FAQs

Click here to view a printable FAQs PDF.

Mission and History

Goodwill Industries® is a not-for-profit agency that provides employment and training opportunities to assist people with employment barriers to become self-sufficient, working members of our community.

Our mission is based on the fundamental belief that people want to work to provide a better life for themselves and their families.  Slogans such as We believe in the Power of Work, Our Business is Changing Lives, and Donate Stuff. Create Jobs. were created as a communication tool to help the public understand that Goodwill supports an individual’s right to work and prosper regardless of his/her barrier to employment.  

 Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms created the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” when he collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired people who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then sold or given to the people who repaired them. 

More than 115 years later, Goodwill remains a household name and leading nonprofit provider of educational and workforce-related services.  Goodwill has become an international nonprofit that takes in more than $4.8 billion in annual revenue and provides more than 300,000 people with job training and community services each year.

 In 1937, B.C. Wallace, a Stockton mortician, and Monroe Hess, who ran the San Francisco Goodwill, established Goodwill Industries of San Joaquin Valley, Inc. by opening the first Goodwill thrift store in the city of Stockton. They stocked the little store on Channel Street with items donated by the San Francisco store.  By 1942, the  organization had generated enough revenue to build a chapel and attached store at the corner of Market and Grant Streets. Soon after, a second store was opened in Modesto.

Today, Goodwill SJV operates 16 retail stores, two As-Is outlets, and online E-Commerce sales, supported by two distribution and transportation hubs and multiple Community Donation Centers.  This thriving social enterprise provides jobs to nearly 350 men and women throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Our Corporate Headquarters is located in downtown Stockton at 129 S. Grant Street, Stockton, CA 95202.  The Grant Street facility houses our Administrative Offices, Northern Distribution Center, and E-Commerce online sales operations.

Our territory covers the San Joaquin Valley and the counties of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, North Tulare and Tuolumne.  

We offer employment opportunities for those with barriers to employment, on-the-job training, soft skills development workshops, and paid work experience.  

No. Although Goodwill was founded by a Reverend, we are not a religious organization.

Yes. Goodwill is recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service.  We are one of the area’s leading nonprofit providers of education, training and career services for people with disadvantages, such as welfare dependency, homelessness and lack of education or work experience, as well as those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.  As a nonprofit, any profit we make is put right back in to more programs and services for the people we serve.

Yes, Goodwill is accredited by Goodwill Industries International, Inc.®, and will be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) beginning in 2021.

No.  Goodwill SJV is one of more than 160 independent Goodwill organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Goodwill also has a presence in 13 other countries. To meet the needs of our local communities, each local Goodwill organization designs our own programs and services to best help the people in our local communities. 

Yes. We maintain membership affiliation with the national organization, Goodwill Industries International, Inc. (GII).  GII provides consultation services to help local Goodwills in the areas of workforce development, retail and commercial operations, financial and management information, education and training, public relations and marketing, and legislative information.  We also affiliate with our Goodwill statewide organization—the Council of California Goodwill Industries—to share “best practices” and support each other for the good of our communities.

Who oversees or governs Goodwill SJV?

Our Agency is led by a President/CEO and governed by a 14-member Board of Directors who sets policy, adopts the budget and employs the President/CEO. Directors serve one-year, renewable terms without compensation.  Candidates for the Board are sought out based on individual qualifications, diversity of interest and experience in an effort to broadly represent our community.

Goodwill SJV provides oversight to Goodwill Service Connection (GSC), established as a separate nonprofit corporation to provide employment for people with significant disabilities through government contract work.  GSC currently employs 35 individuals who work full-time at federal facilities to deliver custodial or landscaping services in a supportive work environment. Since 1999, GSC has been transforming lives through the Power of Work.

Financial Accountability

Goodwill’s programs and services are funded primarily through the proceeds generated by the sale of donated goods in our retail (thrift) stores and online store, GWbargains.com, and by the sale of recyclables and salvaged goods that did not sell in the stores. 

Goodwill receives limited funding through fees for training services as well as public support from individual financial contributions.  The more donations we receive, the more we can sell, and the more services we provide to our community.

In 2006, Goodwill SJV established a Foundation to provide funding for special needs, mission-based projects and future growth.

Revenue from our retail and contract divisions is used to fund and support programs that will help empower the community and develop self-sufficient individuals among the under-served. In 2018, 87% of our revenue was spent directly on programs and services, with a lean 13% necessary for operational management. We are proud of these statistics and will continue to work hard to maintain the low administrative costs.

Yes.  We prepare an Annual Report Card that we mail to donors, community members and local government agencies throughout the San Joaquin Valley in an effort to be open and transparent. The 2018 Annual Report Card can be found HERE.

Financial contributions are put right back into our Mission of providing programs and services for our community.  The more contributions we receive, the more people we can hire and train!  

We are fortunate to have loyal supporters who want to help us put people to work in our neighborhoods. Their gifts are precious to us and are used wisely and thoughtfully to help people gain the skills and attitudes they need to become self-sufficient members of the community. Because of their support, thousands of individuals are now working, earning a paycheck and supporting themselves and their families.

