The last time I was at Goodwill, while paying for some things, the clerk asked me if I wanted to donate money as if it was some kind of charity service. I asked her what Goodwill does to help anyone and her reply was that Goodwill provides jobs for local communities. By those standards Burger King and Taco Bell are charities as well and deserve our donations. Sure, Goodwill provides jobs, but most businesses do.
Their other explanation to what makes them a charity is that they hire disabled people. They give jobs to the unwanted workers who nobody else will help. Sure, that’s true, they hire disabled people, but they do it because by law they’re allowed to pay them less than minimum wage. Some disabled employees have even been payed as little as .22 cents an hour. To be clear though, the POTUS made some changes to that “depression era loophole” law in 2014 that changed it for the better.
One of the biggest misconceptions about our charity industry is that non-profit means the same as charity. Non-profits are some of the most profitable businesses someone could have. It doesn’t mean you do anything to help anybody, it just means you don’t pay out your profits to a bunch of shareholders. By law a non-profit has to recycle all profits back into the company. For example, if the company has an extra $2,000,000 at the end of the year, they have to spend it on literally anything they want that could be claimed as helping the company including hiring all of their children as consultants for $80,000 a year. You could even buy a two hundred room mansion for the company and live in it. There are endless possibilities for that money and you don’t even have to pay taxes on it. So yes, Goodwill is a non-profit, but it is by no means a charity.
There was an e-mail circulating that mentions how sneaky Goodwill is, and I can assure you it is very sneaky indeed, even if a lot of the things listed in the e-mail were wrong. If you search Google with questions about the honesty of Goodwill you’ll find most pages direct you to their own website defending themselves with half truths.
Here’s the picture from the email after Goodwill pushed the original from the internet and stamped false on it.
They seem to be doing a lot of damage control, when I searched Google for the image, this one was the most prominent. They even mention a Snopes article without leaving a hyperlink for anyone to investigate. I’m sure they realize that most people aren’t going to type a link in manually. It should also be mentioned that this image has been circulating since 2005, so I’m sure the information is going to be at the very least outdated.
If you type “Goodwill” into Google, the first thing you’ll see is a damage control ad.
They are correct in stating that this email has the wrong information, but that doesn’t mean they’re any good. When they were mentioning it was wrong about the CEO’s name, why didn’t they correct the other mistake it made, that they don’t pay all of their workers at least minimum wage. To me the most definitive proof that they’re just another business is that they pay disabled employees less just because they can. If they were really all about helping them, they would offer them the same opportunities as everyone else. Don’t try to tell me that job training and using the disabled to save money on employment and get government grants is charity. So in closing, they’re right, their current CEO Jim Gibbons doesn’t make $2.3 million dollars, he only made a paltry $725,286 in 2011 according to page 9 of their public tax disclosure.