I Used to be a Goodwill Snob!

Yes, I admit it!  I used to be a real snob about shopping at Goodwill or any other thrift store for that matter!  Those places were for people who couldn’t afford to shop at TJ Maxx!  Even when Gayla and I started going to Goodwill to find our craft project supplies, I was embarrassed to go in and mortified when I saw someone I knew!   I would even dress in my crappiest sweats just to “fit in”.  But I started seeing all the great things you could get there for great prices and my viewpoint changed.   Not only did we get great craft supplies for really really cheap, I began to find clothes that were name brand, stylish and hardly or, if ever, worn.  Gayla is the real expert when it comes finding the best clothes deals at GW.   She has outfits that really turn heads and only cost a few dollars.

Thank God I’m not a Thrift Store Snob anymore!  I can’t even imagine how many great deals I missed out on!  Now any city I am in, I look for a Goodwill!  It’s like going to the best garage sales in the wealthiest neighborhoods but under one roof.  However, the BEST Goodwill I have been to, to-date, is in Andover, Kansas.  It’s a small suburb outside of Wichita.  Even though it only has a population of around 12,000, a high percentage of those people are wealthy!  AND those people donate, donate and donate!  When I go back to Wichita, it is the first place I go.

Because we love Goodwill so much and it is key to finding my project supplies, I wanted to find out a bit more about this organization.  I did some research and summarized what I found  below.  It made me love Goodwill even more!

The Drive Behind Goodwill


Goodwill provides training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages who seek greater independence.


  • Respect. We treat one another with dignity and fairness. We appreciate the diversity of our workforce, the special needs of our participants, and the uniqueness of each employee.
  • Integrity. We say what we mean, we deliver what we promise, and we stand for what is right in our dealings with customers, employees, donors, suppliers and communities.
  • Trust. We build confidence and collaboration through teamwork, open communication, and alliances with others who share our goals.
  • The power of work. We believe in the power of work to transform lives, provide individuals with independence and dignity, and improve the quality of life in communities.
  • Operational excellence. We pursue operational excellence through sustained, systematic improvement of all processes by which we deliver value to our customers.

Its History

Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.

Dr. Helms’ vision set an early course for what today has become a $4 billion nonprofit organization. Helms described Goodwill Industries 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.”

Times have changed, but Helms’ vision remains constant: “We have courage and are unafraid. With the prayerful cooperation of millions of our bag contributors and of our workers, we will press on till the curse of poverty and exploitation is banished from mankind.”

An Overview

Goodwill® has a more than 110 year-plus track record in providing services that meet critical human needs in local communities in the U.S., Canada, and 14 other countries. Goodwill is a leading social services enterprise, and consistently ranks among top charities that make your donations go further.

Goodwill Industries International earns $5 billion revenue per year, and spend about 83 cents of every dollar on programs and services for people in need. This is a very healthy number in the nonprofit world, and a solid indicator of their commitment to good stewardship of the donations they receive.

Goodwill meets the needs of job seekers, including programs for youth, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds and other specialized needs. Last year, Goodwill helped more than 26.4 million people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care, to name a few — and get the supporting services they needed to be successful — such as English language training, additional education, or access to transportation and child care.

2014 Results

  • 89 million total employment and community services
  • 318,000 people placed into employment.  As a result of the educational credentials attained, these individuals increased their collective lifetime earnings by more than $11 billion
  • 26.4 million total persons served
  • 2 million people received job training and placement services through Goodwill agencies
  • More than 24 million people used Goodwill mobile and online learning to improve their skills or accessed virtual services, which constituted an increase of nearly three times the number from 2013

Interesting Facts 

  • Clothing and other items that don’t sell are bundled and sold to consumers“ by the pound”.
  • The clothing items that are stained are sorted into ‘rag’ piles and are sold to other companies.
  • “Onsies” shoes are given to places where people use prosthetics.
  • Books are a low-profit item but many are now being sold on Amazon for a larger profit and funds are given back to the store of receipt. What doesn’t sell is recycled.
  • Many donations are dropped of in cardboard boxes. They now recycle these boxes.


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