Any amount you would like to gift to us to use toward our Mission is truly appreciated.  Some people donate $5 while others are in the position to give hundreds.  We treat each and every gift the same and are thankful for our generous community.

Yes. You may contribute online at goodwill-sjv.org/Donate or by clicking HERE, or by calling our Finance Department with a credit card payment: (209) 466-2311 x 1050.  You may also mail or hand-deliver a check to our Corporate Headquarters or to Store Management at any of our retail stores.  

Employment and Volunteering

You can view and apply for our job openings online at goodwill-sjv.org/jobs.

Yes. You are welcome to apply for all open positions for which you are qualified.

All applications are reviewed within 10 days of submission.  If you apply for an open position and your skillset matches the minimum qualifications, we may contact you by phone for an interview. Please keep in mind that for any given position we might receive hundreds of applications and are unable to contact every applicant.

Sure. You are welcome to call to check on the status of your application, although we will contact you if there is a potential employment opportunity.

350 and growing!

Goodwill offers a broad spectrum of benefits to our full-time employees, including medical, dental and vision coverages, and paid holidays and vacation. We also offer a 401K and sick leave to both full-time and part-time employee. We offer opportunities for professional development and a stable career path for all.  Plus, employees receive a 25% employee discount off donated items (with some restrictions) in our retail stores!

Our volunteers come to us through partnerships with other agencies.  This allows us to coordinate the training and supervision we provide to volunteers.  We are not able to accommodate an individual who walks in to the store to request to volunteer. For more information, please call Human Resources at (209) 466-2311 x 1001.

Shopping: In Stores and Online

Yes, Seniors (60+) receive a 25% discount on Tuesdays; Active Duty Military and Veterans receive a 25% discount on Wednesdays; and Students and Teachers receive a 15% discount on Thursdays. ID is required for verification at the time of purchase. 

Our stores also have weekly color-tag sales for clothing and linens.  One color is 50% off and another color is 75% off!  These sales are on donated items only, and only one discount can be applied per item.  For example, the color-tag discount or the Seniors discount.

Throughout the year we also have special sales. For example: President’s Day, Memorial Day, July Back-to-School, $1 Clothing, 30% off housewares, 50% off furniture, Labor Day, Black Friday and more!

Yes.  Follow us on our Facebook page (Goodwill Industries of San Joaquin Valley) to stay up-to-date on our sales and promotional events.

Yes, our retail stores are open 7 days a week and closed only three days out of the year: Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. 

Yes. Goodwill SJV gift cards can be purchased in any of our retail stores and in any amount you choose. There are no fees to purchase a Goodwill SJV gift card, and they don’t expire. Gift cards cannot be replaced if lost.  Also, the gift cards are redeemable at all of our retail stores in the San Joaquin Valley, but not at other Goodwills since we are all run independently.

As with every business, there are built-in costs that are necessary for our operations. We pay the salaries, benefits, education and training costs of our employees who collect, process, distribute and sell our goods.  Our costs also include rent, payroll and employee benefits, transportation, fuel, vehicle maintenance and utilities. Goodwill prices items to maximize their value and uses the capital to benefit communities through your donations. Goodwill strives to be a self-sufficient nonprofit organization.

We sort our clothing by type (shirts, pants, skirts) and by men’s, women’s and children’s.  If we also sorted by size within those categories, we wouldn’t be able to keep up with the thousands of items we place out on our sales floors daily. And we want to keep the products fresh for our customers so they’ll keep coming back!  Also, hanging by color allows us to put to work people who may have a barrier to employment—the people we serve—who would have difficulty hanging by size but are able to match colors.  

Our Retail Stores are what most people know as our thrift stores.  This is where donated items are first offered for sale (although some items go directly to our E-Commerce online sales for a greater reach). We currently have 16 Retail Stores.

Items that haven’t sold in our Retail Stores during the initial cycle are pulled and transported to one of our Outlet Stores where they are sold at even greater discounts.  We currently have two Outlet Stores:  Fresno Fulton Mall and Madera.

We have two Salvage/As-Is bulk purchasing locations: one in Stockton and one in Fresno. Salvage (clothing and linens) is sold by the pound and As-Is (housewares) is sold by the box. A seller’s permit is required for purchase at both locations. For more information and to apply for a seller’s permit, visit our website HERE.

We continuously chart and analyze the demographics of all of our territory to determine when a new store or donation center could be supported by the area and community. 

 At Goodwill, our mission relies on a continuous cycle of 1) accepting donations, 2) stocking our shelves, 3) selling to our customers, and 4) hiring individuals in our community.  We aren’t set up to process items that would come back in through the front door of our stores, so we aren’t able to accommodate refunds or exchanges.   If you change your mind on an item that is still in good working condition, consider donating it back! 

 Yes. Visit our E-Commerce online store at GWbargains.com or shopgoodwill.com today!

Please email the E-Commerce Manager at info@gwbargains.com when you have questions, comments or follow-up about your online purchase.  

