Saturday, May 11, 2013

It's Goodwill Industries Week!

There are some wonderful mega thrift stores in the area where you can pore over racks and racks of merchandise and find inexpensive things to surprise and delight.  They all look like non-profit charity organizations, but they are not made alike.  For example, Value Village and Unique Thrift are for-profit organizations.  They contract with non-profit organizations like the National Children’s Center and Vietnam Veterans of America, who collect the merchandise and provide donors with the ability to write off their donations as charitable.  I am glad the National Children’s Center and Vietnam Veterans of America have found this means to support their charitable work.  However, as an eco-fashionista, I was sad to see the Value Village on New Hampshire Avenue in Hillandale begin featuring a huge Hallowe’en shop with hundreds of new, cheap costumes made overseas.  As a for-profit entity, this just made good business sense:  they realized everyone was scouring thrifts for costume ideas and elements, and they made sure everyone could find something to buy.  From an environmental point of view it undercut the goals of reducing, reusing and recycling.
Goodwill of Greater Washington is an exception to the for-profit thrift model.  The organization exists to provide job training and placement.  And 91% of DC Goodwill’s funding goes directly towards their job training and employment services.  What a great way to do a lot of good with your clothing and furniture donations!  Also, I think, because of their non-profit soul, they are likely to stay truer to their important environmental role.
Below is a video about Goodwill and, after it, a lot impressive facts about their work.  If you’d like to learn more about Goodwill of Greater Washington, find their nearest store or donation center, or get involved, please visit --or download their free mobile app from the iTunes app store.  My friend, Kristina, recommends heading out Columbia Pike to one of their Virginia  sites as their are many great eateries along the way.  Salvadoran food anyone?  Go Goodwill!

  • In 2012, DC Goodwill provided job training and placement services to over 3,200 people in our community.
  • DC Goodwill successfully placed 228 people into new jobs in 2012 and employed over 600 in its retail stores, contract services and administrative support divisions.
  • After 90 days of employment 86% of the individuals DC Goodwill placed into jobs last year still retained those jobs.
  • Some of the companies where DC Goodwill graduates were placed in 2012 include Allied Barton Security, Accenture, Safeway, George Mason University, Jiffy Lube, Securitas, Virginia Commerce Bank, Fairfax County Public Schools, PNC Bank and Marriott.
  • Over 80% of the people in DC Goodwill’s contracts division have a documented, severe disability.
  • DC Goodwill is also a job creator. Every retail store we open creates between 25 and 30 new jobs.
  • Whenever someone donates to Goodwill they are also repurposing and recycling unwanted household goods. In 2012, DC Goodwill diverted 20 million pounds of goods from area landfills.
  • DC Goodwill donated almost $70,000 in Good Samaritan vouchers to other nonprofit agencies in 2012 so that the populations they serve can secure free clothing and shoes from Goodwill stores.
  • Goodwill serves people with a variety ofdisabilities including emotional, developmental, physical and mental.
  • Goodwill serves people with a variety of disadvantaging conditions including those with a lack of education, those trying to get off welfare, ex-offenders and the chronically unemployed.
  • In January the unemployment rate in the District of Columbia was at 8.6% compared to 5.5% just five years ago.
  • The unemployment rate in DC’s Ward 8 still exceeds 25%, which is the highest area rate in the country!
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