Fact Check: Think Before You Donate
From the Grand Strand down to the Lowcountry, people are setting aside their newspapers and picking up their smart phones. According to a recent report from Forbes, 55% of American adults receive their news from social media either “often” or “sometimes” – an 8% increase from just one year ago. In fact, chances are you ended up on this blog post, because you followed a link from Facebook, Twitter or maybe even LinkedIn. Social media platforms have become a powerful tool that gives any user the capability to share stories, opinions, advice and much more.
Unfortunately, social media’s strengths are also its weaknesses. Misleading, deceptive, confusing or even flat out false rumors circulate on social media. These rumors are targeted at individuals and businesses alike – Goodwill being no exception. Of course, we couldn’t properly address these rumors in 240 characters or less, so we decided to write this blog in order to clarify any misconceptions around our organization and the impact that we have throughout the 18 counties we serve. We’re going to dispel some of this Facebook fiction, because we agree that everyone should “think before you donate.” When you do, you may rest assured that your generous donations provide individuals in our community the resources they need to find meaningful employment.
Fiction: Mark Curran is the CEO and owner of Goodwill and makes $2.3 million per year.
Fact: Goodwill is not owned by a single individual. In fact, there are over 157 community-based, autonomous Goodwill organizations throughout the United States and Canada. Locally, Palmetto Goodwill serves 18 counties across South Carolina and is governed by a board of directors made up of a diverse group of volunteers from our local community. Furthermore, no individual named Mark Curran has ever led a Goodwill organization. The local board of directors determines the CEO’s compensation and, in doing so, considers the complexities of the job. Our CEO, Robert Smith, has been serving Goodwill’s mission for more than 35 years. A native Charlestonian, Smith is a former truck driver at Palmetto Goodwill, who worked his way up within the organization. Under Smith’s direction, Palmetto Goodwill employs more than 1,200 people and serves over 15,000 individuals annually.
Fiction: Goodwill is a for-profit organization and doesn’t use its resources to assist the community.
Fact: More than 90 cents from every dollar generated by Palmetto Goodwill is used to help achieve our mission through job trainings, veteran services, and disability employment. During 2019, Palmetto Goodwill helped place 4,000 people into new jobs, served 1,200 U.S. veterans and diverted more than 16 million lbs. of waste from local landfills.
Additional misinformation can be traced to a Facebook post from 2017, in which the author details an incident whereby a disabled individual attempted to use vouchers to purchase certain items at a Goodwill retail store and was denied. The incident did not occur at one of Palmetto Goodwill’s 31 locations or anywhere in South Carolina. In fact, Palmetto Goodwill utilizes an entirely different voucher system than the one described in this Facebook post. Palmetto Goodwill is proud to offer a voucher program to meet the immediate needs of individuals whose lives have been negatively impacted by disaster. In most cases, clothing and furniture is given to those displaced from their home due to flood or fire. In 2019, we distributed 3,125 vouchers to individuals in need. In total, these vouchers equated to more than $105,000 in value that could be used for clothing, shoes & other necessities found in one of our retail store locations. To learn more about the original Facebook post, please click here.
Fiction: Goodwill treats disabled workers unfairly.
Fact: We are 100% committed to our mission of helping people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work, and we have a proven track record of providing people with disabilities employment and training services since our inception in 1979. We currently employ more than 440 individuals with disabilities, making us one of the largest employers of individuals with disabilities in South Carolina. The vast majority of these employees participate in the AbilityOne program, which is a job training and employment program that enables individuals with disabilities to enjoy full participation in their community and market their skills in public and private sector jobs. Currently, Palmetto Goodwill operates 14 AbilityOne contracts with all four branches of the military in the communities we serve. Our employees perform high-volume food service, secure mail room operations, janitorial and aseptic cleaning, grounds maintenance and more. Palmetto Goodwill does not utilize the controversial 14(c) special wage certificate.
Now that we’ve addressed these rumors, it’s your turn to act. We encourage our donors and shoppers to share this post with friends, family and co-workers to help further educate our community on our efforts and support our mission. If you have any questions about our services or voucher program, please let us know.