Yes.  During the purchase process, you can select “pick up locally” and pick up your item from the E-Commerce facility located at 129 S. Grant Street, Stockton.

Donating

We appreciate all new and gently used clothingshoesaccessorieshousehold items, electronics and furniture. Items must be in good condition and ready to place on the sales floor. Thank you for your donations!  We can’t do it without you!

We are unable to accept large appliances, building supplies, baby furniture, mattresses, box springs, sofa sleepers, broken or soiled furniture, automotive parts, batteries of any kind, chemicals, food or beverage, medicine or vitamins, ammunition, broken items, and recalled items.

That’s how Goodwill began, by fixing and reselling. It might one day be a business endeavor we could consider, but today we don’t have the staffing, tools and equipment, nor the space to clean or repair items that are donated to us.  So it’s important that we accept only floor-ready items that are likely to sell quickly.  Also, it prevents a customer from unknowingly purchasing a broken item.  

We offer convenient donation locations throughout our territory.  All of our retail stores accept donations, except our Fresno Fulton Mall location. We also have Attendant Donation Centers (trailers) easily accessible in shopping centers across our territory (Clovis, Fresno, Riverbank and Stockton), and we are in the process of adding more convenient donation sites. A list of donation locations can be found HERE

Yes. All of donation drop-off centers and retail store locations are happy to issue you a receipt for you to complete a list of items and donor-estimated values.

Unfortunately, no. Goodwill does not keep copies of donation tax receipts.

A Donation Valuation Guide to assist you in estimating the value of your donated items is available on our Donate webpage and by clicking HERE.

It is not a requirement but it is appreciated, particularly if you have large furniture. We’ll want to be sure we have space for it.

 Yes.  Donating a vehicle is a quick and easy way for you to help people right here in your community.  Goodwill has a centralized processing center and with a simple call and some information about your vehicle, your car can be towed at no cost to you and usually the very next day. We also take care of the paperwork. Call (800) 826-0980 or click HERE for more information.

No, we do not offer individual home pick-up services. The costs of trucks, fuel, insurance and drivers make it extremely expensive to offer this type of service. As a nonprofit organization, we operate on a tight budget, allocating the most resources we possibly can into our mission-based employment and training programs. 

Instead, we are able to coordinate neighborhood pick-up events whereby we advertise the day we will be in a specific neighborhood, and people can put their donations on the curb for us to pick up on that day. If you are interested in having Goodwill come to your neighborhood, please contact our community outreach manager at (209) 466-2311 x 1003 or kculliver@goodwill-sjv.org

We also offer convenient donation locations throughout the San Joaquin Valley. See the list of locations on our website at goodwill-sjv.org/Donate and by clicking HERE.

Our goal is to generate money to fund Goodwill programs from every item that is donated. In most cases, we sell donated items through our retail stores. As for items that can't be sold in our stores, we have found other creative uses for them. For instance, items that are too damaged may be sold to salvage brokers or through our clearance centers. Donating to Goodwill supports our programs as we work hard to keep usable items out of the landfills.

Yes! Old, new, working and non-working electronics. Donate them all!

Not directly. Goodwill SJV is a California State Certified collector of electronic waste. Electronic devices such as computers, monitors, TVs, and tablets are collected at Goodwill locations, then sent to a state-approved recycler to be wiped, refurbished, resold, or stripped for parts to be recycled. Goodwill does not directly perform those services and we keep none of these devices.

Typically, no. As donations come in to our stores, they are immediately processed and placed out on the floor or loaded onto a trailer and transported to our Distribution Center. From there, they may go to any one of our 16 retail stores.  We understand the anguish associated with giving away an item of sentimental value by mistake. If it’s the same day, you can return to the store and see if it’s possible for the staff to locate your bag of items.  They will be able to tell you if that day’s donations are out on the floor or are in transport elsewhere.

Giving to the Community

We don’t give away items that we have received as donations.  People donate their items to us with the understanding that our sole purpose is to sell the items to use the money for our Mission.  We aren’t able to take those donations and give them away for other purposes, regardless of how worthy the other purposes may be.  

Instead, Goodwill SJV produces vouchers for the purchase of items in our stores. Each year, a number of vouchers are donated to local American Red Cross agencies and other aid organizations who are able to determine who in our community is at need and will distribute the vouchers accordingly.

We offer goods at a discount price that some people wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. We give people and donated items a second chance!

 At Goodwill, almost nothing goes to waste.  We sell the majority of items we receive. We also recycle and/or sell electronic waste and salvage, which leaves us with a very minimal amount of disposable trash.  In 2018, 10.7 million lbs. were recycled and/or sold as salvage, keeping them out of our landfills, and 728,000 lbs. of electronics were recycled.

Customer Service

It is preferred that you call the store directly and speak with Store Management who can address your specific inquiry.  If you wish to provide a more general comment, you may also call the Office of the President/CEO at (209) 466-2311 ext. 1013.  If it’s regarding employment, please call Human Resources at ext. 1002.