Nonprofit Spotlight: The Green Chair Project

Normally clients can come to The Green Chair Project and pick out furnishings they would like to have in their home. Since March, all shopping has moved online.

Beth Smoot and Jackie Craig were looking for a sustainable way to help people get rid of unneeded furniture. And since they also wanted to do some good in the community, they founded the Green Chair Project in 2010.

Jackie Craig

Based in Raleigh, the nonprofit provides gently used furniture and household items to families who need them.

“The Green Chair Project is the only nonprofit service available in Wake County that is able to provide well equipped homes for families who are living in poverty and often transitioning out of homelessness,” said Craig, now the nonprofit’s executive director.

Through partnerships with various nonprofits and Wake County agencies, as well as relationships with case managers and social workers, families are brought to the Green Chair project for “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to furnish their entire home,” she said.

For a small fee, these families can select furnishings for their new home, giving them a sense of normalcy and helping them get back on their feet.

Of the many services the Green Chair Project provides, one of the most important is the Sweeter Dreams Bed Program, which aims to make sure every child in Wake County has a bed.

The nonprofit maintains a furniture showroom and warehouse at its Capital Boulevard headquarters.

“There are over 6,000 children in Wake County that do not have a bed of their own,” said Craig. “Particularly during this time of crisis when we all need strong immune systems, we want families to be safe and healthy. Providing a bed for every child does just that.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, The Green Chair Project has delivered over 1,000 beds to children and partnered with eight local nonprofits to also provide their families with food, toiletries and other necessities.

In addition to furniture, The Green Chair Project supplies bedding, housewares and appliances — everything needed to furnish a home.

Since March, the Green Chair Project has made other changes as well. The organization is no longer serving clients in person, however the organization has pivoted and built an entire online home goods showroom. Clients and their case managers can select their desired furnishings online, which will be then delivered right to their door.

“Through our website, the case manager that is working with the family can provide us with all the information we need for each client. There are choices on the website of which furnishings the clients would like,” said Craig. “They can get everything they need. We provide everything — things that you and I use every day that we all need in our homes.”

Volunteer Claire Williams tests donated lamps, making sure they are in good working order.

To reach families across the Triangle, the Green Chair Project partners with multiple agencies. Recently, it began working with The Carying Place, a Cary-based nonprofit that serves homeless working families by providing short-term transitional housing and teaching life and budgeting skills.

With a referral from The Carying Place, clients can go to Green Chair to choose furniture for their new permanent homes. Also, as part of the partnership, the Green Chair Project provides any additional big furniture items that The Carying Place needs for its transitional housing units.

Josh Pressley, who works in the nonprofit’s warehouse, prepares furniture that has been ordered online for delivery.

“It is pretty important to have a relationship with Green Chair, because it provides the housing items that the family needs,” said Leslie Covington, executive director of The Carying Place. “Our very first family that had been assisted in our new relationship with Green Chair needed support furnishing their house.

“The family sent us several pictures of what the house looked like and how happy they were. (It is) a great example of what it looks like when all of us work together with Green Chair to make good things happen for families.”

Those interested in donating gently used furniture to The Green Chair Project can drop off items at the nonprofit’s headquarters at 1853 Capital Blvd., Raleigh.

Individuals can also visit to make a donation. Donors are asked to fill out an online form, take a picture of the item, and Green Chair will arrange a pick-up time.

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