$1 Sale Benefiting the Equal Justice Initiative

This past July, Buffalo Exchange Tucson hosted a socially distanced Dollar Sale to raise money for the Equal Justice Initiative. This fantastic organization works hard to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenge racial and economic injustice, and protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in America. The sale generated $2,390, with all proceeds going directly to the Equal Justice Initiative.

Customers Shopping

During this sale, we tried out a variety of new strategies to ensure a safe shopping environment for customers and employees. For example, we limited it to no more than 45 shoppers at a time in the large parking lot of the store; customers signed up in advance for a shopping time slot; and boxes of clothing were spaced at least six feet apart, while proper use of masks was required for all. We also had customers count their items into trash bags to reduce contact and encouraged contactless payment options like Venmo and PayPal.

Employees at CheckoutPayment Options Sign

Overall, the sale was a great success! Customers were able to shop safely while scoring some amazing deals and supporting a great cause. Soon, we hope to hold more socially distanced $1 sales at all of our stores to raise money for a wide variety Black non-profit organizations.


Buffalo Exchange, Arts Award, Allison Miller, Bryan Falcon

Congrats to Allison Miller and Bryan Falcón – Recipients of the 2019 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award!

Each year, Buffalo Exchange teams up with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to award an artist in Southern Arizona with the Arts Award. Candidates are selected by two separate panels of experts who are familiar with the Southern Arizona Arts scene and judged based on both the candidates’ artistic endeavors and the impact they’ve made in the community. Since 1994, Buffalo Exchange has awarded almost $240,000 to 26 Southern Arizona artists.

Rebecca Block and Kerstin Block with Allison Miller and Bryan Falcón

For the 25th round of recipients in 2019, Buffalo Exchange Founder & President Kerstin Block and her daughter, Vice President Rebecca Block, celebrated by offering two awards of $10,000 – one in performing arts and one in visual arts.“We created the Arts Award because we believe art is essential to the well-being of the community,” says Kerstin. “This year, we’re glad for the chance to honor Allison and Bryan, who both have an incredible impact on the local area.”

Allison Miller with Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block and CFSA Director of Community Investments Kelly Huber

Meet Allison, a Tucson-Born Muralist
Allison Miller, a muralist and native of Tucson, has spent much of her career giving back to the community through public art projects. She currently coordinates and facilitates murals that are artistically accessible for community members, allowing young artists and other volunteers to contribute. “A lot of it for me is involving people in creating an identity for their specific space,” says Miller, “whether it’s a park or their jogging path. When people are invested in beautification, they keep it that way.” Having worked on dozens of murals, Miller’s art is a familiar sight and an ode to the unique identity of Tucson.

Scoundrel & Scamp Postcard: Images by Tim Fuller, Design by Cat Dog Mouse Media

Scoundrel & Scamp Production of Blood Wedding: Photo by Tim Fuller.

Bryan Falcón with Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block and CFSA Director of Community Investments Kelly Huber

Meet Bryan Falcón, Founder of Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre
Bryan Falcón, winner of the performing arts award, is the Artistic and Managing Director of the Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre, a nonprofit he founded with his wife after becoming enamored with the art scene and diverse culture of Tucson. Bryan believes that theater uplifts society by transporting people to places that they would not otherwise go. “We have a chance to step into somebody else’s skin for a little while and try to understand and, hopefully, walk away with some sort of connection to the heart,” says Bryan.

Allison Miller Mural

It’s reasons like these that Buffalo Exchange has continued this award for the past 25 years. “Art is not something that humans do when they have nothing else to do,” said Spencer Block, Buffalo Exchange co-founder. “Art is an essential part of the human condition. It happens everywhere and in all circumstances.” To learn more about the history of the Arts Award and to see a list of all other artists who’ve been honored over the years, visit the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona’s website!


Buffalo Exchange, HQ. Arts Award, Arts Award Honorees

Celebrating 25 Years of the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award!

