth installment of “Five Headline Friday.” Each week we pull together our top five articles, news stories, and reports and share them here. This week we touch on the impact an Amazon warehouse has on a host city. Waste360 highlights the importance of collaboration and partnerships to do end-of-life management of consumer products.  RecycleForce is helping reduce criminal recidivism with employment in recycling, we get a look at a venture to improve retention and diversity in non-profit management, and a study of how new philanthropists can learn to best donate for impact.  Read on…

Embracing Working Goals in California (February 5th, 2018)

“We were pleased to see the James Irvine Foundation’s recent announcement of a new funding focus in California. Announced in December, it recognizes the distance between quality family wage jobs and low-income workers. The foundation announced two initiatives designed to reduce the barriers for those who want to work and are working, but lack the opportunity to move up to jobs with better wages, while also recognizing the need to support workers in low-wage jobs, who often have no voice at the policy table. We have four strategies for bringing along entry level workers so that we can promote them…..”

Five Headline Friday (February 2, 2018)

Happy Friday! Here’s our fourth installment of “Five Headline Friday.” Each week we pull together our top five articles, news stories, and reports and share them here. This week we touch on the cost of housing for homeless patients, the world’s first intelligent waste bin, Austin’s reuse challenge and more. Read on…

Collaboration Benefits: Learning from Each Other, Building Relationships

“Collaboration has the potential to make us all stronger, but it can be difficult to employ across a national network. Why bother? A thoughtful piece about collaboration came out last year in the Harvard Business Review, noting both what collaboration is and what it isn’t. Read on…”

Five Headline Friday (January 19th, 2018)

“Each week we gather the five articles we found most interesting that week, and share them with you here. This week we follow the ongoing global conversation around China’s plastic ban, touch on redesigning fashion’s future and more. Read on…

Quality Jobs Survey (January 15th, 2018)

“At the Cascade Alliance we’re all about creating sustainable jobs.  Thanks to a report by Insight at Pacific Community Ventures, titled Moving Beyond Job Creation: Defining and Measuring the Creation of Quality Jobs, we have the tools to analyze our efforts more deeply. The report, funded by the Surdna Foundation, offers a lens we found fascinating and helpful. It identifies five core components of a quality job …” Read More


Five Headline Friday (January 12th, 2018)

“Each week we gather the five articles we found most interesting that week, and share them with you here. This week, our focus was on the power of policy in boosting recycling rates, the struggle in philanthropy to address inequality, and reusing precious metals in electronics manufacturing. Enjoy! …” Read More

Five Headline Friday (January 5th, 2018)
“Each week we gather the five articles we found most interesting that week, and share them with you here. This week, our focus was on recycling trends, the circular economy, and the recently passed tax bill. We hope you enjoy this curated list. …” Read More


Bomb Cyclone Coming? Get Your Thrift Store Ready! (1.3.18)
“Our numbers took a huge hit for a few days, but we were able to spike them up right after. This was an unavoidable event, and things like this will inevitably come up. The point is to be aware and adaptable so that you can best prepare your site and staff…” Read More







Work the Problem: Welcome to the Cascade Alliance Blog! (1.2.18)

“We continue to thrive and grow because we’ve learned to keep our eye on problems as they come up, to observe and question and work on solutions…” Read More