The Dubman Family and Carol House Furniture Encourage New PCRM Stewards
Brook Dubman and Amy Dubman-Wells have cared passionately about animals since childhood. As owners of Carol House Furniture in St. Louis, Brook and Amy not only carry on the legacy of the business their late father began 44 years ago, but also give generously from the company’s profits to benefit animal causes. PCRM is fortunate to be among the Dubman family’s favorite charities.
The Dubman family, longtime PCRM Stewards, recently offered a matching challenge grant to encourage other PCRM members to become Stewards. Carol House Furniture will match up to $25,000 of gifts given at the Steward level ($1,000 and above) during this challenge. Become a Steward online.
PCRM major and planned gifts officer Nikki Bollaert recently caught up with Brook to learn more about his family’s commitment to animal issues and to find out what inspired this innovative and generous challenge gift.
Q. How did your family’s involvement in animal advocacy begin?
A. My mother had a big heart for animals all along. From the time my sister and I were kids, she taught us to be compassionate to animals. She involved us in her animal rescues and the animal welfare organizations she supported. Each time I learned something new about animal abuse over the years, I just wanted to get more involved.
Q. How long have your family members been vegetarian?
A. During our engagement nine years ago, Melissa and I became vegetarians, and my sister and my mother followed suit soon after.
Q. I know you support many wonderful animal causes. What makes PCRM special to you?
A. I love PCRM because you are different from any other animal welfare organization. PCRM accomplishes tasks that no one else can even tackle. I love that through nutrition advocacy, PCRM is able to inspire people to make changes that are good not just for their own health, but for animals as well. And many of these are people who might not be concerned about animal welfare issues otherwise.
Q. What aspect of PCRM’s work do you value the most?
A. It is hard to choose one specific aspect. I see all of PCRM’s efforts as very important. I was initially drawn to PCRM because of the work you do around animal experimentation issues, but I also really value the nutrition education aspect—especially for young people, because young people seem more open to making changes in their habits.
Q. Tell me about the decision you and Amy made not to carry leather in your stores.
A. I began considering the leather issue after I became a vegetarian. At that time, I just figured that leather was a byproduct of the cows everyone else was eating, but then I learned that was not the case—that while beef consumption has gone down over the years, the demand for leather continues to grow. Before we made the decision not to sell leather in our stores, leather comprised 10 percent of our sales volume, and it takes three cows to make a sofa. I figured we could do a lot of good for animals by not selling it.
Q. How has that decision affected your business?
A. The first year we did not sell leather, we had a 4 percent growth in sales volume. We had filled the empty space with microfibers, ultrasuedes, and pleathers. Those materials are great alternatives to leather. They happen to be better wearing than any other fabric you can get, are more cleanable than leather, and are half the price of leather, which is fortunate for us and the cows.
Q. What other things do you do through Carol House Furniture to further animal causes?
A. Lots! All of our radio commercials have taglines for all sorts of animal causes and charities, and we do a huge amount of radio advertising. We teach our employees about animal issues every opportunity we get, and we have animal welfare literature (including materials from PCRM) on our sales counters and in newstands out front. My family intentionally does its philanthropy and animal advocacy through our company to get the most publicity for animal causes. We are so fortunate that my dad started this business 44 years ago, and that it has been successful over the years. Financially, we are well-set, but we work hard to be as profitable as possible so we can do more for the animals—that’s our primary goal to help our business continue to thrive.
Q. What inspired you to make your gift in the form of a matching challenge?
A. I saw how well a matching challenge can work when my wife, Melissa, and I hosted an event for a local animal organization and offered a matching challenge to those who attended. It made a big difference in how much was donated, and then that amount was doubled by our match. We hope people will give larger gifts to PCRM as a result of the matching challenge than they might have otherwise.
Inspired by the Dubman’s generosity and action? If you are not yet a Steward and would like to become one, we welcome your gift today.
PCRM Stewards (members who give $1,000 to PCRM annually) receive invitations to participate in Dr. Neal Barnard’s quarterly conference call, periodic special updates from Dr. Barnard, and invitations to special PCRM events.
Interested in offering your own matching challenge for PCRM? Contact Craig Ziskin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-686-2210, ext. 374, for more information.