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BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 01:44 PM Jan 2014

Goodwill Industries has become a complete scam

Maybe it always was, but the recent developments are really shocking to me. You are probably already familiar with their abusive practices on employee pay and their exorbitant CEO pay. HuffPo has some good articles on this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hrabe/the-worst-corporation-in-_b_1876905.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/21/goodwill-workers-disabilities-low-wage_n_3478013.html

But the depth of the scam is far greater than this, it seems to me. They have positioned themselves historically as a great charity that depends on the generosity of the public to provide a few crumbs that give the least among us a hand up and an entry into the productive work force.

BULLSHIT. The reality is nothing like that.

I started noticing over the past 5 years in my area Goodwill stores are popping up all over. I am in a low density semi-rural part of my county on the fringes of Indianapolis, and there are 4 Goodwill stores within a 6 mile radius of my house. And I'm not talking your humble thrift stores. These places are HUGE, and they all have prime retail space. Each one of these places is 2-3 times the size of an average Dollar General or Family Dollar, for point of comparison. And they all have better retail addresses than any of the Dollar Generals or Family Dollars.

So I'm thinking, how it is possible for a charity to rent such prime space, and how come we have so many of these damn things popping up.

The answer, in short, is that this is a scam. They have turned Goodwill basically into a franchise operation. Technically I don't think it is a franchise system, but the stores are owned by individuals as if franchised. They get to use the Goodwill name, reputation, and charity status to operate a tax free retail outlet that gets mostly free goods donated by an unsuspecting public. The vast majority of their employees are not disabled. They are the same people that otherwise would be working at MacDonalds or Wal*Mart.

And the profits are huge. Technically they are operated as "not for profit charities", which allows them to offer their donors a tax deduction. But there is nothing that prevents the franchisees (er I mean respected operators of these "charities&quot from paying themselves obscenely large salaries.

What is it like where you live? Are you seeing a similar situation?

Personally, I will never give them anything again. I am looking for other agencies that are legitimate charities that can use the clothing and household items I no longer need. And no, it won't be the Salvation Army, which is mostly a religious hate group.

Does anybody know any legitimate charities that will use these items for truly charitable purposes? I will ship my goodd to another area if that's what it takes.

