Donating your used goods can do a lot for both your community and the environment. In 2010 alone, Goodwill Industries helped divert more than 2 billion pounds of used goods from landfills—all because people decided to donate their used items instead of throwing them away.
Goods Become Jobs
In 2010, Goodwill Industries launched the Donate Movement. The campaign helps those who are unemployed to find work by offering job training and career counseling. How does it work? Donated items such as jeans are sold at Goodwill stores for affordable prices. Then that money is funneled through the Goodwill system, and gets used to provide services for individuals in the community who need the help. These services include everything from advice on how to write résumés and how to properly dress for interviews to computer training.
One of the many programs offered is the Human Service Employment Ladder Program. “At Goodwill, the Ladder refers to a person’s ability to climb those rungs in order to reach their fullest potential. People who face challenges need to start somewhere,” Jim Gibbons, CEO of Goodwill Industries International, told TFK. People start on the first rung of the Ladder by identifying the problems they need to solve, and determining the skills they need to get a job. From there, people figure out further skills they need in order to keep climbing the Ladder. The hope is that the person eventually reaches his or her fullest potential.
The Roots of the Cause
The Donate Movement was inspired by Goodwill’s partnership with Levi’s. The jeans company wanted to do something for the environment. So, Levi’s began their Care Tag Initiative. The company began to put tags on their jeans that read:
-Machine wash cold
-Line dry when possible
-Donate to Goodwill (which was later changed to just “Donate”)
The last line of the Care Tag was the start of the Movement. Goodwill believed that there was an extraordinary need to educate people about the power of donating. The company believed there was a way to improve communities and help the environment at the same time.
A Culture Change
The Movement’s original goal was to help create more jobs. It achieved this and more. Over the past year, Goodwill raised $2.7 billion to fund job-training programs, served 2.4 million people and added 6,000 more jobs. But there is another goal that the Movement is still trying to make happen. Goodwill wants to make donating “as automatic as putting on your seatbelt,” says Silicon Valley Goodwill CEO Michael Fox. Both Gibbons and Fox believe that the youth of America is the key to success for this mission. “The Donate Movement creates an extraordinary opportunity for young people to lead and serve in way that is meaningful to their community,” says Gibbons.
Fox believes that one day nothing will go into landfills; everything will either be recycled or reused. So the next time you stop by at Goodwill to donate a pair of jeans or your old bike, remember that you’re helping a neighbor and Mother Nature.