While other non-profits struggle in down economy, a group that sells donated wheelchairs and other equipment has been thriving. Julie Schulz, Executive Director of the Wheelchair Recycling Program, calls their business model “self-sustaining.”
The program cleans and repairs the equipment then sells the items at a “significantly” lower cost. Schulz says their approach also frees up cash donation opportunities for other non-profits.
Demand has gone up 50-percent in the past three years. Schulz attributes this to an aging population and people losing their jobs along with their benefits which provide for assistance equipment.
Low cost computers are among the group’s most popular items which provide “one of the best resources for elderly or disabled” in finding out about their community. Schulz says a computer can also address certain limitations such as those with speech or vision issues.
The program has brick and mortar stores in Madison and the Milwaukee area. However it partners with independent living centers and couriers to ship all over the state.