90 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Goodwill Industries has become a complete scam (Original Post) BlueStreak Jan 2014 OP
Goodwill execs make millions on the backs of slave labor using free donated merchandise. jsr Jan 2014 #1
The thrift store industry had explosive MineralMan Jan 2014 #2
Sheltered workshops are useful in a narrow range of situations. lumberjack_jeff Jan 2014 #3
"Local chapter" = private business paying a big CEO salary BlueStreak Jan 2014 #10
I think this situation is unfortunate lumberjack_jeff Jan 2014 #13
And likewise. BlueStreak Jan 2014 #19
Agree! $250,000 compensation is more than adequate for a charity CEO salary. n/t RKP5637 Jan 2014 #26
Nobody should have to take a vow of poverty to run a charity BlueStreak Jan 2014 #28
Thanks for the suggestion about Arc BlueStreak Jan 2014 #11
I don't know if it always was, but it has been for most of my lifetime. Egalitarian Thug Jan 2014 #4
I've known this for some time. Have you ever seen how high their prices are B Calm Jan 2014 #5
Yup. Shirts cost $4.99. You could do better at the clearance rack at JCPenney. nt. SunSeeker Jan 2014 #8
I don't think that's an unreasonable price -- it they were actually a charity BlueStreak Jan 2014 #12
We go there every year to buy coats for the homeless and were shocked that their coats were 20 - 30 rhett o rick Jan 2014 #60
Wow. Glad Goodwill was cheap when I was a kid. SunSeeker Jan 2014 #66
It was much cheaper a year or two ago. nm rhett o rick Jan 2014 #67
And I have True Blue American Aug 2019 #79
Maybe other charities can learn from them. Baitball Blogger Jan 2014 #6
"easy" comes at a cost. lumberjack_jeff Jan 2014 #7
Possibly the most revealing reply on this thread. Egalitarian Thug Jan 2014 #18
Excuse me? Baitball Blogger Jan 2014 #23
Michael Miller, CEO, Goodwill Industries, pay is above $850,000. marew Jan 2014 #9
In Indianapolis, 60% of the revenue is paid out in salaries BlueStreak Jan 2014 #14
charity parasites eShirl Jan 2014 #43
How in the hell they can justify that salary is beyond me. n/t Jefferson23 Jan 2014 #35
it's a criminal number. TeamPooka Jan 2014 #44
It is with certainty criminal and repulsive. Good will, indeed..ugh. Jefferson23 Jan 2014 #57
We have a new, large facility that was finished last year. Frustratedlady Jan 2014 #15
St. Vincent de Paul reports 9% overhead. pnwmom Jan 2014 #16
HUGE THANKS !!! This is perfect BlueStreak Jan 2014 #21
We have used them and they are great. Glad this worked out for you. nt pnwmom Jan 2014 #61
It's a good second hand store to shop plus I have seen the people come in with the slips . They lunasun Aug 2019 #86
My donation group of choice Retrograde Jan 2014 #24
Good charity True Blue American Aug 2019 #80
St.Vincent de Paul is an excellent charity. gademocrat7 Aug 2019 #82
It's the same scenario in my neck of the woods Oilwellian Jan 2014 #17
We are a high unemployment area, & yes, I've noticed the same. Not only Goodwill, but big El_Johns Jan 2014 #20
omg. i shopped at one today. i always feel i'm doing good by shopping there. thx for this thread Liberal_in_LA Jan 2014 #22
In my corner of PA we seem to have the same dingy little MadrasT Jan 2014 #25
In our area it's St. Vincent DePaul who runs the soup kitchens and the shelters when the weather OregonBlue Jan 2014 #27
You mean they just help their fellow man unconditionally? BlueStreak Jan 2014 #30
They do! True Blue American Aug 2019 #81
Would Salvation Army be a better bet? mainer Jan 2014 #29
I don't reward purveyors of hate and ignorance BlueStreak Jan 2014 #32
I think in most respects SA is a better organization than Goodwill, at least from what I've seen. El_Johns Jan 2014 #51
Regarding their AIDS outreach, I wonder ... BlueStreak Jan 2014 #62
No, it was goods & housing assistance. SA basically doesn't proselytize in their El_Johns Jan 2014 #65
The goodwill stores are not franchising they are just making tons of money. Jesus Malverde Jan 2014 #31
It is "franchising" (in quotes) BlueStreak Jan 2014 #34
I'll check that out...interesting...thanks!..nt Jesus Malverde Jan 2014 #36
I donate my used clothes to local charities tabbycat31 Jan 2014 #33
Goodwill Pays Disabled Workers As Little As 22 Cents Per Hour Jesus Malverde Jan 2014 #37
+1 El_Johns Jan 2014 #54
In our area the Goodwill hires the disabled. That is all I know about the program. We also donate jwirr Jan 2014 #38
Some good alternative charities: kmlisle Jan 2014 #39
I haven't given them anything in Years!!! I give to local veterans organizations. ebbie15644 Jan 2014 #40
I have a few places where I donate items. Curmudgeoness Jan 2014 #41
It's insane. We have a "job training center" near our house... VPStoltz Jan 2014 #42
Have been nervous about Good Will zentrum Jan 2014 #45
My local Goodwill store in Santa Fe SheilaT Jan 2014 #46
Another facet of the Prison-Industrial Complex PeoViejo Jan 2014 #48
Smoke a little pot, you now become free labor for these con artists BlueStreak Jan 2014 #49
Yes, all the big non-profits have people on probation & doing community service working there El_Johns Jan 2014 #55
Thes guys have made a fortune during the forclosure crisis. Spitfire of ATJ Jan 2014 #47
I worked for goodwill of central arizona Mosby Jan 2014 #50
Thank you for those personal details from inside BlueStreak Jan 2014 #63
Goodwill moved into a huge space in my neighborhood abelenkpe Jan 2014 #52
I give to a local Franciscan center that houses a halfway house for male drug and alcohol abusers dorkzilla Jan 2014 #53
Good on them. As an atheist, I am always looking for examples BlueStreak Jan 2014 #64
This is one of the reasons I give my second hand stuff to the local Lunacee_2013 Jan 2014 #56
They Are Also Poisonously Anti-Union Wolf Frankula Jan 2014 #58
Goodwill execs are anti-worker businessmen. jsr Jan 2014 #68
That's the point. It is just another retail business now BlueStreak Jan 2014 #70
Really silly prices the last time I was there. tavernier Jan 2014 #59
We have a local "shop" that is run by nuns and volunteers in order glinda Jan 2014 #69
I had no idea they were so horrible. So glad I came across this post. I had taken tons of items RKP5637 Dec 2015 #71
Please see the references to St. Vincent de Paul above BlueStreak Dec 2015 #72
Thanks for the link!!! RKP5637 Dec 2015 #73
Goodwill fires disabled workers kittywoman Mar 2016 #74
Thank you for your input, kittywoman, and welcome to Democratic Underground. We value you here. NBachers Aug 2019 #77
Goodwill Job Connection Joke Smiledface Aug 2019 #75
How to make money like Goodwill Smiledface Aug 2019 #76
You are quite right. True Blue American Aug 2019 #78
Habitat for Humanity - homes get built blm Aug 2019 #83
I volunteer for the Assistance League. greymattermom Aug 2019 #84
You can complete community service hours TheFarseer Aug 2019 #85
K&R. I've been aware of this for many years. n/t rzemanfl Aug 2019 #87
I used to work for them, I know it's a scam ebbie15644 Aug 2019 #88
I hope this finally goes public-wide. I've said it for years, but people still donate to them. Frustratedlady Aug 2019 #89
Look for a Homeless Veteran Shelter. Delmette2.0 Aug 2019 #90

MineralMan

(146,281 posts)
2. The thrift store industry had explosive
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 01:50 PM
Jan 2014

growth during the economic downturn, across the board. Goodwill is no exception. Our local Goodwill stores are larger today and slicker than they used to be, but their stuff is still priced lower than some of the others. I cannot speak about their employment practices, though, but they're still a good source for inexpensive clothing, furniture, and household goods. These days, they have a lot of new stuff in them, though, bearing branding from Target, etc. I believe Target is dumping their unsalable stuff on Goodwill these days.

What I like best about Goodwill, though, is their pricing for furniture. They seem to have a standard price for most types of furniture, and shopping carefully can yield some amazing bargains. But, you have to go frequently, since those bargains get snatched up by people who will be selling the stuff again on eBay or in their stores.

 

lumberjack_jeff

(33,224 posts)
3. Sheltered workshops are useful in a narrow range of situations.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 01:54 PM
Jan 2014

Employment provides benefit beyond the monetary, and for some people working a few hours a week is their only meaningful social outlet. Also, because of the way that earned income reduces the individuals SSI or SSDI income, the difference between $4 per hour and $8 is mostly academic.

I'm not defending Goodwill, although in my community I see them doing some good work, albeit probably not as much as they could.

The Goodwill local chapters run the local Goodwill stores. It's not "a franchise".

An alternative to Goodwill is The Arc.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
10. "Local chapter" = private business paying a big CEO salary
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:31 PM
Jan 2014

That's my point. They are evolving to abuse the whole concept of charity.

This is not a charity. It is a marketing system that allows private businessmen to take in free goods under the guise of charity, while offering tax deductions to the donors.

A marketing system, not much different from Amway or Subway Sandwiches, with the added benefit of being tax free.

 

lumberjack_jeff

(33,224 posts)
13. I think this situation is unfortunate
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:44 PM
Jan 2014

There's plenty of abuse in the nonprofit world, starting with nonprofit hospitals through Bowl games (did you know that the Sugar Bowl's CEO made $634,000 in 2011?).

Goodwill isn't perfect but it isn't on the top of my list of abusers of charity.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit I direct, which supports the most marginalized people in the most depressed county in the state with the most regressive tax system in the country, scrambles for every dime.

I find it frustrating.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
19. And likewise.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:59 PM
Jan 2014

I am involved in a music education charity that gives free music lessons to at-risk kids and other under-served populations. We have to scratch for every penny. The grantors tend to give big chunks of money to outfits that have a far greater overhead.

Far too often, "Charity" isn't what most people think it is.

Personally, I see no reason why any charity should ever pay a CEO salary more than 20 times the poverty level. If a person will only take that job if it pays $500,000 or more, that is a piss-poor candidate to be running a "charity" IMHO.

There is plenty to criticize about the Salvation Army, but their CEO compensation seems to be an honest $100,000. That's probably too low to attract competent executives, but you surely can find a competent CEO for $250,000. There are loads of successful executives who have plenty of money and would consider doing a more rewarding job. You don't have to pay them $750,000 a year.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
28. Nobody should have to take a vow of poverty to run a charity
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:51 PM
Jan 2014

and the Salvation Army is not far from that. But I categorically reject the argument that big outfits like the Red Cross should pay $800,000 in order to get the best people. A charity should be run by a person who isn't primarily motivated by money. And there are LOADS of competent, experienced, successful executives who are in a situation where another million bucks won't give them the same satisfaction they would get from running a legitimate charity.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
11. Thanks for the suggestion about Arc
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:39 PM
Jan 2014

In my area, the Arc organization is called Noble. and I know them to be a legitimate charity that provides valuable services. My mother volunteered there years ago.

www.nobleofindiana.org/

But it isn't clear to me that they accept donations of thrift items. I'll have to check into that.

 

Egalitarian Thug

(12,448 posts)
4. I don't know if it always was, but it has been for most of my lifetime.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 01:59 PM
Jan 2014

We donate and promote a local organization her called Safe Nest. They provide shelter and assistance to battered women. Try to find something like this, or better yet, if you have the time, seek out your own impoverished network. I can pretty much guarantee that you have one very close to you.

Peace, and keep up the good work.

 

B Calm

(28,762 posts)
5. I've known this for some time. Have you ever seen how high their prices are
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:09 PM
Jan 2014

on second hand clothes?

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
12. I don't think that's an unreasonable price -- it they were actually a charity
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:42 PM
Jan 2014

But that's my point. Goodwill isn't a charity. It is at best a sham, a shell that has a very thin veneer of charitable services. It is mostly a business model that pays enormous salaries to its franchisees.

(And I understand they technically aren't under franchise law. But they are, in effect, franchisees.)

 

rhett o rick

(55,981 posts)
60. We go there every year to buy coats for the homeless and were shocked that their coats were 20 - 30
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 09:21 PM
Jan 2014

dollars. Also, they sell new stuff straight from China (I assume).

SunSeeker

(51,543 posts)
66. Wow. Glad Goodwill was cheap when I was a kid.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 11:28 PM
Jan 2014

That's how my mom managed to dress all of us. I remember just about everything was 25 cents, but that was in the 70s.

