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charitynavigatorWe’ve all been there; you’re just about to insert your credit card to pay for your groceries or your kids’ clothes when they cashier says “Hi! Would you like to round up today for heart health?” or “Would you like to donate just $1 for hurricane relief?”

Some people report feeling good about themselves making even a small donation and are happy to be solicited for donations at the register. Others find it annoying. Still others report that it makes them feel uncomfortable or guilty if they don’t donate every time they’re asked to contribute.

Regardless of how it makes us feel, the data shows that charities have been enormously successful at fundraising via the checkout line. According to a watchdog group, 2016 saw over $440 million dollar raised by customers when asked to donate while shopping. This donation process now even has a nickname: “checkout charity.”

But, where does your money go and how does it get there? Do for-profit companies match customer donations? If not, do they still take all the credit for the donation? Are there overhead costs for the charity fundraising through a company or does 100% of the donation go to the charity? Is your donation tax deductible? We have most of the answers.


• The majority of customers (71%) donate at the register when asked to do so by a cashier
• Approximately 55% of people like being asked for donations
• Checkout charity makes people (60%) feel good about themselves
• In 2016, $441 million was raised in the U.S. through checkout charity donations
• E-bay, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Petco donated $150 million in total in 2018 through customer giving. E-bay’s customers donated the most ($56 million).
• From 2014-2016, checkout charity donations increased 4.5%


The Money Flow
There’s very little regulation when it comes to checkout charity, but research shows that most companies donate 100% of the customer’s donation to the store’s chosen charity. The majority of companies don’t charge an overhead/administrative fee to the charity, but most companies also don’t match customer donations with corporate donations. Walmart is an exception, particularly during times of crisis relief.

One concern of charity watchdog groups is that customers are not informed of the charity’s rating when they are asked to make a donation. Of course, you can research it on your own using a site like Charity Navigator but no one will take the time to do this at the register. Furthermore, it’s unclear how long it takes for funds to get to the charity and be put to use.

What’s in it for Charities?
Charities love the checkout charity set up for a number of reasons. Corporations use the term “cause marketing,” to describe how to “sell” customers on opening their wallets. Fundraising and giving have been studied extensively; researchers have reported that if a cashier asks a customer to make a donation to a food bank, a customer will be less likely to give than if the cashier shows a picture of a sad, hungry looking child and asks for a donation to a charity that helps children not go to bed hungry each night.

Of course, charities have to sell themselves to corporations before corporations sell the charity to their customers using the same kind of cause marketing.

Donations at the checkout line mean someone else is doing the work for these charities. The cashier doesn’t get paid by the charity to ask for donations; it simply becomes part of their job according to the corporate handbook. There is little to no overhead for the collection and tax-deduction receipts are not necessary. Charities can study who gives what and tailor their in-house fundraising programs to the types of shoppers that give.

What’s in it for Corporations?
First, the company often donates to the charity under their name, even if the entire donation comes from customers, and they often go to great lengths to inform the public of their :good will”. One example of this is eBay’s press release back in 2013 during Typhoon Haiyan entitled “eBay Generates More Than $10M for Typhoon Haiyan Relief.” Using the word “generated” allowed eBay to be ambiguous about its donation source.

There is a positive impact on sales when for-profit companies promote the good will in which they participate. Hotels have become experts at this with the “win-win” of bath towel reuse. All hotel chains now have notices in the bathroom asking customers if they would consider helping the environment by reusing their towels. They play on the conscience of consumers to reuse their towels in order to reduce water and energy usage; hotels save millions of dollars a year in energy costs, detergent and wear and tear and they get consumer “good will” points for “being green.”

