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USAF 7 Summits Challenge
Founded 2005 (Boston, Massachusetts)
Founder Robert M. Marshall
Mark C. Uberuaga
53-0196517, 04-2106765
Focus Vocational Rehabilitation for Disabled Persons
Area served
Global (17 countries)
Products Retail
$3.53 billion (2012)
Website 15810 Indianola Dr Rockville, Maryland, United States 20855[1]

Goodwill Industries International Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities. In addition, Goodwill Industries may hire Veterans, individuals that lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. Goodwill is funded by a massive network of retail thrift stores which operate as nonprofits as well. Goodwill's answer to its profit status is "As a unique hybrid called a social enterprise, we defy traditional distinctions. Instead of a single bottom line of profit, we hold ourselves accountable to a triple bottom line of people, planet, and performance."[2]

Goodwill operates as a network of 165 independent, community-based organizations in Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Uruguay, the United States, Canada and 8 other countries.[3] In 2011, Goodwills collectively earned more than $4 billion, and used 82 percent of that revenue to provide employment, training and support services to more than 4.2 million individuals.[4][5]

Goodwill's logo, a stylized letter g, resembles a smiling face. It was designed by Joseph Selame in 1968.[6]

Currently Goodwill has two spokespeople helping spread the word about its mission. Organization expert Lorie Marrero is the face of the Donate Movement, which began in 2010, and ABC correspondent Evette Rios joined Goodwill's cause in 2012 to help appeal to the Latin American market.[7][8]

Vision statement[edit]

In this pledge, Goodwill promises to fulfill the goals of success within each individual:

"We at Goodwill Industries will be satisfied only when every person in the global community has the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential as an individual and to participate and contribute fully in all aspects of a productive life." [9]


A Goodwill in Brooklyn

In 1902, Reverend Edgar J. Helms of Morgan Methodist Chapel in Boston, Massachusetts started Goodwill as a mission of his ministry.[10] Helms and his congregation collected used household goods and clothing being discarded in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired the unemployed or bereft to mend and repair them. The products were then redistributed to those in need or were given to the needy people who helped to repair them. In 1915, Helms hosted a visit to Morgan Memorial by representatives of a workshop mission in Brooklyn, NY, and they learned about the innovative programs and the operating techniques of the "Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores, Inc." Helms was subsequently invited to visit in New York. Out of these exchanges came Brooklyn's willingness to adopt and adapt the Morgan Memorial way of doing things, while Helms was persuaded that Brooklyn's name for its workshop, "Goodwill Industries," was a marked improvement over the Morgan Memorial name. Thus was officially born Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, and that, plus Brooklyn's interest and ties, became the foundation on which Goodwill Industries was to be built as an international movement.[11]

Today Goodwill has become an international nonprofit that takes in more than $4.8 billion in annual revenue and provides more than six million people with job training and community services each year.[4] Helms described Goodwill as an "industrial program as well as a social service enterprise...a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted."


Goodwill Industries thrift store Canton, Michigan

In 1999, over 84 million pounds of food were donated to the stores in Portland, Oregon, part of the Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette (GICW). Around the same year, Goodwill launched the first and only nonprofit internet auction site in the United States. By 2004, Goodwill Industries International had a network of 207 member organizations in the United States, Canada, and 23 other countries.[9] As of July 2011, there are 165 full Goodwill members in the United States and Canada. These are each independent social enterprises that operate their own regional Goodwill retail stores and job training programs. Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Boston, is the enterprise operated in Boston, where Goodwill was founded.[12]

The clothing and household goods donated to Goodwill are sold in more than 2,600 Goodwill retail stores[4] on its Internet auction site,, and as well on eBay by a number of its regional stores.[13] Most of the items on are items that are considered most valuable. Each regional store will ship out what they deem valuable, so that the items will be purchased for what they are worth. Antiques, collectibles, jewelry, comic books, furniture, and even automobiles are some of the items found on this website. The revenues fund job training and other services to prepare people for job success. Examples of Goodwill's presence on eBay are Goodwill Industries of Seattle, Maine, San Francisco, and many other locations. Goodwill locations that operate on eBay research donated items for higher profit than could be brought in-store, and instead list those items on eBay for auction. In 2010, through their involvement in Goodwill's programs, more than 170,000 people were placed into employment. They earned $2.7 billion in salaries and wages, and as tax-paying citizens, they contributed to the community.[14] Goodwill also generates income in order to help businesses and the federal government fill gaps caused by labor shortages, time constraints and limited space or equipment. Local Goodwill branches train and employ contract workers to fill outsourced needs for document management, assembly, mailing, custodial work, grounds keeping and more. Goodwill claims that more than 84 percent of its total revenue is used to fund education and career services and other critical community programs.[4] In 2010, Goodwill has provided people with training careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care as well as offering English-language training, education, transportation, and child care services.[14]

When merchandise cannot be sold at a normal Goodwill store, it is taken to a 'Goodwill Outlet' or 'Bargain Store.' Items are mostly sold by weight, with prices ranging from $0.49 to $1.69 per pound, depending on the location. The wide selection and massive discounts on a variety of household goods typically attract a fervent following of regular customers, some of whom make a full-time living buying and re-selling goods. There are also many vendors who buy this merchandise in bulk, and they send the merchandise to third world countries.

