Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Goodwill Southern California

Last week, I went to the main campus of Goodwill Southern California with my NAPO Neighborhood Group. We spent an hour and a half touring the facility and learning about all the services that Goodwill offers. Goodwill's mission is Transforms Lives through the Power of Work, and that mission was clear through every aspect of their organization. As a professional organizer, it's always important to be able to communicate to clients exactly where their donated items will end up once they part with them and donate them to a charitable organization. Now I have a very clear picture of where items donated to any Goodwill Southern California location will go, and I feel extremely confident in recommending that my clients support this organization with their donations.

Our Goodwill tour group.
Some of things I learned on the tour:
  • All e-waste that gets donated gets processed in an extremely secure part of the facility. Working electronics will get refurbished and sold, while everything else gets broken down into recyclable parts, hazardous waste, and recoverable materials that will get sold. They completely destroy any information left on a hard drive before selling it or stripping it.
  • All shredding that gets brought to this particular facility is processed in a secure way that exceeds FBI standards. We got to see the floor where they shred (from behind a glass wall!) and watched the process at work. Fascinating.
  • The people who work at the facility we toured are part of Goodwill's mission to train and find jobs for people with disabilities and disadvantages. They get job training and will eventually move on to jobs outside of Goodwill, or may stay on at Goodwill in a variety of capacities. 
  • Over 90% of the profit realized by Goodwill from selling donated items either through their retail stores or by selling items in bulk goes into their education, job training and placement programs.
  • Their long term goal is to have 0% of what gets donated to Goodwill end up in a landfill. For now, they keep millions of pounds out of landfills every year. Each item goes through many stages and has many opportunities to be resold, reused, or recycled before it gets taken to a landfill. 
  • When you donate items in good condition, you are helping keep things out of landfills as well as supporting the service projects of the organization. They especially love to receive e-waste, books and clothes, shoes, etc. that are in good condition. Don't donate your trash, please, as that ends up by costing them money to process and dispose of.
I learned much more, so don't hesitate to ask if you have any burning questions about Goodwill!

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