Father-Son Duo Founds Company to Help the Community & Environment
Charles Bruno ’24
Upcycle4Good’s mission statement is a simple one: “Preserve the environment. Improve lives.” A volunteer organization founded by Edward Johnston ’77 and his son Christopher Johnston ’14, the group aims to reduce environmental waste and provide goods to less fortunate communities. The nonprofit facilitates this process by lessening logistical issues faced by businesses, charities, and communities in need. Furthermore, Upcycle4Good does not only seek to do good themselves, but they also try to inspire organizations to follow suit by alleviating the challenges that accompany donating supplies.
The idea behind Upcycle4Good originally came from Chris, who was a “passionate environmentalist” even in his early years. He encouraged his parents to follow suit, and they began incorporating eco-friendly choices into their home. This passion for helping others continued to grow after Chris’ time at Chaminade, as he went on to research sustainable development at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
The inspiration for starting an environmentalist charity, however, came about while Chris worked part-time at a hotel. It was in a hotel basement that he found fifteen or so dented—but still working—fridges that could no longer be used in the guest rooms. Instead of sending them to a landfill, Chris asked permission to donate them, which would serve the dual purpose of avoiding waste and providing fridges to those in need. Ed recalls his son coming home after this endeavor, filled with passion to continue this mission at a higher scale. The idea for Upcycle4Good was born and, in March 2020, the group officially became a nonprofit.
Upcycle4Good establishes a link between companies and nonprofits so that excess goods can be easily shared with those in need. The Johnstons agree that, like most new organizations, one of the biggest challenges has been finding connections and partners. Nevertheless, the Johnstons have been able to network with numerous organizations in order to accomplish their goals.
They are currently working with the Sisters of Life in New York to send supplies to unwed mothers. In addition, Upcycle4Good has partnered with “Every Shelter,” an organization based in Texas with the purpose of building homes for African refugees.
The company is planning to work in conjunction with Green Sports Alliance to repurpose vinyl scrim from sporting events into these houses. Finally, Upcycle4Good is currently in contact with a CPA firm in Melville to restore and donate unused technology.
Both of the men give Chaminade credit for inspiring them to pursue this journey. Ed remarked, “Chaminade nurtured within both of us a passion for helping others. Whether it is the environment, others in our community…or other professionals who are in the business of helping others, there is never a lack of need… To give back—even a little, continuously—is extremely rewarding and…a prerequisite for a healthy, sustainable community.”
“We learned that wherever you go,” Ed continued, “you will likely find a supportive Flyer along the way.Here on Long Island, while looking for logistics partners, I found Kevin McGill ’11, COO of Junkluggers of Queens and Long Island. Kevin represents our first local logistics partner, and we are proud to be expanding our mission through the Chaminade family.”
The future is looking bright for Ed and Chris as they continue to work and make connections with other organizations. One of the newest projects they are working on involves expanding a website that functions as a marketplace for businesses with excess materials. Charities will be able to claim the goods, receive contact information, and obtain whatever items they need—all without the logistical concerns that usually complicate these transactions.
Upcycle4Good has already done great things for both communities in need and the environment, and they do not have any plans to stop. Ed and Chris hope to spread the mentality that even a small change for good has incredible value. With compassion, and a little effort, anyone can make a difference.