Charity Watch rates the Goodwill Industries an "A".[15]

Castro pop up[edit]

In November, 2010, for the first time, Goodwill opened a store specifically designed to hire employees who are transgender and gender-queer in San Francisco, CA. The temporary or "Pop-up" store was a unique partnership between Goodwill of San Francisco and Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative. The Castro Pop-up store closed in April 2011, but the staff were relocated to various Goodwill stores throughout San Francisco.[16]

POP! at South by Southwest[edit]

Goodwill Industries International and Goodwill Industries of Central Texas (Austin) hosted their first pop-up retail shop, POP!, at South by Southwest in 2013. Goodwill has been around for more than 110 years, but in recent years has revamped its retail strategy to include boutiques, trunk shows and other venues that appeal to a younger audience. During the POP! shop, consumers chose from a selection of unique items, including vintage and contemporary fashions and accessories, and designer labels. Revenue generated from the shop are helping put people to work in Austin. Spokespeople Evette Rios and Lorie Marrero were on hand for the event.[17]


In 2010, Goodwill launched the Donate Movement to demonstrate the value that donated goods have for people and the planet. Goodwill’s vision for the Donate icon is a universal reminder to ‘recycle’ through responsible donation, helping provide opportunities for others while diverting usable items from landfills.[18]

21st-century initiative[edit]

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 2002, Goodwill Industries launched an international workforce development initiative designed to integrate 20 million people into the workplace by the year 2020.

Known as the Goodwill Industries 21st Century Initiative, the plan includes broad strategies for getting people into good jobs that enable them to become self-sufficient. These strategies include providing job and technology training for a 21st-century workforce, offering family strengthening services to support workers and their families, and developing business opportunities to employ individuals who were previously considered unemployable.[19]

Women Veterans initiative[edit]

As part of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces campaign, Goodwill has hired nearly 1,800 veterans and military family members, and has served nearly 100,000 more with job training and placement services.

In June 2013, Goodwill announced an initiative with the goal of engaging 3,000 women veterans over the next two years with services and support that lead to economic self-sufficiency.[19]

Donation policies[edit]

Goodwill donation bin at a Safeway store

Goodwill has various policies on donations, including items that they can and cannot accept. Broadly speaking, Goodwill will accept items that they can re-sell, either in the retail stores or as bulk lots.

Goodwill generally will not accept donations of auto parts, furniture showing signs of damage, large appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, washers/dryers, or exercise equipment. Most stores also cannot accept hazardous materials like paint, medications, or building materials such as doors, wood, nails, etc. For liability reasons, Goodwill generally will not accept baby cribs or car seats. Sanitary regulations prohibit Goodwill from accepting mattress donations, and although some Goodwills do sell brand new mattresses most Goodwills can not. Recently, due to safety concerns (in particular, concerns over lead content in painted products), some Goodwill stores will not accept some toys, particularly those made in China.[20]

Goodwill will generally always accept donations of clothing, shoes, books, accessories (handbags, belts), dishes, pieces of furniture in good condition, household decorations, and consumer electronics (ex. alarm clocks, blenders, etc.). Even if they are deemed unfit to be sold in Goodwill's retail stores, these items can be sold as bulk lots, and thus can still generate income.

Depending on regional laws, the value of the goods donated can be used as a tax deduction.


In 2005, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette (GICW), Goodwill's Portland, Oregon branch, came under scrutiny due to executive compensation that the Oregon attorney general's office concluded was "unreasonable."The President of the Portland, Oregon branch - Michael Miller, received $838,508 in pay and benefits for fiscal year 2004, which was reportedly out of line in comparison to other charity executives and placed him in the top one percent of American wage earners. After being confronted with the state's findings, Miller agreed to a 24% reduction in pay, and GICW formed a new committee and policy for handling matters of employee compensation.[21][22]