Happy awards season, everyone! While we certainly love watching our favorite celebs strut the red carpet, there’s another important accolade that comes to mind: the 2019 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award! According to Buffalo Exchange co-founder Spencer Block, art is not “the cherry on top” of life — rather, it is “essential to the well-being of society”. For the past two and a half decades, Buffalo Exchange has supported the creative spirit of Southern Arizona by honoring local artists, and performers with the Arts Award. Read ahead to learn more about the history of the Award and some of our past honorees. 

How the Arts Awards Came to Be

In 1994, Kerstin and Spencer Block founded The Buffalo Exchange Arts Award in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA). Since that time, the Fund has awarded $10,000 a year to one deserving local artist. This has allowed artists to continue their work in the local community.  We are absolutely thrilled to celebrate 25 years of the Arts Award by honoring not just one, but two Southern Arizonans who’ve made a significant impact in the lives of fellow Arizonans through their work. This year’s dual award will go to Allison Miller for Visual Arts and Bryan Falcón for Performing Arts. They’ll both receive $10,000 to continue their excellent work in the community during a ceremony on January 30th, 2020 at the Community Foundation Campus.

Buffalo Exchange Arts Awards Honorees

Buffalo Exchange, Arts Award, Dante Celeiro

Dante Celeiro, Community Leader and 2018 Arts Award Recipient

Dante Celeiro is a leader in the LGBTQIA+ community of Tucson. After moving from NYC to the desert over 25 years ago, Dante has worked with the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation and now manages Boys R Us, Arizona’s first gender performance group. Dante also created Fluxx, a non-profit organization that advocates for an open dialogue around queer culture and works to increase visibility of queer arts and culture through exhibitions, performance art and workshops.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Interpretive Dance, Performing Arts Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Nathanael Meyers, Performing Arts

Nathanael Gregory Myers, Multi-Discipline Performing Artist and 2017 Arts Award Recipient 

As a multidisciplinary artist, Nathanael has showcased his art throughout a wide array of Tucson venues – most notably through his work with the Museum of Contemporary Art and through performances at Artifact Dance Project and The Rogue Theatre (you can also find some of his paintings hung in galleries across town!). A painter, dancer and musician, Nathanael works to combine romanticism, biology and elements of nature as he explores the mediums of visual and performing arts.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Painter, Rachael Rios

Rachael Rios, Visual Artist and 2016 Arts Award Recipient

The 2016 Buffalo Exchange Emerging Artist in Visual Arts Award went to artist Racheal Rios. Rachael is a native Tucsonan who describes her drawings as a reflection of her relationship with the desert and the things that inhabit it — common elements of her artwork include cactus flowers and various Arizona wildlife such as coyotes, javelinas and jaguars.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Rick Wamer, Performing ArtistBuffalo Exchange, HQ. Arts Award, Rick Wamer, Performing Artist

Rick Wamer, Visual & Performing Artist and 2015 Arts Award Recipient 

Rick Wamer has been described by Tucson Weekly as “part dancer, part actor, part comedian”. Mentored by the famed French actor and mime Marcel Marceau, Rick is a globally recognized performing artist who inspires and touches the lives of thousands each year. Rick is the co-founder of Embody Learning in Tucson.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Musician, Chris Black

Chris Black, Performing Artist and 2014 Arts Award Recipient

Chris Black is a composer and performer from Tucson. Currently playing primarily as a solo double bassist, he is the founder of the alt-classical chamber music concert series ChamberLab.

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Arts Award, Artist, Heather Green Heather Green, Visual Artist and 2010 Arts Award Recipient

The 2010 Arts Award was bestowed upon visual artist Heather Green. In Green’s own words, her work examines the “historical and ecological narratives of the Northern Gulf of California and Sonoran Desert.” A Tucson native, Heather currently works in Tempe as Assistant Professor of Book Arts at Arizona State University.

