Serving Spokane since 1939, Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest provides a number of social service programs and learning opportunities for those in our community facing barriers to success.
With 23 counties in Eastern Washington and North Idaho receiving help, Goodwill has a wide reach throughout our region. The organization served more than 6,600 people last year, and has seen continual growth, particularly in the last eight years.
Goodwill keeps their programs relevant to the needs of the community by conducting a Community Needs Assessment, roughly every 5 years. The Assessment surveys employees, clients, service partners, and community members. Their 2012 Assessment determined that veterans who are homeless in our region faced increasing barriers. Goodwill responded by providing more service programs directed to veterans, and others, experiencing homelessness.
More than 700 veterans and family members in our region received help from Goodwill in 2016. Of that number, 115 were children. Other programs focus on community employment, career skills development, case management, and other services.
Goodwill is currently in the process of performing a new Community Needs Assessment. If new or different needs are identified, Goodwill may make changes to their services to fit current needs of our region.
Strong relationships with other agencies and businesses in the region help make Goodwill’s 20-plus local programs successful. “Partnerships allow us to tap into the expertise of other agencies, to leverage funding and other resources, an ultimately help more people in the region overcome their barriers to develop independent and productive lives,” said Heather Alexander, Senior Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications.
Goodwill operates 14 retail locations, including one Outlet, in the region. Their retail stores are designed to be welcoming, high-quality, and ensure a strong return on their investment.
In addition to brick and mortar retail locations, Goodwill has several ecommerce lines of business, including ShopGoodwill.com, an Etsy store, an Ebay store, and an Amazonbooks store. These lines of business allow Goodwill to tap into customers who are not constrained by geographic location. You can find links to these online platforms on Goodwill’s website at DiscoverGoodwill.com/Shop. Electronics, rare items, high-end merchandise, and a wide selection of books are available on these various digital platforms.
“Our programs are primarily funded by our retail and online sales, with 85 cents of every dollar supporting our programs,” Alexander said.
As a non-profit, Goodwill is susceptible to the variability of the economy. Alexander recalled the Spokane organization faced severe financial difficulties in the early 1980s. New and innovative leadership led the organization to overcome its financial difficulties, and it has grown to a $33 million budget.
“If we shuttered our doors, that would have been a really sad thing for our community,” Alexander said. “Non-profits are a critical piece of our community.”
Goodwill’s main goal is to create a cycle for good; taking the “stuff” people don’t want anymore, and selling those donated items to fund programs that change thousands of lives in eastern Washington and northern Idaho every year.
“Good is happening in our community because Goodwill is here,” Alexander said.
For more information on Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest, visit DiscoverGoodwill.org.
Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest has been an investor with GSI since 1970. Does your business have an interesting story? Share it with us at GreaterSpokane.org/your-story.