Interview with Steve Feldman, Founder of Green Demolitions, a Nonprofit Demolition Donation Organization Based in Greenwich, CT
For Steve Feldman, there’s no such thing as business as usual. It’s all personal—very personal. The story behind Green Demolitions, a nonprofit demolition donation organization headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, begins in Poughkeepsie, New York, where, as a teenager, Feldman struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, suffering two serious bouts of suicidal depression before help arrived in 1988 in the form of a life-saving addiction-recovery program.
Fast forward 17 years to 2005, when Feldman turned that experience into inspiration for a nonprofit business that helps give other recovering addicts a new lease on life.
“Addiction touches all of us in some way,” Feldman says. “Three years ago, Time magazine reported that there were one hundred twenty-five million addicts in the United States. There are even more now.”
In Feldman’s business model—which allows him to earn money to help fund addiction-recovery outreach projects instead of requesting monetary donations—everyone involved wins: homeowners find a meaningful and tax-deductible way to dispose of their unwanted kitchens, bathrooms, and other architectural elements; consumers can remodel economically by purchasing recycled pieces; the environment benefits from reduced landfill waste, energy-cost savings, and forest preservation; and addiction-recovery outreach programs get substantial ongoing support. “Redoing the kitchen becomes even more palatable when you know it’s not going to hurt the environment and will also help worldwide addiction recovery outreach,” he says
Not to mention the considerable cost savings for the recipients of the recycled materials. According to Feldman, recycled kitchens start at $1,000 with an average price tag of $4,000, not including appliances, and range from basic kitchens to brand-name luxury lines.
“There’s always a great value,” Feldman says. “The discounts in our stores usually range from fifty to ninety percent—more often closer to ninety percent—on kitchens, bathrooms, appliances, and architectural elements like lighting, doors, fireplaces, artwork, and even generators,” he says. “It’s also a way for industry professionals to save money on projects. If consumers can save money by working with certain designers, for example, those designers have a better chance of working with them. Companies like Bilotta Kitchens have been using us for years.”
One committed supporter: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who, Feldman says, documented the donation of his kitchen, among other pieces in his home, to Green Demolitions in the 2010 book, Kennedy Green House, which chronicles the green makeover of Kennedy's Westchester home.
And interest is spreading. According to Feldman, Green Demolitions sold to 29 different states last year and recycled more than 600 kitchens. “We’re creating jobs, too,” he says. “We started from nothing. Now we have fifty employees and we’re expanding our range.”
To participate, contact the Green Demolitions team by phone (888-887-5211) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or complete the donation form on greendemolitions.org. Green Demolitions provides each donor with a contribution acknowledgement letter documenting the donation and resale value for tax purposes.