Since its creation in 1994, Buffalo Exchange has awarded over $214,000 to artists in Southern Arizona. As we look forward to the next decade, we’re reminded of a quote from Spencer Block: “Artists are the visionaries. They go where no one has gone and show us the way.” In 2020 and the years beyond, we can count on Buffalo Exchange and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to continue to celebrate artists in our community so they may continue their work, and in turn, continue to show us the way into the future.


Buffalo Exchange Clothing for the Community $1 Sale In Tucson

Shop, Save and Fundraise at a Clothing for the Community® $1 Sale!

TUCSON! Shop, save and fundraise at an upcoming Clothing for the Community® $1 sale! Update your wardrobe with a fantastic selection of clothing & accessories for JUST $1 apiece while supporting a great local non-profit. Through our new Clothing for the Community® program, Southern Arizona non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations can apply to receive large clothing donations from Buffalo Exchange’s Sell By Mail program. Charities can then use this donation of clothing and accessories to generate money for their organization by hosting a $1 Sale. Variations of this program have raised $57,266 since 2015 and we look forward to even more charities and organizations benefiting from these donations.

Friends of PACC $1 Sale

Date: Saturday, October 3rd
Time: Sign up for a shopping time slot between 7am and 1pm
Location: PACC (4000 N Silverbell)

Tucson, do you love animals? Show your support for the pups and kittens at Pima Animal Care Center by shopping the Friends of PACC $1 Clothing Sale, social distancing style! On Saturday,October 3rd, stop by PACC (4000 N Silverbell) to shop a selection of clothing, shoes and accessories for just $1 apiece. 100% of the proceeds from the sale will go directly to Friends of PACC and their mission to help save pets in need who are waiting for a loving home. 

The sale will run from 7am-1pm. Only 50 shoppers will be allowed in at a time and you must reserve a 45-minute shopping time slot in advance. All shoppers will be required to wear face coverings at all times and will only be allowed to shop for their 45-minute time slot. 

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SHOPPING TIME SLOT

YWCA Southern Arizona
November 21, TBD

Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona
December 5, TBD


Tokens for Bags® Charities

Every six months, we support new local charities through our Tokens for Bags® program. Instead of giving out bags, we give customers the opportunity to donate five cents (the cost of the bag) to a charity of their choice. Our Tokens for Bags® program has raised over $803,000 for thousands of local charities since 1994, saving over 16.06 million bags from polluting the environment!

Find your local Buffalo Exchange below and check out the charities you can give back to.

Full Story


Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Tokens for Bags, Giving Back

When You Shop at Buffalo Exchange, You Support These Charities!

 

If you’ve been to Buffalo Exchange, you may have seen Tokens for Bags® boxes near the checkout counter and wondered how they work. At Buffalo, it’s important to us to have a positive impact on the communities we’re apart of and on the environment. So, instead of giving out single-use plastic bags, we give shoppers 5 cent tokens to donate to their choice of three local charities. Since 1994, we’ve raised over $778,000 for thousands of local nonprofit organizations across the United States. We’ve also kept over 15.5 million plastic bags out of the environment!  Read ahead to find out more about some of the non-profits you can support right now just by shopping at your local Buffalo Exchange.

Providing Love and Care to Senior Dogs at Frosted Faces

Frosted Faces Foundation, Animal Humane, Tokens for Bags

Frosted Faces, Animal Humane, Smiling Puppy, Tokens for Bags

You can donate a charity token to Frosted Faces any time you shop at our San Diego, Pacific Beach location. Frosted Faces advocates and delivers quality veterinary care for senior animals whose lives are in jeopardy. By the looks on their adorable faces, you can see how much these love bugs appreciate all of the help and affection they receive from this awesome non-profit!

Fostering Creativity & Sustainability with Turnip Green

Turnip Green, Recycling, Tokens for Bags

Love helping the environment? Drop a charity token in Turnip Green’s box any time you shop at our Nashville, Tennessee location. Turnip Green fosters creativity and sustainability through community education and reuse, diverting usable material from landfills. In particular, they collect paper and plastic products to use in artist workshops and after-school programs for children throughout the greater Nashville area. We love what Turnip Green does to help reduce waste and keep our planet green!

