Welcome Athenaeum Theatre!


We welcome the Athenaeum theatre to the Zealous Good family! They are a cultural center for both new and experienced art groups. They offer affordable rates for companies to practice and preform leading to a more open, diverse community for the performers and audience. They also offer office space for arts organizations. We asked them a few questions to let everyone get to know what they do better.

What do you enjoy most in your work?

In one word it be the variety of this place.  Nowhere else in Chicago do you have as many performing arts groups rehearsing, performing and creating art.  We have a dozen not-for-profit arts groups that have offices in the building and in the past year we hosted 70 different shows on three stages. Every week it’s something new theater, dance, music its all on our four stages. I’m lucky to be able to call so many of these talented people friends as well as colleagues. It’s never boring, that’s for sure.

What is your biggest challenge as an organization?

Like any not-for-profit arts group finding the resources to operate. It’s not simply finding donors and grants, it is building an audience for everything we do here. Cash is great but in-kind donations like what we hope to get from Zealous Good, saves us money on things we need. We are not-for-profit that exists so other arts groups can afford to do their art here. Supporting a century plus old building requires a lot.

What is something people might not know about the theatre?

We are Chicago’s oldest, continuously operating Off-loop Theater. Opened our doors in 1911.  Over 103 years we have accumulated three ghosts and lot of theatric performances. The building has had the talents of Eartha Kitt, Jeff Mangum, Patti Griffin, Ben Gibbard and Laura Marling are just a few of the names that have performed in our historic opera house.

unnamedWhat makes your organization different?

Our mission is to keep the Athenaeum Theatre an affordable home to Chicago’s performing arts community. So we are a not-for-profit dedicated to other not-for-profits.  We are not just about renting space, we work with arts groups collaboratively to grown their audience and ours. We look at their success as our success.  A full house for a show benefits us both and provides affordable entertainment to the community. Think of us as the locavore paradise for Chicago theater with 4 stages under one roof.

We really appreciate Zealous Good, we are new members but already we have received our first donation of a cordless leaf blower.

To donate to Athenaeum Theatre and other non profits look at the charity page on Zealous Good!

5 Ways to Help Homelessness in Chicago

homeless chicagoLiving in Chicago has opened my eyes to a world of people affected by homelessness. Walking down Michigan Avenue, the “magnificent mile”, you expect to be entranced by all the beautiful Michael Kors bags and Tiffany’s earrings, but it isn’t really like that.

There are a lot of pretty things, but I feel conflicted when I see people sitting on every corner asking for help. These people are asking for spare change and food next to merchandise that costs so much more what they need. I could spend fifty dollars on one shirt in Nordstrom or use that same money to give a person meals for several days.

This clash of different worlds always makes me want to help. If you feel the same or just want to help here are five ways to help in those in need:

  1. Donating items to organizations that help the homeless is a great way to impact their lives. Chicago is the windy city and the weather is always unpredictable. Look through your old winter clothes as you put them away to see if you can donate anything. Or as the warm is approaching look for the summer clothes that you no longer wear. Facing Forward to End Homelessness and other charities are always looking for donations
  2. Donating food of any kind is always helpful for anyone in need. Many people are struggling with hunger and a meal is always helpful. Check out charities or soup kitchen in your area.
  3. Volunteering at a shelter is the best way to really get to know the people in need and help them face to face. You can volunteer at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, habitat for humanity
  4. Buying the newspaper StreetWise helps the homeless and those at risk earn an income as well as helping them learn how to be financially responsible and find housing. You can also donate to Streetwise to help them keep their organization flowing.
  5. Lastly, if you are in the position try to create jobs for someone in need DO IT! Donating is great, but giving the opportunity to fully get out of homelessness is the best way to help.

Looking for more charities helping the homeless in the Chicago area? Check out Zealous Good for many different charities looking for donations!


Apna Ghar’s Taste of Life Gala in May

Looking for a fun gala in Chicag3796766_origo? Want to help a great cause just by going? May 1st will be the 6th annual gala for Taste for Life, a silent auction and dinner to raise money and awareness for Apna Ghar. There are many celebrity chefs that make all different kinds of food and fun prizes to win at the Chicago cultural center. They also have powerful speakers throughout the night. Tickets are on sale now for the gala. Check out the website Taste for Life for tickets and more info.

