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buy-nothingmagnetsHere's a novel way to build community, pay it forward and experience the joy of giving – and perhaps receiving. The Buy Nothing Project, a Facebook-based organization that was started less than five years ago on Bainbridge Island, Washington are hyper-local gift economies that seek to "share abundance" in one way or another within the community, both on the giving and receiving ends. Their mission (or "social movement" as they call it) goes like this:

"Post anything you'd like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you'd like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we're strictly a gift economy."

The purpose is different for different people, but the idea of a gift economy remains the same. Some people love to get things for free. Others are doing a spring cleaning and just need to clear stuff out. Some people deliver their gifts and make a new acquaintance at the same time; while others just want to get rid of something quickly and leave it on their front stoop. Some people don't have goods to give away but may have time on their hands to help someone else out, like babysitting so a new mom can go food shopping. After a trip to Italy, another woman wanted to share her love of cooking and invited four people over to her house for a two-hour Italian cooking class, complete with wine and a meal to take home.

Unfortunately I haven't yet been the chosen recipient, but one woman from an Indian background makes an Indian meal for a family of 4-5 each month "to encourage kids to try something new." One woman sent her son out with a shopping list and he came back from Costco with hundreds of tomatoes. Rather than letting the tomatoes go to waste, she found someone to take her extra produce and they all had a good laugh.

You can also use the site to wish for something you need. My son's ski jacket zipper broke the day before we were leaving for a ski trip. I had no time to get it fixed and posted "Wish: Boy's ski jacket, size 8 or so. My son's zipper just jammed on his ski jacket and we leave in just hours for skiing. Happy to borrow and return." Someone not only responded within 15 minutes of my post, but dropped the jacket off at my house and asked me to re-gift the jacket when my son outgrows it. Others have a simple wish like a non-stick cookie pan, something big like a laptop computer, or a wish for an almost forgotten school project: "I need a shoe box ASAP! Anyone?"buynothingphoto

A group from a nearby town, similar in socio-economic make up to Scarsdale, has had tremendous success with the Buy Nothing (BN) model. A local mom volunteered to become the site administrator it grew from zero to 1,700 members (all in-town) in seven months. The community has gotten very creative with the site. For example, when someone wants to give something away that will have a lot of interest, people have started thinking of innovative ways to pick a winner. One giver asked site users to vie for the gift by guessing the giver's favorite cocktail, another asked for his son's lucky number, or to name your favorite vacation spot. If that was the giver's favorite vacation spot, then the brand-new Coach bag went to that user.
The site administrators encourage givers not just to choose the first person who responds as you would do at a tag sale site, but to consider everyone who is interested and make about who will be gifted.

Stories about these gifts create goodwill in the community. For example, a BN site administrator recently gave away a bunch of cookie cutters. Shortly afterwards, she was home recovering from a surgical procedure when she received a beautiful box at her front door with a note from the receiver of the cookie cutters saying that she heard that the giver was under the weather. The box was filled with homemade frosted cookies crafted with the cookie cutters. When someone posts a photo of the item they received in use, it's dubbed "an appreciation post." People regularly post pictures of their kids in gifted snow boots or a catered dinner for 20 that was gifted when a party had to be canceled due to a sick family member.

I had a chance to speak with a BN site administrator. She is certain that the Buy Nothing model would work in Scarsdale.

What's the best part of the BN project?
To me, the best part is that when we receive, it also sparks the desire to give. This may not come naturally to a lot of people, but this forum makes people feel gratitude, connect with their neighbors and at the same time find things/ services they need and reciprocate in the same manner.

An example of a unique "give" on the site?
One thing which stands out for me is someone who gave away (unopened, needless to say) women's menstrual hygiene products. That was one of its kind. We also have some very generous people who give designer bags and wallets, clothes etc. Someone recently gave away Emilio Pucci snow boots.

What are some creative ways people choose a gift receiver?
Recently, someone came up with the idea of guessing the Superbowl score for a full meal for a family of five. It's a ton of fun. It's almost like winning the lottery!

What made you decide to volunteer to help run the site?
I'm a stay-at-home mom with a 2-year-old. I was beyond thrilled to see that the BN project was in our area. I am so glad I was picked! I've met so many people through giving and receiving on this site; people whom I otherwise would never have met. I've discovered streets and cul-de-sacs I never knew existed. I think it helps the community overall in becoming closer. To me, the site is not just about giving and receiving materially but also in spirit. And this is what this forum is doing.

The past couple weeks have been fun on one of the Buy Nothing pages. The site administrators started "alphabet giving and receiving." For example, Sunday was A. People posted things like "A is for apple pie. Give: three apple pies that have been frozen since Thanksgiving thanks to a preschool pie fundraiser and the recent knowledge that my whole family hates apple pie." Monday was B and the creativity continued. "B is for baby. Before you buy, post what you need for your baby here!" The response to this was amazing. So many people responded with items to give away and so many new moms or moms-to-be received useful items for their babies.

