If it’s true that one person’s “trash” is another one’s treasure, a Calgary-based organization has made an art of turning the former into the latter. In the process, Enterprise4Good is changing lives – one household item at a time.

“We are a charity that operates under the European model of social enterprise,” said Adrian Bohach, president and CEO of Enterprise4Good. “That means everything we do is for some public benefit, from who we hire to where we source our supplies.”

Most of their workers have special needs, are disabled or are new Canadians, all dealing with some issue that hurts their ability to secure gainful employment. In turn, the money raised by those workers supports a variety of programs and services in Calgary, primarily for children and seniors with special needs. In 2017, the organization provided services to 1,170 children and families living with autism.

“Ninety-nine per cent of our revenue is self-generated,” said Bohach. “We raise funds primarily by two means. Our Good4U thrift store in northeast Calgary accepts donated goods that have economic value and can be repurposed and resold, with the donor receiving a tax receipt. We also pick up ‘junk’ items that people just want to be rid of and charge less than other services that do the same. Instead of going to a landfill, those items can go to a good cause.”

For the real estate industry, Enterprise4Good seeks to provide ready-made solutions to REALTORS® working with both buyers and sellers.

“Our market surveys show residential Realtors love the idea, as their clients always have something that must be thrown out like washers, dryers, fridges, bathroom sinks, tubs, doors, windows or kitchen cabinets,” said Bohach. “In those cases, Realtors can give customers a way to handle the problem quickly and efficiently, pay less for it, get a charitable receipt, and support a great Calgary charity at the same time.”

If it’s junk that homeowners are discarding, Enterprise4Good will re-gift the items to other non-profit organizations. A worn-out couch may have no value to someone selling their house, but it can be put to good use at a drop-in centre or homeless shelter.

“We encourage people to call or email the store, perhaps with a picture of their item,” said Bohach. “We can then talk with them to determine what can be donated and what may need to be hauled away.”

For more information, or to contact Enterprise4Good, visit their website.