The story behind Allied Kitchen & Bath’s charitable work
When Bill Feinberg’s father, Nate, died from leukemia in 2003, he had an epiphany.
“My parents were great,” said Feinberg, who owns Allied Kitchen & Bath in Fort Lauderdale with his brother, Joe. “We didn’t have a lot of money. My father was a hairdresser [in Philadelphia] and I worked in his beauty shop. We would get up at 6 a.m. on a cold winter day and my dad would pick up the ladies who couldn’t drive. He got only $5 for a wash and set, but he wanted to help them.”
To honor his dad’s giving spirit, Feinberg joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society South Florida and founded the Decorate, Dine & Donate Gala. The event, which Allied sponsored for four years, raised more than $1 million.
“It was like a drug,” he said. “I thought: Oh my God, I raised $100,000 in the first event for a cause that affected someone I care about. Since then, the challenge has been how much can I raise and how can I give more.”
When the Feinbergs were building their new 15,000-square-foot showroom that was completed in September 2008, the brothers designed it with charity events in mind. In the past three years, Feinberg has hosted more than 25 charities and small business groups. Allied underwrites all the event costs – food, wine, music – and has donated auction items. The events have raised more than $250,000 in the past year and one half. Among them are Kids in Distress, American Heart Association, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, American Lung Association, American Red Cross and Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Although Feinberg has sponsored large charities, it is the smaller local ones that touch his heart such as Brookwood Florida, a Coral Springs residence for troubled teens that helps educate and prepare them for self sufficiency or going back to their families.
A young woman, tearing up as she spoke at the Brookwood fundraiser in December, told how she had been abused and could not return home. Brookwood took her in and sent her to college. She is now a social worker.
“How could you not be touched by this story?” Feinberg asked. “I asked people to just reach into their pockets and give $5, $10, whatever they could. We raised $8,000.”
Habitat for Humanity also has been benefiting from Allied’s charity contributions for the past 12 years. Every week two truckloads of used cabinets and appliances are given to the Habitat ReStore for resale and homeowners are given a receipt for the contributions. Habitat estimates donations over the past decade have supported building about a dozen Habitat Homes in Broward County.
“Why should I take good quality products to a dump?” Feinberg asked. “Some of the cabinets were only 10 years old. It takes a little more time and we have to send trucks to pick up the items, but it is worth it. We help save the environment and raise money for an organization. It’s fabulous. There is nothing better.”
—Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub