You Asked, We Answered

Some of the most frequently asked questions are answered here.

Is Goodwill a for-profit company?
Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia is designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In fact, ours is the oldest nonprofit workforce development organization in Virginia, and is one of 152 autonomous, nonprofit Goodwill organizations nationwide that are each governed by a local volunteer board of directors.

Where does the money go?
As a nonprofit, we reinvest revenues from social enterprises to support our mission services and operations. In 2019 our Goodwill has helped place more than 2,300 job seekers with community employers and provided ongoing support to ensure their stability. The people we serve face a variety of challenges, and they never have to pay a penny for personalized career development and job placement services.

Guidestar, the world’s largest and most compete source of information on nonprofit organizations, includes our profile, which is “platinum” rated for transparency.

Is Goodwill’s CEO paid a multimillion-dollar salary?
No. The internet rumor mill is full of grossly inflated Goodwill CEO salary information. Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia’s IRS Form-990 includes the salaries of our CEO and executive team and can be found on our website or on GuideStar.com.

The CEO’s salary is set by the board of directors’ Compensation Committee, which considers benchmarking studies of comparable positions as well as the scope of responsibilities for our Goodwill. Duties include leading a values-based organization with 1,430 associates, a $79,000,000 operating budget, and a wide variety of state, federal and local regulatory and compliance requirements. Our CEO’s earnings total less than 0.65% of our annual operating budget.

Do you pay people less than minimum wage?
No. Our starting wages for retail associates is $10.50 per hour. We have a comprehensive benefits package and provide opportunities for advancement. In fact, 75% of our retail management positions are filled through promotions.

What about people with disabilities?
 We recognize that individuals with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to individuals without disabilities, and for decades we have worked to bridge that imbalance.

Goodwill’s mission centers on helping people who face challenges to securing and retaining employment. We work with Virginia’s Dept. of Aging and Rehabilitative Services to provide vocational programs to train and employ people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.

Goodwill’s Group Supported Employment Program provides employment opportunities and ongoing supervision to individuals with documented disabilities in an integrated employment setting.  Group Supported Employment employees work with Goodwill skills trainers who help to assess their abilities, develop career plans, coordinate with their families and caregivers, and provide positive reinforcement and coaching. These associates start at $7.75 per hour and work 25 hours per week.

Are there opportunities for people with disabilities to work at places besides Goodwill?
For associates with disabilities who aim to work in an alternative integrated setting, we help them develop the skills and behaviors needed to move into independent employment throughout the community.

We also offer Individual Supported Employment, a program in which our skills trainers meet with clients at their (non-Goodwill) workplaces, help facilitate communication or concerns with their employers, and ensure that they have the supports to remain independently employed. This program is supported by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).

Who is Mark Curran?
Mark Curran is a fictional Goodwill “owner” described in a widely circulated document on the internet. (Tip: no one “owns” a nonprofit.) The so-called “Think Before You Donate” document contains inaccurate information about several well-known and respected nonprofits, including UNICEF and the American Red Cross.

The Curran myth has been debunked numerous times, including this 2017 update from Snopes, a well-regarded internet fact-checking source. Goodwill Industries International Inc.’s official statement on the false information can also be found on its website.

What do you do with unsold items?
At Goodwill, we value the donations that people entrust to support our mission, and we work to maximize the impact of each gift. Items that don’t sell in the retail stores may be transferred to our two outlet stores, our auction center, or our ecommerce division. 

The reality is that retail thrift shoppers generally do not purchase donated clothing that is stained, ripped or missing a button. (Well, here’s a fun exception. A Hollywood production needed a bunch of clothes to be scattered around a plane crash set, so the condition of the clothes was not important. The set designer bought several cart-loads at our outlet and barely inspected the items!)

We bundle and sell those less-than-perfect textiles – which have commodity pricing of pennies per pound – through brokers in North America who re-sell them to recyclers and other distributors. Recycled textiles can be found in asphalt, garden furniture and insulation, just to name a few of the innovative uses.

Other items we recycle include books (after we let school librarians take their picks for free), electronics, metal, cardboard and plastics. 

Last year our Goodwill kept nearly 1,000,000 pounds of electronics out of landfills. We repair and resell them through our two E-Recycle stores, after removing all data from computer hard drives, of course. We ship unusable electronics to Dell Reconnect facilities where they are disassembled even further to recycle parts and keep toxic materials out of the environment.

If you’d like to learn more, consider taking a Goodwill Works tour.

Unemployment is so low. Do people really need help getting jobs?
Yes. Many of the people we provide free services to have experienced discrimination due to disabilities, age or national origin; some need second chances following incarceration; others face major life transitions such as divorce or an employer going out of business, and they have not had to conduct a job search in decades. About one-fourth of the people we serve do not have a high school diploma. 

We work with people one-on-one to provide assessments, career planning, skills training, coaching, resume writing and interview preparation. We also work with employers to learn about their cultures and hiring needs, and we maintain an active database of available employment opportunities. We want them to acquire the skills needed to become employable and enjoy career growth. 

To ensure sustained employment, we offer 12 months of personal success coaching to help people navigate and address challenges that may jeopardize their new employment.

Our mission is changing lives…helping people help themselves through the power of work. We believe that work is a foundation for empowering individuals, strengthening families and building prosperous communities.

Why don’t you accept mattresses and old Cathode Ray Tube televisions?
To protect our associates and customers we cannot accept used mattresses. Health and sanitation laws would require the donated mattresses to be sanitized and refurbished before being resold in our stores; this process isn’t cost effective and would reduce the revenue available to fund workforce development programs and services.

Cathode Ray Tube televisions are expensive to recycle and virtually impossible to sell in our retail stores. Accepting these as donations would be expensive to process and dispose of them properly, thus would have a negative impact on funding for mission services.