Baitball Blogger

(46,697 posts)
6. Maybe other charities can learn from them.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:11 PM
Jan 2014

I had over three car loads of things I needed to donate and went down with the first one to downtown Orlando to unload. I figured I would go where it was needed the most. I never got out of the car. There was absolutely no clear place marked for unloading a car and I was unfamiliar with the area.

All my things went to Goodwill because it was just that damn easy. You drive up, unload in bins, someone hands you a receipt and you're on your way.

I would donate to other charities if they made it that easy.

 

lumberjack_jeff

(33,224 posts)
7. "easy" comes at a cost.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:14 PM
Jan 2014

They can afford that convenient, high rent real estate because their prices are high and their labor cheap.

In my area the local chapter of The Arc will come get your stuff.

 

Egalitarian Thug

(12,448 posts)
18. Possibly the most revealing reply on this thread.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:58 PM
Jan 2014

"I wanted to do good, really, but it was too much effort."

Baitball Blogger

(46,697 posts)
23. Excuse me?
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:16 PM
Jan 2014

The goods still went to charity. I think the fact that I was willing to drive down there although I could never get anyone on the phone shows that I was willing to go the extra mile. What I wasn't willing to do was put my own safety on the line.

Florida is the kind of place where you get your head shot off if you walk in the wrong garage. Sorry if I wasn't willing to martyr myself. What people in the charity business should do is use the feedback to make the situation easier, and you can read that as "safer."

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
14. In Indianapolis, 60% of the revenue is paid out in salaries
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:49 PM
Jan 2014
http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2009/10/not-so-good-will-of-goodwill-of-central.html

"James McClelland, President and CEO of Goodwill pulls down $393,990 according to the company's 2008 report. Other officers/top employees' compensation include Daniel J. Riley $199,240, Keith Reissaus $167,316, Kent Kramer $190,132, Cindy Graham $154,084, James Humphrey, $169,529, and Linda Brimmer $166,275."


This is just for the local operation.

And as far as "not for profit", that is a huge joke in the "charity industry" because you can always declare "excess revenues", which are in respect, profits -- except that you never have to pay any taxes on them.

"Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana has stashed away $20,800,485 in assets according to the company's 2008 tax return."

Frustratedlady

(16,254 posts)
15. We have a new, large facility that was finished last year.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:53 PM
Jan 2014

It is on prime land and a very nice building...efficient and quick drop-offs. I have never been inside, as the parking lot is always full, but I've heard of a lot of people who have been and love how bright and clean it is.

I used to go to the older stores in a nearby city looking for antiques, but those are few and far between now. They put most of the good stuff on their Internet site. Check out the prices they get.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
21. HUGE THANKS !!! This is perfect
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:03 PM
Jan 2014

There is one in my area. I had no idea.

http://www.svdpindy.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=5

The distribution center is operated by an all volunteer staff who drive the eleven (11) trucks, receive donated items delivered to the dock, prepare donated merchandise for distribution to the needy, and do the myriad of tasks necessary to keep up with this important work.

Needs are assessed by volunteer home visitation and referral slips are issued for the needy to receive merchandise from the distribution center.

lunasun

(21,646 posts)
86. It's a good second hand store to shop plus I have seen the people come in with the slips . They
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 08:11 AM
Aug 2019

are treated with respect and advised on what they may need and how much they can take but I think if you are without a bone they will help you set up a basic room and clothing from donations and the slips avoid greedy fakers who want free stuff . Their regular store prices are already quite fair imo
Tons of family school kids stuff too & sometimes free food items are given at purchase counter with a sale (like someone donated 2000 snack bags of chips or something in date)
they can’t sell food so everyone gets a bag , and stuff like that instead of just destroying it because they can’t profit from it and it’s a hassle to distribute to me shows active charity

Retrograde

(10,132 posts)
24. My donation group of choice
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:20 PM
Jan 2014

Among other things, they provide vouchers for their thrift stores to people who've suddenly become homeless, so your donations are more likely to end up with someone who needs them rather than someone looking for a resale.

True Blue American

(17,982 posts)
80. Good charity
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 06:04 AM
Aug 2019

Wish they were not on the other side of town.

We have a local Fish. Most Churches work with them.

Oilwellian

(12,647 posts)
17. It's the same scenario in my neck of the woods
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 02:55 PM
Jan 2014

Huge Goodwill in prime location. I always thought it odd because it's in a location where there are few poor people. I would bet the donations are high end stuff, and may explain why they're in prime locations.

Talk to the supervisor of Family Services in your local Head Start program. They have a wealth of knowledge about local charity programs that they refer their parents to.

 

El_Johns

(1,805 posts)
20. We are a high unemployment area, & yes, I've noticed the same. Not only Goodwill, but big
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:01 PM
Jan 2014

"charity" players expanding, muscling out small dealers & traditional small charity shops to basically take over the second-hand business.

It seems very timely in the wake of the recession.