Some people have voiced concern that the BN project would affect retailers or charitable giving, but these concerns have proven unfounded. People who work for charitable organizations regularly post wishes for needed items and the response is overwhelming. Retailers should not be affected as there has yet to be a BN project that has put a damper on local shopping. Online shopping is the biggest threat to buying local.

If you can picture this happening in Scarsdale, make it happen! The project is well organized and will work with you to start a forum. Learn how here.

And lastly, anyone have a designer purse they no longer use? (wink)

commentsI'll be the first one to admit that moderating the anonymous comments on has been a challenge. It's difficult to make clean and fast rules about what is permissible or appropriate vs. what statements cross the line and are damaging, insulting or worse. Over and over again I have asked readers to use their real names, but to no avail. I asked people to limit their comments to words they would feel comfortable using in person, but that fell on deaf ears as well. As I always include my name with my opinions, I have been puzzled about why others were not willing to do the same.

The most amusing are the commenters who use anonymous names, like "Double Standard," and then name me in their comments and throw in a few insults to boot:

Here's just one of hundreds that I received in the past few months:

AmCurious ( IP: ) — 2018-01-08 08:18
I am curious, too. How much time and money you wasted with your loud cries about wanting a new Greenacres School? And your attacks of Mayra are laughable. You cannot hold a candle next to her. You are a selfish and self-centered, hypocritical hack. She stood up to the incompetence and cronyism at Village Hall. What have you achieved ever? Did you even ever have a career. Profitting (sp) off other people's woes does not count.

Or the person who calls themselves, "Beating up Bob Berg" and then writes, "Ah yes, you are back (to) your favorite past time of beating up Bob Berg. You are SUCH a coward. Make this person state his/her name. Or did you write it?"

You get the idea – the same people who refrain from using their names, feel very comfortable throwing every name in the book at me.

And it's not just me they go after – these same posters are comfortable hurling insults at the mayor, the Village trustees, a judge, the Village attorney candidates for office and some of our most committed village volunteers.

Here's one of many that were sent after a judge issued a decision on the Article 78 contesting the revaluation:

# A Real Lawyer ( IP: ) — 2018-01-05 23:04
Ah, the great New York State Court System -- where patronage and mediocrity, if not outright incompetence, cronyism, and ineptitude reign supreme.

Or this anonymous comment to the chair of the School Board Nominating Committee:

Dear Ms. Guggenheimer, Please make sure that your group vets candidates well. Please do not let the SBNC become the badly run, cesspool filled with backstabbers that the CNC has become. The CNC is filled with quite a number of Forum members who were just appointed in the summer. They have contributed nothing to the Forum nor to the CNC. All they want to do is get their unqualified candidates in. Sad.

Believe me, if you've done anything that mattered in Scarsdale, you're fair game. I will not reprint more of these comments here, for the same reasons I didn't post them when they came in.

Over the years I've developed a thick skin. I sometimes even laugh at their characterizations of me – especially when they call me lazy, heartless, a bored housewife and a hack. The site is putrid, garbage and a cesspool. Here a just a few recent comments:

"Unfortunately, Joanne is the nastiest person in Scarsdale. Thanks to her, people outside of Scarsdale hear about all the problems here."

"How sad that this middle aged mediocre woman has nothing better to do than write crappy articles."

But these past few months have been rougher than usual. I found that in addition to the anonymous posters on my site, a few angry residents started insulting me on other websites and making false claims about me. What to do? I waited and hoped that their words would move down the page and out of view.

It didn't let up. Faced with an onslaught of comments from anonymous posters with accusations against me and everyone in town, it became too difficult to moderate their publication. Though anonymous posters complain about "internet trolls" they themselves appeared to be the internet trolls.

So last week I asked again for people to use their names and street addresses, and have not published any more anonymous comments, no matter how innocuous. Since then, the number of comments has dropped to almost nil. A few people, who know that their comments will not be published, continue to send in nasty missives, but I guess they are intended for my eyes only.

About the new policy, one reader complained, "For professional reasons I will never include my name and address regardless of the topic or my comment. Not allowing me and people like me to have a voice is unfortunate."

Unfortunate it is, but for now there will be no more anonymous comments on It appears that a few very angry offenders have forced this decision on the community. For me, it simply means less work. I no longer have to sift through comments and decide what is permissible. Without a verifiable name, I simply won't post the comment. The haters have made their bed and now I can lie down in mine. Hey, maybe I will get to be the bored, lazy housewife they call me, after all.

Have a comment ... please use your real name. Or better yet, send us a letter to the editor at

scholarshipsCollege students who have graduated from Scarsdale High School or lived in Scarsdale during high school and have completed their first, second, or third years of college are invited to apply to the Scarsdale Foundation for tuition assistance. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the Foundation awarded a total of $120,500 in need-based grants to students attending private and state-supported colleges and universities.

