A small silk rug brought in $600. A porcelain owl, $600.
A large folio Frank Lloyd Wright book, $350.
A gold ring with small diamonds, $450.
On any given week, that’s what Companis Worker Tom Tiberio, antiques expert and appraiser, can find reviewing goods donated to St. Vincent de Paul’s five thrift shops. And he loves that the fruits of his labors bring increased revenue — he estimates $2,000 to $3,000 monthly — to the many shelter programs operated by SVdP, the county’s most-referred homeless services agency.
Companis connects volunteers with nonprofit agencies that need staffing assistance. Their volunteers work in medical clinics for homeless women, teach job skills, sit with our homeless neighbors over a meal, help low-income people get affordable medical care, and much more.
Companis says “we make a difference.” Every day. They do and they did for us.
“That’s what I love about my placement,” he says. “Companis takes peoples’ skills and puts them into places where those skills are needed, where maybe they wouldn’t be otherwise available.”
On this particular day, Tom examined and flagged for sale at auction bracelets, rings and pendants, vintage Barbie dolls, a Japanese lute-like instrument covered with cobra skin, an antique accordion, two hand-carved pipes, an imposing replica of a Korean crown, a pale fur jacket, and a collection of rare Masonic items. As he does so, he is teaching store employees how to identify the more valuable items that are donated.
“I get excited when I see Tom,” says Lori Bedwell, store operations manager. “We are learning so much from him, and it’s helping us earn more money from the items we sell. It’s been a great experience having him here.”
Tom’s placement is just one of more than 800 Companis has made over 22 years, greatly expanding capacity for Seattle area nonprofits.