And they are all cheap-labor operations, often government subsidized. They get labor from people on probation, people doing "reparations" for crimes, "training" programs (though as it's just grunt labor & retail experience, I'm skeptical about how much use such "training" is), etc.

I've felt increasingly uneasy about it, in the same way I think it's interesting that big money operations like e-Bay, etsy, etc came along to take a cut from second hand & small crafters in bad economic times.

It's like every channel where people could pinch out a living is being vacuumed up by big money.

MadrasT

(7,237 posts)
25. In my corner of PA we seem to have the same dingy little
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:24 PM
Jan 2014

Goodwill stores we've had for the last 30 years. They are in off the beaten path strip malls mostly. Except for that giant one in Lancaster near Dutch Wonderland... but that has also been there for something like 15 years.

OregonBlue

(7,754 posts)
27. In our area it's St. Vincent DePaul who runs the soup kitchens and the shelters when the weather
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:50 PM
Jan 2014

gets cold. They give vouchers to homeless for clothing and people on medicaid, etc. for furniture and clothing and extra vouchers to people who need clothing for job search, interviews. They are by far the best in our neck of the woods. Also, they do not discriminate against gays. No questions are ever asked about sexual preference, etc.

mainer

(12,022 posts)
29. Would Salvation Army be a better bet?
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:54 PM
Jan 2014

As far as fiscal responsibility, I believe Salvation Army has a good reputation, although I know many will object to their religious conservatism.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
32. I don't reward purveyors of hate and ignorance
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:58 PM
Jan 2014

Even if they have some good qualities, I don't see how you offset the hate and ignorance that is the foundation of their organization. I used to organize music groups to play at some of their prime kettle locations, but I quit that a couple of years ago as I came to understand how ingrained the culture of hate and ignorance is in this organization. I know they have many well-intentioned volunteers, but there really is an important principle here.

 

El_Johns

(1,805 posts)
51. I think in most respects SA is a better organization than Goodwill, at least from what I've seen.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 05:29 PM
Jan 2014

1. Our local thrift store (now defunct) sold things cheaper than Goodwill -- much cheaper.

2. Our local SA did outreach to people with AIDs fairly early on in the crisis. This was mainly because one of the local execs knew some PWA on a personal basis; nevertheless, the local org supported it.

3. Back in the day, maybe the 80s, so I don't know if policy has changed, but still I had the opportunity to tour the SA operation in a large city, and I saw that their clients weren't just cheap labor unloading, pricing donationations & ringing up sales, but were actually involved in rehabilitiative activities that were higher skilled -- like repairing/refurbishing electronics, furniture and the like. IOW learning something they didn't know how to do before.

4. SA exec salaries are much lower.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
62. Regarding their AIDS outreach, I wonder ...
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 10:45 PM
Jan 2014

The problem with organizations that are steeped in hate and ignorance is that one naturally assumes the worst possible motives, even when the motives might be genuine.

For example, my first thought when I hear a SA outfit is reaching out to those suffering from AIDS (assuming that most of those victims are gay) is that one of their motives is to bring those sinner gays to Christ, and leave their sinful homosexual ways behind.

I am sorry for jumping to such a conclusion in the very unlikely case that motive never entered the SA's minds. After all, they are among the most aggressive "charities" when it comes to proselytizing. It seems to be common practice to force their clients to go through Christian rituals if they want any shelter or food.

 

El_Johns

(1,805 posts)
65. No, it was goods & housing assistance. SA basically doesn't proselytize in their
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 11:01 PM
Jan 2014

charitable activities at least locally. They run some food distribution & short-term housing here, and there's no religious requirement to get the assistance at all.

As I said, the reason they were doing it locally was because of ties of one of the administrators to PWA. Likely that wasn't the case elsewhere. But the local organization supported the outreach, & it genuinely kept some people with aids housed & fed, and at a time when there was much more prejudice against AIDS victims than there is now.

It WAS a good work done for the best of motivations, I am quite certain of that from personal observation. That may not be the case everywhere, but it showed me that the blanket judgement isn't correct & SA isn't monolithic.

Jesus Malverde

(10,274 posts)
31. The goodwill stores are not franchising they are just making tons of money.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 03:58 PM
Jan 2014

1. They get things for free.
2. They sell them.
3. They pocket the difference.
4. The employees by and large are paid not "retail store wages" but "thrift store wages" so labor costs are low, or in some cases subsidized.

Its an amazing business model.

The big scandal or secret is that goodwill works with the large corporations like target, walmart etc. Goodwill serves as an outlet for merchandise that cannot be sold but can be donated and written off taxes. Returns and damaged boxes, etc.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
34. It is "franchising" (in quotes)
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:02 PM
Jan 2014

In a purely legal sense, it is not franchising. But they allow essentially private businessmen to buy these stores and operate them as "chapters". In all practical respects, it is a very sophisticated franchise scheme that has the advantage of being a tax dodge as well as being a very effective con job on the public.

tabbycat31

(6,336 posts)
33. I donate my used clothes to local charities
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:00 PM
Jan 2014

In my county at home (NJ), the local SPCA runs a thrift shop. They get all my donations.