Applications should be submitted online to the Scarsdale Foundation's website: (click on the College Scholarships link). Completed applications must be submitted by Monday, June 4, 2018. Please contact Scholarship Committee Chairs BK Munguia ( and/or Anne Lyons ( with any questions. Please note "Scholarship Inquiry" in the subject of your email.

The Foundation relies on contributions from the community to carry on its tradition of helping our students in need pursue a college education. Donations may be made online by visiting the Foundation's website or mailed to the Scarsdale Foundation, P.O. Box 542, Scarsdale, NY 10583. Please earmark your donation "Scholarship Fund."

For more information regarding the work of the Foundation, please visit their website:

Bball Moms BoysThe Raiders Boys Varsity basketball team went on a 3 game winning streak under Coach Justin Washington. On February 6th, the boys played White Plains in their Senior game. Before the game, Seniors were joined by their parents on the court and presented their mothers with roses. The Raiders came from behind to beat White Plains 65-60. Fans packed the stands on Tuesday evening to show their support for the mostly Senior Varsity squad. On Thursday, February 8th the boys played Mt. Vernon on the road and managed an epic upset over the number one ranked team. It was Scarsdale's first win over Mt. Vernon in 21 years. Co-Captain Nash Goldman had 34 points. To cap off their week the boys then beat Tappan Zee 47-44 in a nail-biter during the championship game of the Kari Pizzitola tournament. BBall Moms girls

The Raiders Girls Varsity Basketball team played their Senior game on February 10th against Fox Lane during the consolation game of the Kari Pizzitola tournament at SHS. The Senior Ceremony took place before the start of the game where parents joined the girls on the court and Coach Mike Blanco spoke about each of his Seniors. After being down at the half, Tappan Zee managed to close the gap and take the lead. After a 

Senior bball girls 2018couple of key 3 point baskets by Kayla Maroney the Raiders were able to pull off the win, increasing their winning streak to 4. 

The Boys Varsity Hockey Team celebrated Senior Night versus New Rochelle. Seniors joined their parents on the ice immediately before the game and underclass teammates read words written by the Seniors about their Scarsdale hockey experience. Raiders went into the 3rd period with a 2-1 lead over New Rochelle but the Huguenots were able to tie it up and send the game into overtime. Freshman Josh Bock scored the winning goal in OT to give the Raiders a 3-2 victoryhockey moms over New Rochelle.

In other Raiders news, more Seniors commit to continuing to play at the college level in football and basketball. Varsity Football Captains Max Bunzel and Noah Glantz announced their intention to play football at the college level this Fall. Bunzel committed to play at Bucknell University next year as a Linebacker. Bucknell has a Division I program that competes in the Patriot League.

Glantz will be playing at Trinity College in the Fall as a Defensive End. Trinity is a Division III football program that unnamed-1competes in the NESCAC conference.

Senior Audrey Shaev will be playing at Connecticut College after graduation. The Girls' Varsity Basketball Co-Captain said "I'm extremely excited to play at Conn and in college because I've been working towards it for as long as I can remember and to see it actually in the near future and in reality is just amazing and crazy." Connecticut College also competes in the NESCAC Conference.

Boys' Varsity Co-Captain and Senior Nash Goldman has committed to play for Middlebury College next year. Goldman will join former SHS teammate Max Bosco in Middlebury's Division 3 basketball program.Audrey Shaev 1



MAx Bunzel









Nash GOldman

BeerWinterfestThe Scarsdale Forum hosts its tenth annual membership party, Winterfest 2018, on Saturday, February 3rd at the historic Scarsdale Woman's Club, 37 Drake Road from
7 to 11 PM. (Snow date: Sunday, February 4th from 4 to 7 PM)

Kicking off Winterfest 2018 during the cocktail hour is pianist Angelo Di Loreto where the home brewed beers of Bruce Wells and the hot dog station reign. Diners will enjoy a delicious buffet dinner prepared by Plates in the beautifully appointed music room of the club. Forum members will take to the keys during the dinner hour. Door prizes donated by generous local vendors will be awarded throughout the evening. Desserts baked by Forum members and friends will be served in the large dining room. In the adjacent library, the a cappella group Counterpoint will top off the evening's entertainment. This festive event promises food, drink, music and lively conversations, perfect for chasing away the shivery winter blues.

The Scarsdale Forum is a charitable organization dedicated to improving life in Scarsdale. The Forum studies many issues affecting the Village and frequently provides input to governing bodies and elected officials on the local, county and state level via reports and statements prepared by its committees. Village of Scarsdale residents are encouraged to join the Forum and attend to the best block party in town! All profits from the event support the public programs offered by the Forum throughout the year.

Admission is $40 per person and limited to members and their guests. Due to the popularity of this event, advance reservations are encouraged.

Advanced reservations, membership renewal and joining the Forum for the first time can be done online at: or by mailing a check to Scarsdale Forum Inc., P.O. Box 86, Scarsdale, NY 10583. For additional information regarding the event, please contact the Forum office by phone at 914-723-2829 or by email at:

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