Apna Ghar means “our home” in hindi, it is also the name of the non profit that helps women who deal with domestic violence get help. It was founded by five women who saw the barriers immigrant women were facing to get help getting away from domestic violence. They specialize in helping immigrant women because they additionally have to deal with language and cultural barriers that prevent them from getting help.They have a 24 hour hotline and shelter, counseling, legal advocacy to help get through the US legal system and a supervised visitation center for children to see their non custodial parent in the presence of a trained worker.  They empower women to make better lives and give them all the resources to do it.

If you can’t make the gala but still want to help Apna Ghar check out Zealous Good! You can see what their needs are or give something that they can use in their silent auction.

In-Kind Donations: What You Should Know about an In-Kind Donation

In-Kind Donations

In-kind donations are a great way to support a charity. If you are looking to support a charity there are a few ways to get involved. You can donate money to a charity to be used for expenses and programming. You can volunteer and get directly involved with the work of the organization. You can also look into joining the board of an organization to help advise them. But another way to support a charity that could be easier and make a big difference is through an in-kind donation.

An in-kind donation is when needed goods or services are given to a charity. In-kind donations are items that will be used directly in an organization’s programs or used by their staff. These can include household items, furniture, supplies and all types of other items. In-kind donations could also include goods that a charity can auction off at a fundraising event to raise money for their programs. These can include event tickets, a gift certificate or new merchandise. In-kind donations of services are ones that would directly benefit the charity, ones they would normally have to pay for. Examples of in-kind services include accounting help, legal assistance in helping a charity apply for tax exempt status, consulting services to advise charities, event space for the charity or for one their events, building or fixing something for a charity and many others.

In-kind donations can come from individuals, small businesses and larger corporations. Individuals will often donate excess items around their house while businesses and corporations will mostly donate the products that they produce or the services that they offer. In-kind donations are also making up a larger part of the overall giving from companies. According to a survey of Fortune 500 companies done by Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, as a percentage of total corporate giving, non-cash contributions grew in aggregate from 57 percent in 2007 to 69 percent in 2012.

There are benefits to in-kind donations for both individuals and companies that are donating and also for the charities that are receiving donations. One overall benefit for donating goods is that resources are shared and items are kept from being thrown out when they still have useful life.

How in-kind donations benefit charities

In-kind donations help charities in a few ways including:

  • receiving needed items that can be used by their organization
  • cost savings
  • a way to meet and connect with new donors.

By receiving in-kind donations charities are able to save money that would have otherwise been used to purchase items. The greater the need for a donation and the actual cost of obtaining it, the greater the benefit and impact is for a charity.

Charities also benefit from in-kind donations because they are often introduced to new donors that are supporting their organization. This allows the charity to develop a relationship with the donor that could lead to further support in the future. A donor that gives their items to a charity becomes familiar with the organization and gains an understanding of how they use donations to further their mission. Donors may then be more willing to further engage with and support the organization in various ways by volunteering, telling people they know about the organization or support the organization by making a donation.

How in-kind donations benefit donors

In-kind donations benefit individual donors in a few ways that include:

  • an alternative way for them to donate
  • a way to recycle their goods
  • the ability to receive a tax write off

Donors may not have the ability to donate money to a charity but can easily donate something they aren’t using anymore. A donated good can make a significant impact at a charity, as they might not have been able to purchase that item themselves. By donating goods to a charity, donors are able to recycle their items and have it be used directly by someone in need of that item. By donating to a charity instead of throwing an item out or recycling, the donation can be reused for its original purpose so it has the maximum effect and impact. Donating unused goods can also clear up space for the donor and help them clean their home. In-kind donors can receive a tax receipt for their donations when donating to a registered charity that is tax exempt. The donor is responsible for providing a fair market value for the in-kind donation, which will be used on the tax receipt provided by the charity. One important thing to know is that the value of donated time and services cannot be deducted. The IRS has published a helpful guide on claiming tax deductions from charitable contributions.

In-kind donations can also benefit companies as well. Companies often have excess inventory that they need to remove because it can no longer be sold at the original price. Instead of reselling the inventory at a fraction of the original selling price through liquidation, companies could see a greater financial gain through donating and receiving a tax deduction. Companies are able to reduce their storage costs, and clear valuable warehouse space. Donating Companies can also benefit from donating their inventory because they are becoming more socially responsible. This increases their brand image and could attract more consumers to purchase their products and attract better employees.