Jesus Malverde

(10,274 posts)
37. Goodwill Pays Disabled Workers As Little As 22 Cents Per Hour
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:09 PM
Jan 2014

Goodwill Industries, the nonprofit charity, pays workers as little as 22 cents per hour, or 3 percent of federal minimum wage, thanks to a labor law loophole.

Goodwill stores in Pennsylvania are employing some disabled workers at rates of 22, 38, and 41 cents per hour, according to NBC News. These workers are being exploited via the federal law called the Special Wage Certificate Program, which permits nonprofits and companies to obtain a certificate that allows them to hire disabled workers “based on their abilities” at whatever wage they find appropriate, with no minimum. According to the company, less than 7 percent of its workforce is paid through this certificate.

Workers say they find that the minute pay diminishes the experience and that the paychecks are useless for even covering the cost to get to work, as one worker told NBC after her wages were decreased to $2.75. For those making cents on the hour, they might as well be volunteering.

Brad Turner-Little, Goodwill’s director of mission strategy, told The Huffington Post that workers’ pay is determined through a review process that assesses their productivity and other factors. This process, as described by NBC News, times how long it takes a worker to perform a given task. The completion time is then compared to the time it would take a work without a disability to complete the task. They then calculate the worker’s wage. The time studies are a requirement of the special certificate and “Goodwill does these time studies to comply with federal law,” a spokesperson for the company told ThinkProgress.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/06/24/2201101/goodwill-pays-cents-per-hour/

Too bad I'm a big fan of goodwill deals.

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
38. In our area the Goodwill hires the disabled. That is all I know about the program. We also donate
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:15 PM
Jan 2014

to them because they are about the only organization that takes furniture and larger items.

kmlisle

(276 posts)
39. Some good alternative charities:
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:17 PM
Jan 2014

Hospice, Habitat for Humanity, your local animal shelter all probably run thrift shops in your area. These are the ones I donate to in my area. Look for a local charity that you like and see if you can donate to them. Here locally we have a Helping hands clinic (still needed in Florida), local homeless shelter which takes food clothing and has a vet clinic for the homeless pets, Animal shelter, Hospice, all have thrift shops.

Curmudgeoness

(18,219 posts)
41. I have a few places where I donate items.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:27 PM
Jan 2014

We have a domestic abuse center here, and they get most of the things that I donate. These women and children often walk out of their home with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and they need to start all over again. It isn't easy to donate, since the location of the shelter is secret. I have to call ahead and make arrangements to meet someone who will take the items, but it is worth it to me.

We also have a homeless shelter, and these people have nothing as well, although they do not have a thrift shop. Items that I donate to them are restricted to personal care items and clothing.

I also keep an eye on the Freecycle website for our county, and when I see posts asking for items because they lost all their belongings in a fire or some other disaster, I offer what I can to the individual.

And although you are not a fan, I donate items to the Salvation Army thrift stores. I am anti-religion and anti-bigotry, but they do good work. We only have two thrift stores in the area, Goodwill and Salvation Army, so I don't have a lot of choice.

VPStoltz

(1,295 posts)
42. It's insane. We have a "job training center" near our house...
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:28 PM
Jan 2014

Why is there ALWAYS a huge line to check-out? Riddle me that!
They are now charging prices they find on eBay "buy it now."
I have a resale business (mostly nice glass pieces) and I can not longer shop there.
Once you clean items up, they are scratched or worse and the return policy is from Siberia.
Screw GW.

zentrum

(9,865 posts)
45. Have been nervous about Good Will
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:38 PM
Jan 2014

...instinctively for a long time. What I do, as much as I can, is just give directly to a homeless person. If it's clothes, I look for the homeless woman or man who seems the most likely to need/use/want the stuff. Or usually, they know someone who will.

There are homeless encampments in doorways and park corners, all over every city. I plot my drop in these spots. I do it carefully, and quickly. Usually include a bag of nuts, a few bucks. Even if I don't get it right---I know the recipeint, when he/she returns to the spot will distribute to friends.

Furniture, lamps etc---I'm stuck.

Also don't donate to those big green boxes around town. I hear they are another scam. Does any one know?

The whole difficulty of not being able to give to the poor or recycle, is a huge, sad, ugly reality in America.

Maybe community centers?

 

SheilaT

(23,156 posts)
46. My local Goodwill store in Santa Fe
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 04:39 PM
Jan 2014

is dingy and crowded, and the rare times I've attempted to shop there I've never seen anything I like.

In a different part of the country, when my son was sentenced to community service as part of his diversion program after being caught possessing some marijuana (he was 16 at the time) he did it at a Goodwill store. Apparently that particular store had a steady influx of such young people working there as part of their community service.

My next door neighbor manages an animal shelter consignment store, and I need to have him come over and see what he can take of the things I've stashed in the garage because I don't want or need them any more.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
49. Smoke a little pot, you now become free labor for these con artists
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 05:01 PM
Jan 2014

They have it working on all levels.

Free goods.

Free publicity.

Paid labor way under minimum wage, or free labor through court order.