Grocery stores are following suit by requiring shoppers to provide their own reusable bags else pay a fee. Has Stop and Shop just found another way to increase their profits or are they environmental superheroes? The answer is probably a bit of both. By requiring customers to now pay for disposable grocery bags, they save money on bags, plus they charge ten cents per bag if the customer did not bring his/her own. As a for-profit, the driving factor is probably financial, but environmentally conscious consumers can also applaud the effort.
Rite-Aid’s multi-million-dollar charity fundraising program seems like it may have backfired on them. There is currently a class-action lawsuit pending against Rite-Aid with the defendants claiming that they were enrolled in Kidcents, Rite-Aid’s customer-based donation program, without their permission and/or in a misleading way. In Rite-Aid’s case, shoppers using their “wellness card,” a card they signed up for to save money on purchases, are asked on a pin pad if they’d like to round up for Kidcents. Once a customer says yes, they are opted into the program each and every time they use their wellness card, or the phone number associated with the card at checkout. Customer complaints are numerous online; many wellness card users claim they had no idea they were donating every time they shopped at Rite-Aid and felt duped. Rite-Aid claims that customers can opt-out any time but must actually opt-out. The defendants claim that opting out is much more of a process than opting in.

Approximately 60% of people feel positive about the retailer that asked them for a donation when they donate. This bodes well for the retailer.

What’s in it for me?
It’s quick, easy and convenient to make small donations at the register. Checkout charity raises awareness for causes that might otherwise go under the radar. Didn’t know there was an earthquake in Haiti? Well, your Shoprite cashier may alert you to it and give you an easy way to help out those affected by the disaster. People who participate in checkout charity donations report feeling good about being a small part of making the world a better place and they also feel good about the retailer.

Is it Tax Deductible?
Believe it or not, even your $1 donation at CVS can be taken as a tax deduction as long as you save the receipt and it shows the amount of the donation. You also need to list the recipient charity on the receipt. Most companies do not take the write-off themselves for the donations.

An online search led to lots of opinions of checkout charity. There seems to be “fatigue” among some people, as in people are happy to donate here and there but are getting sick of being asked every single time they check out. However, most people like being asked, do donate, and are happy to donate at least monthly. Some mentioned Jersey Mike’s and their method of charitable giving as a corporation. During the month of March, and the month of March only, customers are invited to make donations when they make a purchase. On March 25th, the “day of giving,” Jersey Mike’s partners up with 200 local charities and donates 100% of proceeds to these organizations on this day. This year they hope to raise more than $8 million.

The bottom line is that checkout charity isn’t a hoax. Your donation usually gets where it needs to go, even in the case of coin collection cans at McDonald’s, and corporations are both helping make the world a better place and benefitting from their routing of your money to do-good organizations.

LulucakeWhat are you doing for Valentines Day? It’s next Friday, February 14, 2020. Whether it’s a gift, a bouquet, sweets or dinner out, local stores and restaurants have special Valentine’s Day merchandise and menus ready for you. We asked some of our favorites retailers and restauranteurs for their recommendations and here is what they shared:

There’s nothing more traditional than a dozen red roses. Scarsdale Flower Shop at 7 Harwood has roses, in addition to peonies, hydrangea, orchids, ranunculus, and much more in bouquets priced at $60, $100 and $200. Free delivery! Call (914) 723-0852 to order today for Valentine’s Day.orchids

Prefer a sweet treat? Lulus Cake Boutique at 40 Garth Road is baking miniature sweetheart cakes for two for $20. Made with your choice of dark chocolate with salted caramel, strawberry cheesecake or cookies and cream (made with house made Oreos.) Order early to make sure your cake is ready 914-722-8300.

BronxRiverBooksShopping for a Valentine’s Day gift? You’re in the right town.

Bronx River Books at 37 Spencer Place has love mugs, love poems, love stories, passionate books and Valentines for readers.

Current Home
in the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center stocks contemporary and novel gifts that say “I Love You.” Find velvet X and O throw pillows, acrylic 8# square LOVE sculptures or a red MOODCAST candle scented with whitelovesculpture bergamot and soft vanilla.

I Am More Scarsdale at 6 Spencer Place recommends “Hi Love Travel” -- purposeful packs to lighten Iammoretravelpacks
everyday travels! Use, reuse and recycle them! ($70-$78). Or consider these colorful Caryn Lawn Bracelets ($28-$60), bound to bring a smile to whoever wears them.
La Dentelliere
at 20 East Parkway in Scarsdale is full of love for Valentine’s Day. Here are just a few of their suggestions for Valentine's gifts for that special someone: Heart shaped soaps, heart shaped ring trays, heart shaped polished metal picture frames and Hermes scrunchies, hat bands and wristlets made from an authenticated Hermes scarf.
 All gifts will be elegantly giftwrapped.heartmugs

Considering dinner out?