Keeping Active and Promoting Wellness through Chicago Run

Chicago Run, Tokens for Bags, Children Playing in Sports Field

 

Support Chicago Run when you shop at Buffalo Exchange Chicago (Wicker Park). They promote the health and wellness of Chicago children through innovative, engaging and sustainable youth running programs. Their goal is to improve and enhance the physical fitness and social/emotional well-being of all participants, ages pre-K through high school. Chicago Run serves 18,000 children and youth from 36 diverse neighborhoods throughout the area!

These are just a few of many amazing organizations you can support through Tokens for Bags®. Because of customers like you, we’re able to give back to communities across the US, so treat yourself to a feel-good shopping trip! Want to know which charities you can support when you stop by your local Buffalo Exchange? Find out more on our Tokens for Bags® page!


New Giving Back Initiative: Clothing for the Community®

By Savy Kroop

Drumroll, please… we’re happy to announce our latest giving back initiative – Clothing for the Community®! Through this new program, a wide variety of Southern Arizona non-profits can receive large donations of clothing and accessories from our Sell By Mail department to help them fundraise and do even more awesome work in community.

How Clothing for the Community Works

Essentially, non-profits can use these items to host a fundraising $1 sale. Here at Buffalo, we’ll coach them through the process by providing support, advice, local promotion and, of course, a lot of $1 clothing and accessories to sell. Are you a Tucson-area 501(c)(3) non-profit? Send us an email at PR@BufEx.com to let us know you’re interested in becoming a beneficiary!

The first non-profit to benefit from Clothing for the Community® is Ben’s Bells, an organization that teaches individuals and communities about the positive impact of intentional kindness. Shop, save and fundraise for this great cause during their $1 Sale on Saturday, July 20 at 40 W Broadway Blvd. The sale starts at 8am and is cash only.

Making Sure That No Clothing Goes to Waste

At Buffalo Exchange, recycling is the name of the game and it’s always been part of our mission to make sure that no clothing goes to waste. That’s why we give customers the chance to donate the items we’re unable to buy to local non-profits at many of our stores and also why we send any items that don’t sell to our outlets in Nogales, AZ and San Antonio, TX before donating them. This Clothing for the Community® program is just one more way to give clothing a second life and support local non-profits in any we can.

Over the past 45 years, we’ve spearheaded a variety of giving back initiatives. Through our annual Earth Day $1 Day Sale, we’ve raised over $717,900 since 1997 for non-profits like The 5 Gyres Institute and The Humane Society of the United States. We also run a Tokens for Bags® program in which we give customers charity tokens with each purchase instead of plastic bags. Yes, you heard it right – you can give back to your community just by shopping at your local Buffalo. Since launching Tokens for Bags in 1994, we’ve kept more than 15.5 million plastic bags out of the environment and raised $778,660 for local charities. Find out more at BuffaloExchange.com/GivingBack!


Dante Celeiro Receives 2018 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award

 

By Savy Kroop and header art by Jessica Gonzalez

Every year, the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award honors a member of the local art community in Southern Arizona with $10,000 so that they can continue doing their great work. On January 29, 2019, family, friends and other local artists gathered at the University of Arizona Poetry Center to celebrate as this year’s winner, Dante Celeiro, accepted the award.

Dante Celeiro accepting the 2018 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award from Kerstin Block, Founder of Buffalo Exchange

History of the Arts Award

The Buffalo Exchange Arts Award was established in 1994 by Buffalo Exchange founders Kerstin Block and Spencer Block to highlight emerging artists in the performing and visual arts as well as individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts through education, organization and advocacy. Each year, candidates are selected by two separate panels of experts who are familiar with the Southern Arizona Arts scene. Over the years, Buffalo Exchange has worked alongside the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to award over $200,000 to 24 Southern Arizona artists.

