Goodwill thrift stores have long been the “go to” destination for ambitious and creative shoppers looking for a deal on designer fashion, DIY home décor and other treasures. But there’s a lot more going on behind the familiar blue sign than scoring a great price on that designer sweater.
The real mission behind all that merchandise is to spark a better life for individuals with disabilities. Since 1963, Goodwill Alberta has offered these community members a wide range of opportunities to stay active and engaged through employment, job placement services, disability awareness training and more.
In addition to employing Albertans of all abilities in thrift stores and donation centres, Goodwill helps to build stronger communities through one-of-a-kind programs for individuals and businesses. These include Commercial Services, which provides professional assembly and packaging services; You Can Ride 2, which gives children with disabilities the joy and freedom of riding a bicycle; and Career Connections, enabling individuals to find a job or volunteer opportunity that best fits their abilities and needs.
While Goodwill receives some funding through donations and grants, the organization depends heavily on revenue generated from sales of donated goods to fund its programs and services. Nearly 90 cents of every dollar spent in Goodwill thrift stores goes directly back into community programming. Although many of Goodwill’s programs and services have evolved over the years, one constant remains: Goodwill is about having a positive community impact.
For members of the Goodwill team, work is more than simply a paycheque. Goodwill staff enjoy a sense of camaraderie at work and a chance to take pride in their daily tasks. From greeters welcoming the public at donation centres, to those who organize clothing racks or in-store displays, the Goodwill spirit connects each employee to a greater network of positive change. Some have raised families while working at Goodwill, others have only just begun their journey. No matter their experience, they’re all connected in one way or another to the organization’s common goal of making a di erence for Albertans with disabilities.
SEF has supported Goodwill with operating capital to expand the organization’s operations across Alberta.
Entrepreneurs, and in particular social entrepreneurs are usually moving pretty fast.