Fallout from Savers accusations begins, as MN nonprofit severs ties with chain

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A Minnesota nonprofit officially cut ties with the Savers thrift store company after a state official criticized the chain for the amount of money it kicked back to its partners.

Annandale-based True Friends announced Wednesday it will no longer work with Savers, the Pioneer Press reports, saying the recent accusations against the chain showed practices that are "not aligned with our values."

The split comes just two days after Minnesota's attorney general Lori Swanson accused Savers of pocketing money that should be going back to charities the chain works with.

In Swanson's report, she says Savers would solicit donations from people while using the name of a charity (such as True Friends). Savers would pick up and sort the donations, then sell them back to the public at their stores, and return a portion of the money from those sales back to the charities, it says.

But Swanson claims Savers gives back only pennies on the dollar for the value of donated clothing, and returns nothing at all for donations that are not clothing – while publicly creating the impression they give back much more.

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True Friends, which runs camps for people with disabilities, is one of a handful of nonprofits Swanson focused on in her report. The Star Tribune says True Friends had a relationship with Savers for six years.

Swanson was also critical of True Friends and the other nonprofits, saying they let Savers deceive the public and did not properly oversee their agreements, the Pioneer Press reported.

Savers is a privately-held national chain based in the Seattle area. It has more than $1 billion in annual sales and operates 15 stores in Minnesota under the names Savers, Unique Thrift and Value Thrift.

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