Huge profits to the owners.

All tax free.

 

El_Johns

(1,805 posts)
55. Yes, all the big non-profits have people on probation & doing community service working there
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 05:39 PM
Jan 2014

as cheap or free labor.

So much so that I feel its a scam. It's always the big organizations fully wired into the PTB who get the free labor, never small local ones.

And with some exceptions, the experience doesn't provide much, if any, benefit to the person for whom it is supposed to be "rehabilitative". Just grunt labor work, of the kind the person could get anywhere, where s/he is treated as a body, not an individual.

Mosby

(16,290 posts)
50. I worked for goodwill of central arizona
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 05:18 PM
Jan 2014

Their total revenue is now above 100 million per year. The store I managed produced 60 to 75K in profit every month and yet the upper mgmt said they could not find affordable health insurance for the workers. The only employees with health insurance were the salaried store employees and everyone at the office. All the FULLTIME employees at the stores had no health insurance.

The upper management all drive company cars, they built (from the ground up) a corporate center that cost around 25 million and yet the store employees make around minimum wage.

The company sucks.

If you live in Phx donate to savers, they support big brothers big sisters. If you live in the SW valley donate to hope's closet, they support a domestic violence shelter.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
63. Thank you for those personal details from inside
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 10:50 PM
Jan 2014

The more I know about these people, the angrier I get.

abelenkpe

(9,933 posts)
52. Goodwill moved into a huge space in my neighborhood
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 05:29 PM
Jan 2014

In LA. I don't know how they can afford that spot. Their prices are high for thrift store clothes, too. I usually give my stuff to the Jewish women's center. They give the stuff directly to the needy no charge. There may be similar organizations in your area?

dorkzilla

(5,141 posts)
53. I give to a local Franciscan center that houses a halfway house for male drug and alcohol abusers
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 05:31 PM
Jan 2014

They sell directly to the public. The furniture I donate is used to teach the men how to do carpentry and furniture restoration. The guys also staff the thrift shop, and its run by an amazing woman who, so help me god, probably deserves 100k a year and likely gets $30k.

Although it has a religious affiliation, the money raised in the thrift store goes directly to help the men, and doesn't go to the Church. In truth I did attend Sunday Mass and prayer meetings at this particular center as a child, and I have no bad memories of it, even though I am an atheist now.

I also donate clothing to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and my business suits go to Dress for Success, which gives suits to women in need so they have the proper wardrobe to go on job interviews.

There are many good charities out there if you just look for them.

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
64. Good on them. As an atheist, I am always looking for examples
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 10:54 PM
Jan 2014

of religious organizations that actually act out the values that they claim to hold. I have no problem supporting religious organizations that legitimately care for their fellow man unconditionally.

Lunacee_2013

(529 posts)
56. This is one of the reasons I give my second hand stuff to the local
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 06:28 PM
Jan 2014

homeless shelter, or directly to whoever wants/needs it. It seems like a lot of charities these days are used by the rich to either make more money or for the tax cuts. Never understood why giving to charity gets you a tax cut. Shouldn't giving to the needy be done out of the goodness of your heart, without expecting a reward? Plus, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do things like donate to a food pantry, take the tax break, then cut funding for things like food stamps or W.I.C., either way some of that money is going to the same places. It just feels like it could turn into a downward spiral to me. Cut funding for programs that people depend on, which means they have to turn to charity to survive, so the charities wind up needing more money/supplies so people donate them, and those people can get a tax cut, which in turn means less money for the welfare programs, and then the cycle repeats itself. It just seems so short-sighted to me.

Wolf Frankula

(3,600 posts)
58. They Are Also Poisonously Anti-Union
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 06:54 PM
Jan 2014

I used to work for a Goodwill, in e-commerce. One day fliers appeared on our cars from the Machinists union. The management mobilized. We were told we couldn't park on the street, for a reason that was an easily checkable lie. We were forced to attend anti-union meetings where the union was slandered. Persons like myself, who were insufficiently zealous in being anti union were set up to be fired.

Since then, I will not give to a Goodwill, and I will not buy from a Goodwill.

Wolf

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
70. That's the point. It is just another retail business now
Mon Jan 13, 2014, 01:48 AM
Jan 2014

But one that enjoys enormous advantages that a hard-working honest business doesn't receive.

They really should be shut down or at least have their charity status revoked.

tavernier

(12,374 posts)
59. Really silly prices the last time I was there.
Sun Jan 12, 2014, 06:59 PM
Jan 2014

The discount pricing at Kohl's on brand new items was much better!

I thought it was just me.

glinda

(14,807 posts)
69. We have a local "shop" that is run by nuns and volunteers in order
Mon Jan 13, 2014, 12:53 AM
Jan 2014

to raise money for charitable purposes for the poor and other projects. It is relief to go there and buy second hand clothing and I often make a small donation on top of it. They are really nice and compassionate women.

RKP5637

(67,100 posts)
71. I had no idea they were so horrible. So glad I came across this post. I had taken tons of items
Thu Dec 17, 2015, 10:30 AM
Dec 2015

there because the drop off was close and so well organized, but no more. I just had no idea.
Thanks for this post!!!