What Donors and Charities Can Do

Individuals can easily find unused goods that they can donate to local charities with needs for those items. According to an eBay survey the average U.S. household has 52 unused items around the house. These can include clothing, electronics, computers, sporting goods, toys and furniture. But in-kind donations aren’t just limited to those types of items. They can also include office supplies, silent auction items, pet supplies, tools and many others types of items. People can also help by donating their time and expertise in a certain area such as legal counseling, tax advice, handiwork or something else. Companies can consider the benefits of donating their excess inventory and develop an in-kind donation program. For donors the important thing is to make sure a charity is in need of your donation. You can often find what a charity is in need of by visiting their website and getting in touch with them. Donors can also make use of donation intermediaries, which can help with finding a charity that is in need of the donation and potentially with logistics in getting the donations to the charity.

Charities can make the community aware of their in-kind needs. Often donors aren’t aware that charities are in need of things and what their specific needs are. If donors know about the in-kind needs of charities they can look to see if they have the items or if they know someone who might have the items. Often times charities will make a wish list on their website of current in-kind donation needs or ones that are needed an ongoing basis. Charities can also use donation intermediaries to be connected to donations in a more efficient and easier way.

In-kind donations can have a substantial impact for charities. Whether it’s a new conference room table to facilitate meetings, a computer to help a teen do their homework or receiving legal advice to incorporate as a registered 501(c)(3). If you have something you are no longer using or skills that would be helpful to a charity consider making an in-kind donation!

Jesse Mavi is Director of Operations and Outreach at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Jesse on Google+ or Zealous Good on Facebook and on Twitter at @ZealousGood.

Where to donate sound systems


We live in an age where the iPod has taken over music. No more messed up tapes or scratched CDs. Speakers can even be blue tooth connected. The boom box is no longer acceptable to walk around with so what to do with our old sound systems and cd players? Instead of just throwing them away, or waiting until they become antiques check out these places that would love to use your old technology. 

After school Programs

All sorts of after school programs would love to use the equipment for presentations and for the kids to interact with. Trustycup Productions is an afternoon program in Chicago that gives kids a place to express themselves through all kinds of outlets. They would love to use sound systems for all different programs. Try to check out the after school programs near you! 

Churches/ Religious Centers

Churches may not be the first place you think of for needing a sound system, but they may be in need. These places can benefit from making their presentations and speeches well heard for everyone. If they don’t use themselves they can find someone in that will use your sound system. Check out centers near you!


Many schools can be in need of sound systems for theatre departments or sporting events. Even a small donation like a sound system can be very beneficial to improving a department. A donation to the school can greatly enhance a child’s experience in their activities.

If you want to donate, but aren’t sure where and are in the Chicago area check out Zealous Good! They can connect you with many different charities that would love your donation, including Trustycup Productions!

What’s Good in April?


April showers bring May flowers! Although, we would all probably settle for an end to snow… As you wait for warmer weather to finally hit the shores of Lake Michigan, stop by a few non-profit events to keep warm.

April 6: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago’s 6th Annual Friends of the Poor Benefit is coming up fast! Join them for a night of Vegas-style fun.

April 10: Attend the Leila Grace “Great Gatsby” fundraiser. Enjoy craft beers, prizes, silent auction, and great company all benefiting the Leila Grace Foundation.

April 10: Erie Neighborhood House is hosting their Future of Promise Awards Dinner at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. Proceeds will help Erie House continue to invest in educational programs that create opportunities for success that would otherwise not exist.

April 24: Esperanza Community Services has been supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities for 45 years! Help them celebrate this huge accomplishment.

April 26: Spend an evening at Child’s Voice’s Annual Family Reunion. This family-friendly event is hosted at Dave and Buster’s – don’t miss out!

April 27: Sign up for Celebrate Differences’ Annual 5K Run/Walk “Steps Toward a Brighter Future.” Your participation can help provide free programs for children and adults with disabilities and their families.

By the way, if you can’t make it to any of these events, you can still support these charities – and many others – by donating items on Zealous Good!

Amanda Burkey is the community manager at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find her on Google+ or find Zealous Good on Facebook or on Twitter at @ZealousGood.

