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Goodwill Industries International was founded by a Methodist minister, Reverend Edgar J. Helms. As part of his ministry and work to help those in need, he collected items which were discarded by more affluent households and brought them to those with whom he was working for repair and distribution. His vision of creating self sufficiency has grown to a large network of independent organizations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Panama, and Uruguay.

Each Goodwill Industries International is independently operated, and done so by region. As such policies for stores, etc. vary greatly. All information in this review is focused on the headquarters of Goodwill Industries International, which is located in Rockville, Maryland.

The Good

  • Inexpensive fundraising expenses
  • 83 percent of revenue spent on program delivery
  • Financial information is accessible

Total Income

Goodwill Industries International received $73,884,867 in 2015, down from $89,979,218 in 2014. The organization had total revenue of $53,902,760 in 2013. The dips in support coincide with false information and negative publicity.

Administrative Expenses

Goodwill Industries International reported that in 2015, of its annual income of $89,979,218, that $3,591,289 was used for administrative expenses. The CEO of Goodwill Industries International, Jim Gibbons, received a salary of $745,000 in 2013. Contrary to reports of the top management of Goodwill Industries International earning extravagant salaries, it should be noted that in 2014, Mr. Gibbons took a pay cut of over $100,000, with a salary of $639,085. This salary data is comparable to that for others in leadership positions for charitable organizations of that size and scope, and nowhere near the purported $2.3 million salary which is often circulated via email and social media posts.

Fundraising Expenses

When comparing to many other comparably-sized charitable organizations, Goodwill Industries International does not devote much of their annual revenue towards fundraising. The 2015 fundraising expense reported was only $512,072.

Program Percentage

Those supporting Goodwill Industries International are often curious about the amount of their donation (either monetary or of goods to be sold in a Goodwill's store) which goes towards the program of providing employment and training for those needing assistance. 83 percent of all revenue is spent on the program.

Accessible Financial Information

Goodwill Industries International has published their financial information and annual reports online, however the only way which the review team was able to find them was by performing a direct search on Google. Many other charitable organizations post links to their financial information and annual reports on their website.

Donor Communication

Goodwill Industries International collects their donor's contact information and may send donors solicitations for additional donations and announcements about upcoming events or programs. Donor names can be published by Goodwill International Industries, unless the donor specifically requests to opt-out.


Goodwill Industries International has won several awards for efforts in improving career opportunities for individuals. A few of these include:

2016 - Ability One Network Awards

  • Performance Excellence in Government Contracts Award: signifies the successful partnership of the Ability One Network with Goodwill agencies in providing support to individuals with disabilities.
  • Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina (Charleston)
  • Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

2016 - Awards

  • Leadership Excellence Award: recognizing Goodwill Industries International's Executive Development Program in the Best Corporate University Category
  • Top Corporate Leader Award: Lane Schonour

2011 Telly Award

  • Winner in the Not-For-Profit category for their Donate Movement public service announcements

What Customers Are Saying

Customers of Goodwill Industries International retail stores report a high level of satisfaction with the majority of their experiences with the company. While this is not absolute, because stores are managed by different affiliates, the ratio of positive to negative experiences is comparable to those reported for other retail entities.

Mission and Program
Goodwill Industries International works to offer on-the-job training for those who might have difficulties finding and keeping employment for a variety of reasons, including disability, lack of experience, or even having a criminal background. By doing so, Goodwill creates opportunities for those who are in need, giving them tools to work toward self-sufficiency.

Ease of Donation/Support
Those choosing to support Goodwill Industries can do so by giving a monetary gift or by donating household goods to a local Goodwill Center for resale in a Goodwill Industries store. Businesses looking to support Goodwill Industries International's mission can become a partner and either create a job for one of the people who have worked at Goodwill Industries International or received training from the organization.

Mutual Benefit
For those looking to donate goods to Goodwill Industries International, the process allows them to remove unwanted or unneeded items from their home. By so doing, their donation is not sent to a landfill and is repurposed into another's home. Those shopping at Goodwill Industries are able to save money on their purchases, as items at Goodwill Industries stores are priced below retail. Those working with the donations at donation centers or in the retail stores are able to receive on-the-job training and become more self-sufficient.

The Bad

  • Negative press
  • Lack of transparency

Negative Press

Almost every year and often around the holidays, an email circulates with information about various charities and the ways they are purported to use donations. Goodwill Industries International is mentioned in the email, complete with top secret information about their CEO and his salary. The biggest problem with this email is that the reported CEO of Goodwill is a person who has never been the CEO, and is otherwise unknown, Mark Curran ($2.3 million annual salary). The current CEO of Goodwill Industries International is Jim Gibbons, and his salary is proportionate with other non-profits, being $745,000 in 2013 and $639,085 in 2014.

Another allegation is that Goodwill Industries International exploits disabled workers and pays them wages as low as $0.22/hour by using Special Minimum Wage Certificates. There is some truth in this, being that the wage certificates are used with a very small percentage of employees, but there is no actual proof of a wage this low. One area which is often neglected in this allegation is that Goodwill Industries International offers employees with a significant disability additional training and benefits, which can result in these employees making more than their "abled" co-workers.

Variability of Store Policies and Practices
Being that Goodwill Industries International has many affiliates and sub-organizations which are managed independently of the charity's headquarters, there is variability in store policies and practices. The organization does not operate as a strict franchise, with uniform expectations and policies. This can be frustrating for many who want a cookie-cutter experience with the retail stores that they frequent. When there are challenges, customers are not able to escalate their concerns with higher management or to company headquarters. Doing so results in a response that all affiliates are run independently, which often further frustrates and already frustrated customer.

Lack of Transparency
Goodwill Industries International, having so many affiliate locations which are run independently, does not have full disclosure about their individual organizations. There are many who have complaints with one location and then transfer their bad experience to the organization as a whole. This is unfortunate because the program as a whole has produced good results.

The Bottom Line

The work accomplished by Goodwill Industries International has been eclipsed by inflammatory news reports or viral social media/email smear campaigns directed at some of the largest charitable organizations in the United States. Consequently, donations have steadily dropped over the last several years, but have begun to climb. The review team recommends giving to or supporting Goodwill Industries International with cash or goods donations or by shopping at its retail stores.

An area which would help improve the Goodwill Industries International's image would be higher transparency of their annual reports and financial statements. Several other organizations are far more transparent with their records, and this practice helps donors feel more confident in their selection of a charity.

User Reviews


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Claudia Williams

August 27th, 2017 Port Arthur, TX

Too high priced for the average person. They sell used Dollar Tree items for $5.



Sav Flo

June 5th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

I appreciate that there is a location were I can drop off my gently used items that I don't care for anymore and that someone else can benefit from them for a cheaper price.