 

BlueStreak

(8,377 posts)
72. Please see the references to St. Vincent de Paul above
Fri Dec 18, 2015, 03:47 PM
Dec 2015
https://www.svdpusa.org/

This is a charity run by the Catholic church. Although I am an atheist, I have begun supporting this charity with both money and clothing donations. This is the real deal. A good friend just passed away. I only learned at this viewing that he had been volunteering his time driving trucks for 15 years. This is the true meaning of charity. People do it to help their fellow man, not to bring glory (and money) upon themselves. I really appreciate the DUers pointing me in this direction.

Goodwill Industries is a bunch of crooks.

kittywoman

(1 post)
74. Goodwill fires disabled workers
Sun Mar 20, 2016, 12:15 PM
Mar 2016

The Goodwill store I worked for fired me for being disabled. They did not like that I have bipolar depression and PTSD and would write me up if my illness affected what I said to coworkers. They fired me three days after I turned in a report from my doctor for repetitive motion injury. They did it before I could file workers comp because then they would be forced to accomodate me. I am not the first employee fired for a disability or because a disabled child caused them to miss work. This is sad because they imply they help disabled workers to solicit donations and sales. Though I worked there for 14 years, loved my job, was a hard worker and had excellent attendance in spite of my disability, they would push my buttons and set me up to be fired. Not nice in my books.

Smiledface

(2 posts)
75. Goodwill Job Connection Joke
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 04:53 AM
Aug 2019

This is really a great model for a scam: offer job "placement" services as the reason you're receiving a 501c3 tax exemption. You would think that "placement" means placement. No, there's no agency here. You're better off going through a temp agency than Goodwill's "Job Connection". They don't connect you to anything except the internet and job boards and show you how to copy and paste a job description into your resume. Wow, really? Yes, really. The only benefit this would be to someone is if you're totally illiterate with a mental handicap. Otherwise, you can go to the library and accomplish the same thing if you don't have a computer. And this is Goodwill's excuse for "rounding up" and all the profit they make goes to this noble mission of emailing me job postings from indeed.com. isn't that noble of them?

Smiledface

(2 posts)
76. How to make money like Goodwill
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 05:27 AM
Aug 2019

It's very cleverly done. They position themselves as a community "service" for jobs and housing as the reason they're tax exempt, but all they are is a duck in a swimsuit. I can do what Goodwill does, too. Here, let me show you indeed.com and myus.com. Here, let me direct you to the federal grant website.
Now would you like to donate me your stuff so that I can sell it back to you at retail? Yes? Oh would you like to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar today? Chaching$

True Blue American

(17,982 posts)
78. You are quite right.
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 05:55 AM
Aug 2019

I have told my family not to give one thing of mine to Goodwill. I wish you could see the huge store they are building next to WALMRT! And the fancy stores they have built in exclusive areas here.

Now, decades ago Goodwill really was a charity that provided jobs for disabled people. Teaching them skills and providing jobs. That time passed long ago.

I gave my items to local charities like Fish, that has provided so much help here through local Churches. Members are turning out to help tornado victims from the 15 that destroyed huge area.

Your local charities need your help. Forget the mega scams.

greymattermom

(5,754 posts)
84. I volunteer for the Assistance League.
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 07:36 AM
Aug 2019

There are no paid workers, and the volunteers pay dues. We have the BEST thrift shop in the area! I spent 5 hours last week packing kits for new moms, all new items bought wholesale from the thrift store proceeds. Maybe you have the Assistance League in your area?

TheFarseer

(9,318 posts)
85. You can complete community service hours
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 07:47 AM
Aug 2019

By working a Goodwill. That’s a sweet deal for them! If, as some on this thread claim, the prices are getting too high, that’s really unfortunate. Maybe the CEO pay could be trimmed to rectify that.

Frustratedlady

(16,254 posts)
89. I hope this finally goes public-wide. I've said it for years, but people still donate to them.
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 11:06 AM
Aug 2019

We have a local charity that is from a group that helps mentally and physically impaired clients. They live in group homes and have small businesses where clients work and get paid. People donate items to them and they have managed to build a large outlet where they employ quite a few clients to prepare items, stock shelves, wait on customers, etc., and provide a happy work environment.


Some donors have given them huge items, for instance...a new truck for hauling furniture and large quantities of boxed items, funds to pay up-front for new buildings, fixtures for display purposes, etc. Many of the residents have remained after their parents died, which was a relief for the parents to know their adult children would be taken care of. This organization has been in operation for probably 40 years or so and has a very solid reputation. Too bad other cities can't have the same type of operation.

Delmette2.0

(4,163 posts)
90. Look for a Homeless Veteran Shelter.
Sat Aug 24, 2019, 01:56 PM
Aug 2019

They may need help getting people set up in their new homes. I donated a bed with clean sheets and bedspread, a reclining chair, kitchen equipment and household supplies when my Mother died. They were very happy.

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