These Goodwill Facts Will Make You Feel Optimistic, Must Read

Sridevi Tolety
Jan 23, 2024 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Mar 03, 2022
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
Fact-checked by Shreya Yadav
One of the interesting Goodwill facts is the logo of this company which is the letter 'G' written in a different style that resembles a smiley face.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

Goodwill Industries provides employment to veterans and uneducated people with no prior employment experience.

Goodwill was established in the year 1902 and has been influencing lives and providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities since then. This nonprofit organization also conducts training for jobs, employment services, and various other community-based programs.

Goodwill is not owned by anyone in particular and is managed by a group of respectable leaders in the business world and a volunteer board of directors. This group of leaders, along with CEO and President Steven C. Preston, provide suggestions and guidance for the organization to run effectively. Read on to know more about such interesting facts.

History Of Goodwill Industries

In the year 1902 as a part of his ministry, Edgar J. Helms established the Goodwill stores. Helms and his group collected discarded household articles and clothes in the wealthy parts of the city and then gathered unemployed and distressed people, employed and trained them to fix these discarded articles. These articles and clothes were then distributed among the poor and needy people.

The idea behind starting Goodwill Industries was to fight poverty but not with charity but with skills and giving the poor and unemployed an opportunity to do constructive work. There were no such programs by the government to support the people in need. Resolved to provide a helping hand, Helms carried a bag on his back and went door to door requesting the well-to-do people of Boston to donate shoes, furniture, and clothes. Underprivileged men and women were hired as employees and helped to repair the received goods. This way, they were given an opportunity to learn new trades and sharpen their skills. These goods were then put to resale, and the income received from them was used to pay the wages of these employees.

Helms helped the spread of Goodwill Industries across the United States. The opportunities provided to the employees gave them dignity, independence, confidence, and hope. Read on to know more about Goodwill Industries.

Operations Of Goodwill Industries

The Goodwill stores in Milwaukee were established in the year 1919, and its headquarters were at the Summerfield Methodist Church on East Park Place. The '30s Great Depression led to around 25% of unemployment in the Milwaukee County. The innovation by Goodwill served more than 30,000 needy families with food and clothing in association with the Red Cross.

In the '40s, during World War II, Goodwill services introduced the internationally renowned 'case management' model that provided personalized services to all participants. In the year 1960, Goodwill expanded its base to Wisconsin. A highly developed rehabilitation center was established, which was one of the largest freestanding Goodwill buildings in the US. Many people approached for the services throughout Wisconsin and also the neighboring states. In the '70s, Goodwill started many innovative programs to provide employment experience and other support services for people with disabilities.

In the '90s, Goodwill recognized the need for staffing development. Goodwill services were awarded the largest food service contract from the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Program. Goodwill stores in Portland, Oregon, which are part of the Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette, received around 84 million pounds of used goods as donations in the year 1999. That was when Goodwill had also launched the first-ever nonprofit internet site in the US. Also, the Goodwill organization in Wisconsin was merged with metropolitan Chicago.

The clothes and the household goods received as donations by Goodwill were sold in more than 3,200 Goodwill retail stores. Goodwill Industries has established its nonprofit organization in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, and eleven more countries. In the US and Canada, there are around 156 local goodwill stores. Every Goodwill has one chief executive and a volunteer board of directors.

The major amount of funds received by Goodwill is through retail stores, thrift stores, and online stores. In 2011 Goodwill started an online program called 'GoodProspects', where people can get advice and guidance about various career options from people who are experienced and experts in that particular field.

Policies Of Goodwill Industries

The primary aim of Goodwill is to boost the quality of life of individuals and their families by removing barriers and providing employment to the people. Goodwill focuses on areas like employment and skills attainment, economic mobility, and nonprofit social enterprise. Goodwill is the leading non-profit organization that provides skill training, jobs, and also other programs for people looking for a secure job.

Goodwill has its own donation policies, which also includes the list of items that are acceptable as a donation. This nonprofit organization accepts only items that can be fixed and resold, be it in retail stores, online stores, or as bulk. Goodwill conducted a Women Veterans initiative which was a part of the Joining Forces Campaign of the First Ladies of the United States, Michelle Obama, and Jill Biden. Goodwill recruited around 1,800 veterans and military family members, and in the year 2013, an initiative to employ 3,000 women employees was launched.

The vision of Goodwill is 'Everyone is working and thriving in a sustainable community.'

Goodwill has its own donation policies

Criticism And Compensation

Goodwill's Portland branch came under criticism because of the high executive compensation that was paid to the president of the branch. The president of that branch received $838,508 as pay, which was over and above the minimum wage compared to other nonprofit organizations' executives.

An article published in the year 2013 mentioned that the tax returns report of Goodwill shows that more than 100 Goodwill stores paid less than the minimum wage. In the year 2018, a video was released claiming that Mark Curran owned Goodwill and made profits of $2.3 million per year and that no charity is happening in Goodwill. The CEO at that time, Rich Cantz, responded to the false criticisms and cleared that Goodwill does give to charities and always works towards bringing an improvement in the life of each and every person with disabilities and also veterans looking for work.

The current CEO of Goodwill Industries International since 2020 is Steven Preston, who has to report to a volunteer board of directors.

Each Goodwill organization is managed at a local level, meaning that the board of directors decides employees' compensation with complete transparency. In the year 2010, Goodwill started a store in California, San Francisco, which was specially designed to hire transgender, gay, or lesbian employees. In other same year, Goodwill also started the Donate Movement to emphasize the value donated articles have for needy people and also the planet. On its centenary in 2002, Goodwill started an international workforce development initiative to accommodate 20 million people into the organization by the year 2020.


Q: Does Goodwill actually help anyone?

A: Yes. Goodwill helps people with disabilities and veterans with employment-related services.

Q: How much of Goodwill goes to charity?

A: On average, for every dollar earned by Goodwill, it donates 90 cents to charity.

Q: What should I know about Goodwill?

A: Goodwill is a non-profit organization, and the Goodwill stores support the programs of Goodwill's mission.

Q: What is the purpose of Goodwill?

A: The purpose of Goodwill is to help people who have disabilities or facing social disadvantages with employment and training.

Q: Is Goodwill a nonprofit organization?

A: Yes. Goodwill is a nonprofit organization.

Q: How much does the CEO of Goodwill make?

A: The CEO of Goodwill makes around $730,000.

Q: What does Goodwill do?

A: Goodwill is a nonprofit organization that provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities.

Q: How much does Goodwill donate?

A: In 2018 Goodwill generated a revenue of $6.1 billion and it donated $5.7 billion on charitable services. So about 86% of its revenue was donated to charities.

Q: Is Goodwill a franchise?

A: No. Goodwill Industries International Inc. is a non-profitable organization in America.

Q: Is Goodwill a corporation?

A: Yes. Goodwill Industries International Inc. is a corporation.

Q: What does Goodwill do with donations?

A: Goodwill gets most of its funds from the retail thrift stores, and it uses these funds to help people by providing training, and conducting employment programs.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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