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LAST UPDATED: December 26th, 2022
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.

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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.
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170 Reviews

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Rabbi Setton New York, NY

In a world where the rest of is are trying to be environmentally conscious, Goodwill is destroying mercandise with a price ticket that destroys the merchandise when the buyer takes home the item and tries to get the price sticker off. I bought six Christmas gifts there this year, and none of them are able to be given out as gifts, before no matter how carefully I try to remove the price label, it ruined every one of the six items. So my money is wasted, and they are filling up the landfills. If you have something to donate that someone can reuse and get some purpose out of, give it to any other thrift shop, so that it doesn't end up in the landfill and people like me get ripped off with a toy or other gift that can't get the price label from Goodwill off of it. I'd like to know what genius in the corporate office approved the use of these labels that ruin the stuff, that they were given for free, by nice people like me and you, that they sell for money. And they can't even do that right?!?!?

1 month ago

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Sharon Arlington, VA

Hello, I've been frequenting Sterling Virginia Goodwill ever since I bought my home 20 years ago. I was BADLY treated by the cashier and will never return. I’m a busy executive. I walked in the store 830PM and quickly found several movies, most of which were for my elderly father. Each had a price tag, and I ensured each had a DVD. The cashier was very unfriendly. He COMPLAINED TO ME as he barked "THIS does not have a price tag" "so I cannot sell it to you." I calmly said but we know the price is $2.99, since it's on the sign where the DVD movies are. He barked POLICY IS I CANNOT SELL YOU. When I said but it's for my 88 year old father, he held up a sign w/store policy cannot sell w/no price. I said I wont be back. Minutes later, I called and calmly told the answering person. He then YELLED about me to a coworker, and said this person obviously doesn’t get it, and then he yelled at me to "never come back." I will tell everybody I know my experience today. I will never return to any Goodwill store again. The treatment of me was abhorent, and something I will never forget. Please train your employees to treat the customer respectfully. I have breast cancer, and do not deserve what occurred tonight. Any employee who treats a customer this way should be fired immediately.

3 years ago

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william farmer Fruitland Park, FL

my wife and i drove 15 miles to the oxford fl. location with about 20 items to donate. admittedly the items were all used and had been in a storage shed for quite a long time. we were told, by the employee, they couldn't take the items because " nobody would buy this stuff". so rather than drive to a landfill, we hauled it back home and sat it all out at the end of our driveway. amazingly it was all gone in 4 hours. i thought goodwill took things and repaired them to provide jobs, thats what they did when we were young. apparently not so now. i will cease shopping at goodwill now, they would be happier if you just drop off a check.

3 years ago

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Anita State College, PA

At the end of December, my husband and I, who have been donating to Goodwill for 15 years, donated a carload full of toys and clothing items. We were a little rushed and distracted trying to watch our little ones as we packed up the car and accidentally placed a box of items that we were saving forever (first outfits, blankets) in the car. We IMMEDIATELY realized the mistake and returned within minutes of our donation and asked for the box back. We offered to even buy everything back. But the person working at dropoff did not care (probably because it was the end of the day), saying that it was too late and everything had already been "sorted". He said that we would have to go through the store over the next few days and cherry pick our items. So we traveled back to Goodwill twice a day for several days only to find two items. After speaking with management and corporate about the situation, we were informed that a truck had most likely picked up the remainder of our items and taken them about an hour away where they would be "sorted" through over the course of MONTHS! Nothing ever came of it, despite regular followup with them. We were told that our missing items we're added to a search list but not to expect anything out of it. Probably because no one was searching. We begged to look ourselves from day one but were continually denied the opportunity. It's been three months now, and we continue to search the store in the hopes that something else turns up, even though we are given the cold shoulder by Goodwill employees. Some employees look at each other when I walk in and roll their eyes or smirk...incredibly cruel given that I have lost such sentimental items. I am so torn up over this that I cannot even fathom ever supporting "Badwill" in any way ever again. This has been a nightmare situation that could have quickly been solved from the start. Absolutely the worst company to deal with. I wish I could have given negative stars.

3 years ago

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Ellie lamaire Holland, MI

Went shopping at the standale goodwill, the cashier called the manager, there was a goodwill emoloyee infront of me, from the G.W. offices i believe, and gets a discount, the cashier gave her such a bad time, then she called a manager and she was rude to the lady, i was imbarresed for her, they were telling her shes probally not in the system, and couldnt get her discount ,before they even looked it up? Then they looked it up ,she was in the computer. It formed a long line, and other customers were not impressed how they treated her, just rude, for no reason, i dont belive ill be going back there

3 years ago

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W Parks Meadow Vista, CA

Goodwill NO LONGER helps you unload items if you’re off loading at a regular store!!!! I took several HEAVY boxes of VERY nice items to donate......I’m considered a senior citizen (well into my 60’s)and asked if they didn’t help unload anymore.....response was NO. Look, when you’re willing to donate nearly new items for their benefit it’d be nice to have some support when unloading. I have decided that I will NEVER again donate or shop at a Goodwill again. Trust’s their loss. I will GO OUT OF MY WAY to donate ANYWHERE *****but*****Goodwill from now on. Lousy, lousy, LOUSY customer service. Disappointing.

4 years ago

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Nancy l Binkley Loveland, CO


2 years ago

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Bridget Hopkins Denver, CO

I went to a Goodwill store off of Broadway that I go to all the time spend hundreds of dollars and that Goodwill today I go and there has been change of staff and all of the new staff are rude I was waiting for help to see this showcase and the new associate said he didn't even have to come and show me the Showcase I'm lucky he came I am beside myself I have never visit so many Goodwill's lately and the staff and the employees are so rude they need training

4 years ago

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Lucia Dallas, TX

I have donated to good will for many years and the time that I've needed help they have turned me down. All i needed was help with furniture and appliances because im homless and my daughter has luekimia. I'm not asking for money this place gets so many donations and they can't help with that i had been referred from goodwill to call for help and they turn me down. I will never donate to them again this place doesn't help or car about people they just want your free stuff to make money for them.

4 years ago

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Claudia Williams Port Arthur, TX

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

5 years ago