3 Tips for Moving in College

car_packedCollege is a time of transition. Transition into the real world and transition between places to live. College is basically 4 years of moving multiple times per year. There is never enough space and always a mad dash to squish everything you need into a car. After having done this a few times I have learned a few good tips.

Use Space Bags

You may have seen this product on TV if you are an avid infomercial watcher like me. I always thought they looked silly until I used them. I am now convinced they are magic. Using Space Bags is the best way to transport any clothes, blankets, or coats with the absolute smallest space.

Take advantage of storage spaces

Its pretty hard to bring furniture on a flight so storage spaces are very nice to keep your bigger items in. Check in your area for any student discounts on storage!

Donate unwanted items

We all have those free t-shirts from an event we don’t want or those school supplies we never use. Instead of lugging them home to keep them there donate them! Charities are always in need of many different kinds of donations.

If you are the Chicago area and want to donate your unwanted good check out Zealous Good! Submit a donation and we will find a charity that needs it!

Last Minute Winter Donation Ideas

chicago winter

After the past few months, I have never been more excited to say “Spring is coming!” With record-low temperatures in Chicago this winter, there is a lot to look forward to in the approaching spring. As we transition into spring, consider these last-minute donation ideas to end the season on a positive note.

Winter Clothing

Hopefully you won’t be needing your scarves, hats, or large coats anymore this year (well, until October at least). You know those warm clothes you bought but hardly wore? Many folks in the Chicagoland area may still be in need of these. If you’re looking for something to donate before Spring arrives, that warm clothing you have available would be a great idea!

Newly Replaced Items

Over the holidays, you may have received gifts that replaced what you were using before e.g new cell phone, computer, or home appliances. If the old items are still in good condition, why not donate them instead of let them sit in storage?

School/Office Supplies

Finally, as schools are beginning and ending their spring break, and as offices move past the beginning months of the year, your excess supplies could be of great help to schools and nonprofits.

If you have any items you would like to donate to a charity who needs them, you can submit your items through Zealous Good’s website!



Where to Donate Books in Your Community

Books! There is nothing better than the feeling of opening a new book, or reading a final paragraph in a great novel. But, if you’re a reading addict, those books can start to take up real space. If you donate them, you can give the stories new life and help someone else enjoy a new reading adventure!

If you’re in Chicago, just use Zealous Good to find out exactly which charities need your books. If you’re not in Chicago, here are some ideas of where to donate books.


Don’t laugh. It can be simple as that. Where is a good place to donate books? Preschools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges! Whether a student is 5 and growing and whether a student is 25, and well, uh, still growing, every student could use more books!

To learn more,  you can look up your local school district online.

Tutoring Centers

Like schools, tutoring centers are a place to learn. Books are always needed at these educational safe havens. These centers can never have too many books to pass out!

Look up tutoring centers online to find the closest one near you!

Open Books in Chicago

At Zealous Good, we have a bit of an organization crush on Open Books. They pick up books, have drop off points, and they do SO many great things with books for all ages. If you’re in Chicago, check out Open Books. You won’t be disappointed!

Cara Program Chapter Two Project in Chicago

The Cara Program Chapter Two Project is a Zealous Good charity member that is in need of books. They accept books from drop boxes, personal collection pickups and book drives and are sold or recycled. Funds generated from the sale of these books helps motivated Chicagoans affected by homelessness and poverty gain a second chance at a lasting career by providing hands-on training and work experience.

Otherwise, if you’re in the Chicago area, check out Zealous Good for where to donate books. Click here to submit your donation and we’ll find a charity that can benefit.

Brittany Martin Graunke is the founder of Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Brittany on Google+ or on Twitter at @ZealousBrittany. You can find Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at @ZealousGood.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Hands down, my favorite thing about Zealous Good is when charities share with the donor about where their donation has ended up. It might just be a simple 2 sentence update or a photo, but just knowing where that donation is now means the world to us.

I wanted to share one of my favorite donation photos – it’s 3 kids at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region testing out a new indoor roller coaster. The toy was donated from Groupon Goods. Their joy, excitement, and anticipation is clearly seeping out of them… something that the donor, Groupon Goods, made possible. This is why Zealous Good is here and we couldn’t be prouder.

Coaster (1)

If you have a donation story to share, send it our way at stories@zealousgood.com!