Eastchester Fish Gourmet at 837 White Plains Road in Scarsdale will Valentine's favorites – like oysters, lobsters, caviar and soufflés accompanied by champagne by the glass and bottle. Reservations online at or 914-725-3450 x1.

caviarFrom the Fish Market bring home Petrossian caviar, lobster tails, Maine lobster (live and steamed), oysters and shrimp cocktail. Place your order at 914-725-3450 x2 and view the menu online at

Granita, on East Hartsdale Avenue in Hartsdale has a 3-course Valentine’s Day menu planned. Find baked oysters, yellow fin tuna tartare or octopus for antipasti. Entrees Granitainclude lobster ravioli, striped based, wild mushroom fusilli and filet mignon –and more! For dessert, don’t miss the flourless chocolate almond torte. To reserve, call 914-725-8420 or visit open table.

City Limits at 200 Central Avenue in White Plains has special Valentine’s Day options on their menu, beginning at 5 pm on Friday February 14, 2020. For appetizers, choose from shrimp and corn chowder, beet avocado and grapefruit salad or the seafood trio of a lobster wonton, crispy shrimp, and crab spring roll. Entrees include seafood pappardelle, pan-seared halibut and rib eye steak.

Moderne Barn at 430 Bedford Road in Armonk is offering a special 3-course Valentine’s Day menuchocolatecake including lobster bisque, oysters, tuna poke, poached halibut, filet mignon and irresistible desserts like espresso crème brulee, a cast iron chocolate brownie, Meyer lemon cheesecake and much, much more. Reserve now at 914-730-0001 or visit

GottliebJill Serling with Author Lori GottliebShe’s the someone everyone wants to talk to, and many fortunate fans got to do just that at Westchester Reform Temple on January 21, 2019 when author, journalist, television producer and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb visited Scarsdale, courtesy of the Scarsdale Adult School.

Gottlieb is the author of the best-selling book, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone,” and came to town as part of a national book tour. For the few who have not read the book, it tells the stories of four patients’ journeys through psychotherapy while at the same time chronicling the therapy sessions of Gottlieb herself, as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of a relationship. She said, “I was getting ready to get married and my fiancé announced that he did not want to live with a kid (Gottlieb’s son) under his roof for the next ten years. I didn’t see this coming…” In her version of the story she told herself, “He’s a psychopath – how could he do this to me?” But her therapy reveals how her actions impacted the break-up.

Why is the book so popular with both the lay and professional communities? Gottlieb thinks she has figured it out, explaining, “I think so many people are reading it because I didn’t clean myself up. It resonates with people …. I was really open about what was going on because I assumed no one would read it.”

She is right about so much but was totally wrong about the potential of her book. It is an international bestseller, and now being translated and sold in countries where one would not think that psychotherapy was popular including Mongolia, Serbia and Japan. The book will also be the basis of a new television series, produced by Eva Longoria’s company, with the pilot in production by the same people who produced “The Americans.” The series will follow patients and therapists, inside and outside of the therapy room.

Gottlieb hopes the book will clear up many misconceptions about therapy. She said, “Though 30 million Americans are in therapy, there is a stigma about it …..  people don’t talk about their pain or their struggles because they think it’s not interesting. If they are having emotional pain, people don’t see someone until they are having the equivalent of an emotional heart attack.”

She said, “There is an epidemic of loneliness in our culture. People are connected online but disconnected. They spend evenings co-computing. People can’t be in the place that they are – they are always somewhere else via their devices.” How to combat this alienation? Gottlieb took a first step by barring cell phones from her son’s bar mitzvah. She said, “The kids had the best time.” Other parents followed suit and made the same rule for their kid’s celebrations.

About psychotherapy, she explained, “There is something about the energy in the room when you are sitting with someone. You see facial expressions. It takes to time to develop relationships.”MaybeYouShouldTalktoSomeone

Are the characters featured in the book Gottlieb’s real patients? Yes, the patients are real people though one is a composite of a few people. Otherwise everything that happened in the book really happened to these people with details altered to protect their confidentiality.

