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A recent Associated Press article entitled “Goodwill stores have a message: Please stop donating trash” compels me to write this piece and unequivocally assure you that Goodwill San Antonio is beyond grateful for your generosity. We continue to welcome and appreciate all donations entrusted to us.

Social enterprises such as Goodwill rely on donated goods to support our mission to help change lives through the power of work. Put simply, we receive your donated items and then sell those items to fund impactful workforce development programs and employment opportunities that benefit members of our community facing life barriers. Your donations are transformed to change lives.

Goodwill’s collective goal is simple, yet meaningful: As responsible stewards of every donation provided to us, we strive to extract as much value as we can from each item we are fortunate enough to receive. Goodwill San Antonio is especially good at achieving this goal due to the generous spirit of our community. We sort and sell the best of what is donated through our 23 retail stores, stand-alone electronic store, clearance center, and via our online auction site. Items not sold or not salable in our stores are responsibly recycled. All of this is done in a socially responsible way to provide affordable goods to the community to be reused and repurposed in a time when many people have lost jobs or have had wages reduced.

The sale of your gently-used donations enables us to generate critical revenue to fund the reason we do what we do, which is to help people – neighbors, friends, and family – gain employment and secure their future. In the almost two months I have been onboard serving as Goodwill San Antonio’s CEO, I have quickly come to understand and bear witness to how your donations are converted to positively impact the community in which we all live, work, and play. Your donations become real money that is invested into programs and services benefitting our local community.

Goodwill’s programs lead to measurable and meaningful results for our neighbors. This year we will directly employ more than 1,500 people, many of whom have a disability or a life barrier, with fair wages, benefits, and supportive services. Last year, through the pandemic, our Good Careers Centers placed 1,000 community members into meaningful employment. And we trained more than 300 people through our Good Careers Academy, equipping students with marketable vocational skills leading to recognized industry credentials in high-demand career fields.

Goodwill relies on generous donations to support its mission Credit: Goodwill San Antonio

Whether it is an unemployed person who may have a disability, a neighbor who is recovering from substance abuse, someone who may have been incarcerated for a nonviolent crime, at-risk youth disconnected from education and employment opportunities, or a single parent wanting more for their family, Goodwill San Antonio is proud to help everyone overcome barriers to employment. Your donations allow us to not only provide these services but also expand our programs centered around our founding purpose: Fighting Poverty. Creating Opportunity.

Together, our impact is important – and impossible without your generous donations.
Goodwill has been privileged to serve this community for 76 years and, while we have grown significantly since our humble beginnings, our foundation to help people advance through education and employment remains. Your gently-used items are the catalyst to incite this change and create the opportunity to help a person thrive and gain financial security and stability.

Good Careers Academy graduates Credit: Goodwill San Antonio

So if you are upgrading your electronics or spring cleaning, feel good about donating those items you may no longer have a use for. Each time you do, please know you are making an important difference. You’re not just decluttering your closets, you are truly changing lives.

Carlos J. Contreras III

Carlos J. Contreras III is the CEO of Goodwill San Antonio, a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise that helps change lives through the power of work.