Goodwill® | May 8, 2017

Goodwill® Celebrates 115 Years of Mission Impact through Social Enterprise

Over the years, social enterprise has evolved from start-up to fully operational organizations striving to create impact at scale. They blend together innovative ideas with social value propositions to drive change and improve lives.

Social enterprises come in different shapes and sizes. One of the most well-known of these is the one-for-one model used by organizations like TOMS and Bombas. In these cases, for each item purchased, one is donated to someone in need. Other social enterprises like Warby Parker make monthly donations to nonprofits based on the number of items sold at their stores. In Warby Parker’s case, the nonprofits then train men and women in developing countries to provide eye care in their local communities. There are a variety of missions that can be addressed through social enterprise models at the local, national and global scale, and it is exciting to see this generation of social entrepreneurs developing purpose driven organizations.

For 115 years, Goodwill Industries International has been a social enterprise focused on promoting the common good through empowering individuals and championing the belief that everyone should have the chance to succeed through the power of work. In celebration of our milestone anniversary, we’ve released this mission video to give people a sense of our history. Goodwill sells donated items and material goods in its more than 3,200 stores and online at® to create employment placement services, job training, and integrated programs uniquely customized to meet the needs of job seekers in local communities so that they can earn paychecks and build their skills. Our donated goods retail social enterprise model accounts for nearly three quarters of our revenue, with the rest primarily funded by contracts, business development, and program services.

Our structure is key to supporting this social enterprise model. Goodwill is a network made up of Goodwill Industries International and 162 community-based 501(c)(3) autonomous social enterprises in the United States and Canada, and we have a presence in 13 other countries. Local Goodwill organizations innovate to meet community needs and create better futures for people who desire self-sufficiency. In 2016, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed 313,000 people in employment across the United States and Canada. That means one out of every 200 job hires in the United Sates was made with the help of Goodwill. Our autonomous structure allows us to adapt to the unique needs of our communities and helps people achieve independence through the power of work.

Goodwill organizations recognize that many complex challenges can stand in the way of finding and securing ongoing, meaningful employment. Through extensive work with our network of independent, community-based Goodwill organizations, we’ve developed a four-domain framework for Goodwill’s impact in the lives of the individuals and families we serve: work and skills progression, health and well-being, financial wellness, and work and life supports. These areas of influence help us understand the true impact of our work in communities.

Social enterprises are hybrid organizations of innovation and purpose that bridge the gap between business and social change to create powerful impact in our communities. If you’re ready to make a difference in your community, start with our entrepreneur resources, which provide classes and even loans through select Goodwill organizations.

Support Goodwill® through a well-designed employee giving program:

As Goodwill’s workplace giving partner, America’s Charities can help your company design and implement a program centered on supporting their work – through workplace giving campaigns, employee fundraising, cause-focused signature programs, volunteerism, matching gifts, Dollars-for-Doers, In-Kind Giving and other employee engagement and philanthropic initiatives. Click here to request a demo and learn how we can help you do this.

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