think before you donate

"Think before you donate" is an error-filled rumor that has been floating around the internet and social media for more than a decade. It is very harmful to many nonprofit organizations who are doing good work with the help of donations from our community. Goodwill is one of the non-profits called out with statements that are not true. It is important that you as a donor know about the organizations you are donating to. Below are 5 key facts that you SHOULD know about Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest.

5 Things You Should Know

Many people have no idea Goodwill is a non-profit organization offering programs that help people in the community through workforce training, employment supports, housing programs, and many others. These 5 simple things are truths you should know about Goodwill and its service to our region.

#1: Goodwill is a non-profit organization whose mission services are funded by our stores.

Of every dollar we earn, more than $0.85 goes back to our mission.

Many people think Goodwill stores exist only to sell used items for low prices to people who are on limited incomes. While we are happy we can provide affordable goods, that is not our mission.

Goodwill is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our stores exist to support our mission to help people overcome barriers to independence. Our Goodwill offers more than 20 social service programs in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Many charities spend a high percentage of their income on overhead and fundraising. We do not. When you shop in our stores or donate to Goodwill, at least 85 percent of that money goes back into the 20 social service programs we talked about earlier. In 2014, only 10 percent of contributions funded administrative and overhead expenses. While overhead expense isn’t the only way to judge a responsible charity, it is important. And so is this: Nationwide, Goodwill was given an "A" grade by CharityWatch and has been named one of the country's "20 Most Inspiring Companies" by Forbes Magazine multiple years running.


#2: You may know someone we have helped.

In 2017, our Goodwill helped over 4,200 people in eastern Washington and north Idaho. In the last five years, we have helped more than 34,000 people. You may know someone that Goodwill helped:

  • Search for a job and develop a résumé,
  • Learn how to interview successfully for a job,
  • Move off the streets and into permanent and stable housing,
  • Develop skills that helped success in school,
  • Learn how to manage their finances,
  • Secure regular, reliable employment.


#3: Our employees make minimum wage or better.

That applies to every one of our more than 500 employees. In addition, over 90 percent of our positions are full time, making employees eligible for medical and dental insurance, 401(k), and life insurance benefits.

While some Goodwill organizations are among the 3,400 employers nationwide that use the federal special minimum wage exemption to provide employment support to people with very severe disabilities, we do not utilize that program at Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest.


#4: This is Clark Brekke, our President and CEO.

Like other nonprofits, Goodwill is managed by respected business leaders and a local volunteer board of directors that provides guidance. Goodwill is not owned by anyone.

Our CEO, Clark Brekke, has been with the organization for more than 20 years as a regional store manager, director of Workforce Development and Social Services, chief operating officer, and now President/CEO. Since Clark’s appointment as President/CEO, our Goodwill has nearly doubled in size. He holds three decades of management experience, both in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Mr. Brekke holds a seat on Goodwill Industries International Board of Directors and is the immediate past Chair of the Northwest Association, an alliance of Goodwill Members from five western states. Mr. Brekke is a member of Spokane’s Nonprofit Executive Group, serves on the Mayor’s Council on Economic Vitality, and is Past-President of Spokane Rotary Club No. 21.

Our board of directors has established Clark's salary similar to other large nonprofit CEOs in the Spokane region. He is fairly compensated for someone who has a great deal of experience, the responsibility of managing more than 500 employees, and the responsibility of ensuring that one of our region’s largest nonprofits is able to fulfill its mission now and in the future.

#5: Our Goodwill is an independent agency.

Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest is one of more than 160 independent members of Goodwill Industries International, including agencies now in China, the Netherlands, and Canada. Each agency is independently operated and funded. Member agencies must adhere to professional, financial, legal, and branding guidelines set forth by Goodwill Industries International.

Our CEO is fond of saying, “If you’ve seen one Goodwill, you’ve seen one Goodwill.” While we have similar missions, each Goodwill is unique in the programs it offers and how it operates its business, because each of the communities we serve are unique. There are four different Goodwill organizations serving the state of Washington alone.