• Mission: The Bay Area Furniture Bank recycles gently used furniture and donates it to individuals and families moving out of homelessness, as well as to other underserved residents as they work to make ends meet. The nonprofit organization aims to promote dignity and stability as people in need get back on
Los Altos resident Ray Piontek, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired business executive, founded the Furniture Bank in 2015. Piontek developed a successful business model, with more than 97% of revenue generated directly supporting client services.
• 2020 update: The Furniture Bank is currently working with 95 social services organizations in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
This year, the Furniture Bank has served more than 700 families, an increase of more than 150% over 2019, delivering 7,835 pieces of furniture. Of the recipients, 94% couldn’t afford to purchase furniture, 76% had no table and chairs, and 73% had no bedding.
During the COVID-19 surge between March and July, the Furniture Bank was designated an essential service and served as the exclusive furniture supplier for the Santa Clara County Housing Authority and the Veterans Affairs Housing program. Working with extreme caution, the Furniture Bank donated furniture to 280 families, 139 veterans and 263 homeless people.
Over the past six months, the Furniture Bank has provided more than 500 beds, with 125 desks, beds and mini-refrigerators going to the Veterans Housing Facility in San Jose. In its first four years of operation, the Furniture Bank has redirected and provided more than 13,400 pieces of furniture and diverted 315 tons of waste.
The Furniture Bank also partnered with a Los Altos High School club that raises money to build and donate desks for children who can’t afford one of their own at home. Using funds from selling boba tea at school, Morgan Taylor-Cohen and Emma Sayar brought their first desk to the Furniture Bank. From there, the club raised more than $1,500 to roll out a “build-a-thon” in August, where they assembled 54 desks for students.
The Furniture Bank has mutual aid partnerships with Google, Hengehold Trucking, Tempur-Pedic, Ikea and the Downtown Street Team, and has community partnerships with Apple, Box Corp., eBay, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Los Altos Community Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
The largest furniture donors, according to the Furniture Bank, include Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, the Biltmore Hotel, Hyatt Del Monte, The Inn at Saratoga, The Fairmont Hotel and Extended Stay America.
• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: The Furniture Bank seeks the capacity to meet the forecasted needs of the Santa Clara County Housing Authority to provide furniture for 14 planned housing developments, accommodating 690 families throughout the county over the next 24 months. The proceeds also will allow the organization to hire three new employees as office staff and warehouse crew.
Bay Area Furniture Bank
Location: PO Box 61042, Sunnyvale
Annual budget: $504,712
Staff: 7 employees, 18 volunteers