Has she encountered people she cannot work with? Gottlieb said she did have a patient that she called a “help rejecting complainer.” That’s a patient who just wants to complain and does not want help. She ended up terminating work with that patient.

What were some of the AHA moments? Moderator Lori Rotskoff observed, “Many think that therapists are going to provide concrete suggestions on how to act and what to do.” Gottlieb explained, “Patients have to be vulnerable and accountable.” Rather than provide specific solutions to problems, Gottlieb helps patients to find insights into their own behavior and to use what they learn in life. She said, “I am not giving advice. I am helping people see their situation the way a therapist might and “provide a revision to their own story.” She continued, “Therapists offer wise compassion. We hold up a mirror to show you what you’re not able to see.”

Though people often do anything they can to avoid thinking about death, Gottlieb thinks we can all benefit from confronting it. She said, “We are all going to die – but we don’t know how and when. Every morning we get up and have a choice on how we are going to handle the day. We can be more intentional about the time we have here. We don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I did this or that.” If we live with intentionality we won’t look back with regrets.”

Following the talk, books were available for sale from Bronx River Books in Scarsdale. Gottlieb signed copies and chatted with the many buyers who were clearly enamored with her and her work.

Thanks to Jill Serling, Director of the Scarsdale Adult School, moderator Lori Rotskoff and Westchester Reform Temple for another fascinating community event.

HandsUpThe School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC) is seeking to identify potential candidates to serve on the Scarsdale Board of Education. The SBNC held its first meeting of 2020 on January 26th and is now engaged in active outreach to build a robust candidate pool.

Over the next several weeks, SBNC members will recruit and review candidates in order to nominate three candidates for the nonpartisan slate in the next school board election. The school board election and budget vote are slated for Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Scott Silberfein and Chris Morin are completing their tenures on the board.

The SBNC invites all Scarsdale School District residents to propose names of qualified individuals to serve on the Scarsdale Board of Education by email to A candidate must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, a qualified voter, and a resident of the Scarsdale School District for at least one year prior to the May 19th school board election date.

Interested candidates should complete a biographical information form and submit it via email to the SBNC Chair, Amy Lewis, at as soon as possible, but no later than 5:00 PM on Tuesday, February 25, 2020. Forms are available on the SBNC website at Please see the “Join the School Board” tab or contact the SBNC Chair for further information.

Amy Lewis, Chair
Todd Cohen, Vice Chair

KitchenLargeI don’t know about you, but though I love flipping through design sites and ooh’ing and ahh’ing at gorgeously designed rooms, I couldn’t put a living room together for a million bucks. But for a lot less than that, I’ve come to learn, one can hire an interior designer to make a room or even an entire house look as good as a magazine spread. 

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Claire Paquin, Founder, Managing Partner, and Lead Designer at Clean Design who has had more than a few of her interior home designs published in magazines. Claire combines the ability to define her clients’ style with her training in design as well as her sourcing of furniture, rugs, window treatments and accessories to turn her clients’ homes into desirable living spaces. 

Here is what she shared about herself and home design: 

What is your background and how did you come up with the idea of Clean Design Partners? 

I started my career on Wall Street trading and selling convertible bonds for 11 years. I was with Bear Stearns when they collapsed in 2008 and I decided it was time to try something new. There are a lot of entrepreneurs in my family, so the idea of starting my own business was not foreign to me. I tried to think of things I enjoyed doing and didn’t think I would tire of and ultimately realized that I would be happiest exploring my more creative side through interior design.  

What are some current design trends?  

I am seeing what people might call trends, but I think are classics that are back and here to stay.  Some examples are wallpaper and brass (Images 2B and 3B). I am using wallpaper more than ever before – it’s a unique way to add texture, pattern, and color to spaces that might otherwise be bland. It could be added to almost any room whether it be to cover a magnet board or the door fronts of custom furniture, to add a bold print in a powder room or on a walk-in closet’s ceiling. It can create a cozy texture on all the walls of a dining room or master suite.  