Community Leader Dante Celeiro

Hailing from NYC before heading to the Southwest, Dante has been involved with social activism in the arts community for over 25 years. He started the Tucson AIDS memorial quilt panels at the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation and now manages Boys R Us, Arizona’s first gender performance troupe. Feeling that there needed to be more safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community, he also created Fluxx, a non-profit that advocates open dialogue about queer culture. The organization aims to boost visibility and encourage the creation of queer arts and culture through exhibitions, performance art and workshops. Fluxx recently hosted a 10-week “School of Drag” program, for example, that taught 11- to 16-year-olds about the history of drag, makeup, costumes, wigs and dance.

Photo by Rachel Castillo

At Buffalo Exchange, we know that we owe our success to the communities that surround us. “We’ve always believed that art is essential to the well-being of the community,” says Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block, “and Dante really exemplifies that. He has dedicated himself to mentoring young people in the arts and providing them with safe spaces where they can be themselves. We’re proud to support someone who has done so much for LGBTQ youth.”


Buffalo Exchange Tokens for Bags program

Tokens for Bags® Charities Spring 2019

Every six months, we support new local charities through our Tokens for Bags® program. Instead of giving out bags, we give customers the opportunity to donate five cents (the cost of the bag) to a charity of their choice. Since 1994, we have raised over $778,660 for thousands of local nonprofit organizations through our Tokens for Bags® program, saving 15.5 million bags from polluting the environment.

Find your local Buffalo Exchange below and check out the charities you can give back to.

Full Story


Buffalo Exchange, Tokens for Bags, Ocean Defenders Alliance, Charities

Meet Our Charities: Ocean Defender’s Alliance

By Emma, Buffalo Exchange HQ

 

One of the things that makes Buffalo Exchange unique is our stores’ ongoing support of local charities through our Tokens for Bags® program. Instead of giving out plastic bags, we give out charity tokens with each purchase. These give our customers the chance to support a range of local non-profits that help out animals, individuals in the local community and the environment each time they shop. What can we say? Giving back is important to us! Since starting the program in 1994, we’ve kept over 15.4 million plastic bags out of the environment and raised more than $774,365 for thousands of local non-profits.

 

At Buffalo Exchange Costa Mesa, one of the many charities we’re supporting this year is the Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA). Since it was founded in 2000, ODA has worked hard to protect ocean wildlife and their habitats from abandoned fishing gear, pollution and more.

Ocean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, DebrisOcean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, Debris

A Community Effort

Protecting our oceans takes a village and no one understands that better than the Ocean Defenders Alliance. Not only do they keep an eye on regular commercial fishing locations that tend to accumulate abandoned gear, but they also have a large network of divers and community supporters who notify them when they find cast-off gear and improperly sunken vessels. This allows them to devote more of their time to actually cleaning up debris!

Ocean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, DebrisOcean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, Debris

Cleaning Up Our Seas

Using their custom-outfitted vessels, ODA regularly heads out into the ocean to take care of business. Their divers work to free sea life and collect debris. They recycle anything they can and properly dispose of everything else. While they’re out on the water, ODA also works with the California Department of Fish and Game, the Coast Guard and many other agencies to maximize their efforts.

Ocean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, DebrisOcean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, Debris

Education and Outreach

ODA’s job isn’t over when they make it back to land, though. When the organization isn’t out actively cleaning up the ocean, they’re reaching out in any way possible to educate people on the repercussions that man-made pollution has on our oceans and the ways we can make a positive difference. They go to schools, clubs, conferences and anywhere they think they can make an impact.

 

Since they started, the Ocean Defenders Alliance has removed tens of thousands of pounds of man-made debris from the ocean, all while doing whatever they can to prevent it from winding up there in the first place. We are proud to support ODA in their efforts to take care of our oceans. When you shop at Buffalo Exchange Costa Mesa through the end of the year, you can help make a difference for the Ocean Defenders Alliance just by placing your token in their charity box. Stop in to shop for a cause!