Moved by compassion, community, and commitment, we can make this world a better place.
Welcome to a very unique concept.
This charity is “Houston Local” and is for those that are interested in knowing where their donated items and monetary contributions actually go.
My husband and I began this charity with our own money. At the time, I had a troubled heart when donating because I was never sure where those items went or if my dollars were truly used for the “cause”, and not just to pay for the fundraiser. I had done resale and consignment options, both for myself and for my Transformations by Maria clients, but this is very time consuming, especially considering the amount of money you earn when the items sell. My clients and I were looking for a way to truly give to those in need! They started to donate to me, knowing I would find an individual, family, or organization where those items would help in changing another person’s living circumstances.
After years of working with nonprofits and other charities, my husband and I began one of the first charities where we know: every receiver, every donor, every item and where every dollar goes. In some cases, you will also have the opportunity to meet the recipient of your donation – either through photos or even in person.
We believe we cannot do this alone – but together, we can.
Maria Cummings, founder
Amazing Grace Charities was formed from the vision of Maria Cummings, a Houston based entrepreneur who saw an unfilled need. For over 30 years, Maria has been the face and manpower behind Transformations by Maria – a for-profit business that includes image consulting, personal shopping, home organization, and more. As part of the process with her TBM clients, the conversation of what to keep, what to alter, and what to donate inevitably occurs. Over the years, Maria struggled with finding ways to make donations have an impact. She tried consignment shops, but found that the money earned when the item sold was not worth the work involved.
Donating to major non-profit companies were not the answer for her, either – it lacked the connection she was seeking in making sure that the items were delivered to those who needed it. Maria wanted to be able to contact her client and tell them exactly who received their donated clothes, mattresses, toys – and to know that another person’s life was better because of that donation.
At the beginning, most of the donations were clothing. Maria started storing the items in her car and home, and she made connections with homeless shelters and other non-profits that had a direct relationship with helping those in need. In the winter, if she saw a homeless person, she would pull over and give them a coat or socks or whatever she had available in her car. After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, her mission began to spread through word of mouth, and it didn’t take long before non-clients were calling her to either contribute donations or to hire her for her TBM services because they knew that unwanted/unused items would go to someone who truly needed it.
Over time, Maria found that her higher-end clientele was donating designer bags, clothes, and other items that would not help someone in the homeless community. That’s when she named her vision Amazing Grace Charities and began plans to open a brick-and-mortar upscale resale store, AGC Boutique, which opened in 2014. It is through the sales of this boutique that Maria is able to fund her efforts to continue giving back to the community.