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Philanthropy beat: Hotel donates instead of liquidates

  • Article by: Jean Hopfensperger
  • Star Tribune
  • December 17, 2012 - 7:21 PM

When the Millennium Hotel in downtown Minneapolis closed its doors for a major renovation last week, it did something new for the upscale hotel chain.

The hotel donated about 1,900 pieces of furniture -- as in dressers, bed frames, lamps, desks and chairs -- to local charities instead of shipping them off to liquidators or landfills.

Trucks pulled up to the hotel all week, picking up the gently used furniture and giving it new life at places ranging from a women's recovery center to a veterans' retreat.

"We are delighted to help those who are in need," said Robert Rivers, general manager of the Minneapolis Millennium who came up with the idea.

The process began with the Millennium contacting several charities it is familiar with, said Jenny Stimler, the hotel's director of sales and marketing. Hotel guests also offered some ideas.

"We reached out to the organizations and asked how many pieces they wanted and what kind," said Stimler.

The furniture selections were arranged in corners of the hotel last week, and picked up by the charities. The furniture then made its way to Rebuilding Together in Minneapolis, Wayside House in St. Louis Park, Dairyland Outdoor Veterans Retreat in Wisconsin and Hammer disability services in Wayzata.

Bridging, the biggest provider of furniture to low-income Minnesotans, picked up everything that was left, said Stimler, noting that the hotel loading docks were busy all week.

Not every stick of furniture was donated. The televisions, which were new, were put in storage for use in the renovated hotel, which is slated to open in April. Likewise, some high-end furniture was sent to sister properties, said Stimler. In all, furniture from 194 guest rooms went out the door.

"We're the first Millennium to do this," said Stimler. "It was so much fun to know that the furniture went to those in need."

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511

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