Goodwill Industries International has been criticized by some for using a provision of federal labor law to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. Under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, organizations can obtain a "special wage certificate" to pay workers with disabilities a commensurate wage based on performance evaluations.[23] 7,300 of Goodwill's 105,000 employees are paid under the special wage certificate program.[24] The National Federation of the Blind considers it "unfair, discriminatory, and immoral."[25] Other disability rights advocates have defended Goodwill's use of the special wage certificate to employ workers with disabilities. Terry Farmer, CEO of ACCSES, a trade group that calls itself the "voice of disability service providers," said scrapping the provision could "force [disabled workers] to stay at home," enter rehabilitation, "or otherwise engage in unproductive and unsatisfactory activities." [26] Goodwill believes that the policy is "a tool to create employment for people with disabilities" who would not otherwise be employed.[27] Goodwill notes that "Eliminating it would remove an important tool for employers and an employment option available to people with severe disabilities and their families. Without the law, many people with disabilities could lose their jobs." [28] Goodwill has urged Congress to "support legislation that would strengthen the FLSA and increase its enforcement," and to "preserve opportunities for people with disabilities who would otherwise lose the chance to realize the many tangible and intangible benefits of work." [29] A 2013 FLSA fact sheet from Goodwill states that "Without FLSA Section 14(c), many more people with severe disabilities would experience difficulty in participating in the workforce. These jobs provide individuals with paychecks that they would be unlikely to receive otherwise, as well as ongoing services and support, job security, and the opportunity for career advancement." [30]

A 2013 article on reported that Goodwill's tax returns showed that more than 100 Goodwills pay less than minimum wage, while simultaneously paying more than $53.7 million in total compensation to top executives.[31] The former CEO of the Goodwill of Southern California was the highest paid Goodwill executive in the country. He received more than $1.1 million in total compensation. "In 2011, the Columbia Willamette Goodwill, one of the largest in the country, says it paid $922,444 in commensurate wages to approximately 250 people with developmental disabilities. These employees worked 159,584 hours for an average hourly wage of $5.78. The lowest paid worker received just $1.40 per hour."[31]

A coalition of smaller charities in California have complained about Goodwill's support for legislation encouraging greater regulation of donation boxes,[32] calling the efforts an “attempt to corner the clothing donation market and make more money.”[33] Local Goodwills have argued that donation boxes divert money from the community and contribute to blight, and have pushed for state legislation that requiree owners of a donation box to clearly display information about whether it was a for-profit or nonprofit organization.[32]

See also[edit]

  • Department of Rehabilitative Services
  • Office of Rehabilitative Services


  1. ^
  2. ^ [1] agency
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d "Goodwill Industries International: Our Mission". Goodwill Industries. 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  5. ^ Tabafunda, James (July 26, 2008). "After 85 years, Seattle Goodwill continues to improve lives". Northwest Asian Weekly. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Heller, Steven (20 April 2011). "Joseph Selame, Designer of Corporate Logos, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Evette Rios Becomes Goodwill Spokesperson" (Press release). Goodwill Industries. July 18, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b "Goodwill Industries International, Inc. - Company History". Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ For the Love of People, by John Fulton Lewis.
  12. ^ "Goodwill's History". Goodwill Industries. September 8, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  13. ^ Gladstone, Rick (May 18, 2003). "Bulletin Board; Charity in Cyberspace". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b – Autum Beel. "About Us | Goodwill Industries International, Inc". Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  15. ^ Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report, Volume Number 59, December 2011
  16. ^ Leff, Lisa (November 28, 2010). "Goodwill thrives at San Francisco thrift store". Yahoo! News. [dead link]
  17. ^ "POP!: Goodwill® Debuts First-ever Pop-up Shop At SXSW". Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "About the Donate Movement". Goodwill Industries Internaitonal. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Goodwill Industries International - Goodwill's 21st Century Initiative". Retrieved 2010-06-03.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "21stCentury" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  20. ^ Abelson, Jenn (February 27, 2009). "Lead law puts thrift stores in lurch". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  21. ^ Denson, Bryan (December 20, 2005). "Goodwill chief agrees to pay cut". National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. The Oregonian. Retrieved January 12, 2010.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  22. ^ "Response to Oregon Department of Justice Audit Report" (PDF). Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette. December 20, 2005. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  23. ^ "The Issue of Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities". National Federation of the Blind. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  24. ^ Hrabe, John (9/25/2013). "Goodwill's Charity Racket: CEOs Earn Top-Dollar, Workers Paid Less Than Minimum Wage". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 May 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  25. ^ "Americans with Disabilities to Protest Goodwill’s Subminimum Wages". Press Release. National Federation of the Blind. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "Disabled workers paid just pennies an hour – and it's legal". NBC News. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  27. ^ Hrabe, John (5/15/2013). "Goodwill Minimum Wage Loophole Will Shock You". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 May 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  28. ^ "Special Minimum Wage Q&A – and it's legal" (PDF). Goodwill White Paper. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Fair Wages Position Paper" (PDF). Goodwill White Paper. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "FLSA Section 14 Fact Sheet" (PDF). Goodwill Fact Sheet. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  31. ^ a b Hrabe, John (5/6/2013). "Policies, tax dollars enrich Goodwill execs". Retrieved 16 May 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  32. ^ a b "Goodwill pushes for greater regulation of donation boxes". 3/27/2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  33. ^ Hrabe, John (3/27/2013). "Nonprofits fight donation regulations". Retrieved 16 May 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]

Category:501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations Category:Organizations established in 1902 Category:Charities based in the United States Category:International charities Category:Social welfare charities