Office BeforeOffice Before 2B

Office AfterOffice After 2ABrass finishes are also back in style and now that they are, I think they’re staying. Clients are understanding more and more that mixing metals and finishes gives a home a rich and custom look.  As a result, vendors are offering additional finishes like rose gold and matte black.  Many of these can be used together to create a layered look.  Another example is the color gray.  Some of my clients voice their concern that that the “gray trend” will be over soon; the reality is that it’s not a trend, it’s just a popular neutral color like beige and these neutrals, whether warm are cool, are always in style. It’s simply about what you prefer, striking the right balance and loving the colors that envelop your home. 

What is your process for helping someone design/redesign a room in their house?

I pride myself on my design process.  I created it myself and in eleven years it hasn’t changed. I am organized, deliberate and creative and these characteristics allow me to create spaces that feel beautiful and unique. I start by measuring every space and drawing it up in AutoCAD.  It’s essential to understand the scale of a room – what will fit, what won’t, and how the client will live in the space.  Next we select the furniture and lighting.  After that comes the color scheme, including all the fabrics, finishes, and often designing the rug.  Sometimes clients want to rush this process or go out of order, but I have found that if you stick to this process, you will end up with a well-designed home.  

KitchenBeforeKitchen Before 1B

Kitchen AfterKitchen After 1A


The home design pics on your website make me feel like I’m walking through life size pieces of art. Each home is so beautiful but has such a unique, warm and personalized feel. How do maximize your clients’ design experience through Clean Design?

Determining a client’s taste is always the fun part.  Unless the client gives me lots of inspiration images (which most don’t!), understanding their design style is a process that can take some time.  Usually after meeting once or twice and reviewing some design ideas, I get a good sense of what they’re trying to achieve. The key is understanding a client’s taste but also pushing them a bit out of their comfort zone in order for each space to feel unique. My clients are usually thrilled with the end result when they take some risks and trust me.  Everyone has their own style and I like to see those preferences shine through in the final design, but what’s the sense in hiring a professional if you just stick to everything you might have done without them?

What do you do to stay within a clients’ budget if they have one?

The client has the ultimate decision power when it comes how to spend their money. As a designer, I am aware of products and vendors that the client is not.  I tend to suggest projects that enhance the look and function of a room. This is why people hire me – to guide them to vendors and ideas to which they would not otherwise have access. Some ideas may cost more. For example, I often advise adding built-ins to rooms to maximize function; I tend to suggest larger rugs and lighting because they are often more aesthetically pleasing; I may recommend additional touches like wallpapering a bathroom (Image 3B), adding sconces to a dining room, or replacing a traditional fireplace mantel with a modern stone surround.  The reality is that all of these things cost more money than either not doing them at all or, importantly, not doing them right. Making the wrong design decisions can be more costly than hiring a professional.  Scale, lighting, and color are very difficult to get right for the untrained eye. Interior design professionals have been educated on all of these aspects of design.  

Bath BeforePowder Room Before 3BBath AfterPowder Room After 3A

What do you do to design a room to be current but lasting?   

It’s usually about making a room feeling clean and simple, airy and fresh (Image 1B). Too much stuff can make a room feel dated and stale. I try to minimize without being a minimalist. It’s still important to make spaces feel finished and cozy, but not cluttered. I usually recommend window treatments and pillows – they finish a space and make it feel complete (Image 2B). Another way I create lasting spaces is that I don’t fall for fads. I tend to keep the large scale pieces of furniture relatively neutral and add pops of color in things like the pillows or art.  A neutral base will always stand the test of time.

What is the most common phrase you hear from your clients after you’ve finished a project? 

“It was worth it,” meaning that all the time, effort, inconvenience, and money was worth making their home more livable, beautiful, functional and happy. The other day a client of mine shared a picture of her teenage daughter cooking with her dad in their new kitchen.  It was such a simple and touching thank you and reminded me why I love what I do.  For me, it’s not just about how beautiful the spaces are, it’s about the memories that will be created in that space. 

I also hear, “I couldn’t have done it without you.”  But this is also true for me!  I view my role as collaborator. Clients often come in with great ideas but are unsure about how to execute them. I try to make sure they don’t make any mistakes and I am vocal if I feel they are heading in the wrong direction.  It’s a team effort. A lot of my clients become friends.  And a lot of my friends become clients. It couldn’t get better than that.

Here’s how to get in touch with Claire and Clean Design:
Clean Design

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