What's the real deal with Goodwill?

They bend over backwards to make themselves look like an incorporated philanthropy, but are they really? I have my doubts. I’ve tried to do research on my own, but have gotten nowhere. I’m not saying that they’re evil overlords or anything; I just don’t know.


List your doubts, and we can address them.

The are non-profit. They accept and resell various items. “Philanthropy” is your word. Is it their creed, tag line, mission purpose, etc? I don’t think so.

Upon my visits to donate, I have been helped by people who were recently homeless, incarcerated, are disabled or doing community service sentences. That fits with what their mission is.

They are, according to a founder: a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted.

From what I can tell, that’s who they are in a nutshell.

I am trying to figure out what you doubts are. It takes people resources to accept and manage the donations, shipping, resale, clerical, etc. They fill many positions with people who face challenges around employability, etc.

They not only train people to work in their stores, but train them to work in a myriad of different occupations.

The thrift stores are how they fund the training centers.

There have been controversies in some Goodwill’s about the level of pay given to the local CEO. I tried to google it to get a cite and came across reference to issues in Oregon. You can find a small amount about it under “Goodwill Industries” in wikipedia.

Overall I think the consensus is they do good work and perform a valuable service.

What about the housing for the Salvation Army bigwigs? There was a big thing about that last year, they were given free or cheap rent at expensive houses, yet the S.A. marches on. (The only thing that bothers me about organizations like this is hearing stories, every so often, of greedy ragpickers (managers, usually) who go through all the donated stuff before it’s even sorted out, and they take, or buy for cheap, the good stuff to sell on eBay. My daughter worked at Thrifty Shopper and when she spotted something in the store that she wanted to buy, she was not even allowed to set it aside to buy later, she had to wait until her shift was up.)

The pay issue, for the record, was regarding the/a CEO making a salary considered unreasonably high for a non-profit organization. I see here, that (annoyingly, they dont make it clear if this is THE president, or if its for Oregon) the salary was $838k – not pennies. Beyond all that, having worked for Goodwill (I actually came there through a temp agency, of all things), I can say that I was impressed with the organization. They basically run a very tight ship, and keep their eye on the bottom line – as the dude who did a lot of the pricing, I can assure you that I wasn’t letting anything valuable slip away for a pittance. When in doubt, eBay was my guide. But, yeah, everything mentioned here is true: their purpose is to provide aid to those in need, with a particular focus on job training and other “life skills”.

At the Goodwill stores in my area, the staff is not allowed to set aside or buy anything until it’s been on the floor for 10 days. I don’t know anything about other organizations.

I would be surprised if Goodwill allows employees to set aside any merchandise for their own purchase. Regional Goodwill organizations have their own eBay IDs and sell all the good stuff online for the benefit of Goodwill, so it would be highly unlikely they would allow employees to pick over the contributions first.

What does the Salvation Army have to do with Goodwill Industries? Are they related in some way?

A good friend of mine runs the San Diego GW operation. They employ 700+ people here, almost all of which would otherwise be on the street. They learn skills that allow them to move on to other jobs. BTW, he doesn’t make a lot of money. He answers to a very strict and dedicated board of directors.

I’ve never had any problem with Goodwill. At least they don’t waste peoples’ time and resources by holding meetings on company time like friggin’ United Way. United Way also had problems with executivesembezzling.

Uh, I’d be very unhappy if my company held its meetings on my personal time…

That’s a novel excuse!

I think that he is talking about companies allowing United Way to come in pitch for donations during employees regular work time; thus holding them hostage and strong arming them to donate thru your companies management. Yeah, I don’t care for United Way either. But Good Will and Salvation Army are good; I have a great job, but prefer to shop for cloths there and nobody can tell a differance between what I buy there and at Macy’s most of the time. And they help out people in need, I give them both a big thumbs up.