Goodwill Facts and Myths

Goodwill is widely known and respected as a nonprofit that funds job training and employment services through the sales of donated items. Because of that, we sometimes stand in the line of fire from individuals and organizations who are misinformed and/or misrepresent us to the public.

Next time you see a friend perpetuating this old hoax, share this page with them (or send them to Snopes).

Facts and Myths

  • Meet Michael Wirth-Davis, our CEO.

    Michael recently celebrated his 28th year of service as President and CEO of Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota. He has a doctorate in Public Administration (D.P.A.), teaches a class or two at local colleges and volunteers his time speaking to various groups year-round. Is he making a million dollars a year? No, but he is fairly compensated for having the responsibility of managing more than 2,500 employees and ensuring that one of Minnesota's largest nonprofits fulfills its mission. Check out our annual report and our Form 990 to get the facts.

  • All our employees earn more than minimum wage.

    Every one of our 2,500+ employees earn more than the MN minimum wage. While some Goodwills nationally use the federal minimum wage exemption to provide employment support to people with very severe disabilities, we do not.

  • Goodwill stores exist to support our mission services.

    Our 45+ retail stores provide funding for services and programs that eliminate barriers to work and independence. Customers champion our mission and raise nearly $1M rounding up at the register each year! While items are donated to us, we employ staff to process items and recycle non-sellable items. Shopping and donating in our stores helps us place four people in the workplace every day!

  • We were green before green was even a thing.

    Our “donate-shop-reuse-educate-employ” model diverts over 60 million pounds from landfills annually and 60% of our stores are Energy Star rated. We also lead the metro area as a provider of electric car charging stations, which are located at 60% of our stores. To add perspective, 60 million pounds is equivalent to 130 Statues of Liberty! Read more.

  • Yes, items are donated, but stores have costs.

    Donations stock our stores to support our mission, but there are costs to get that lamp from your trunk onto a shelf. An attendant unloads donations, processors sort/price items and cashiers help customers.

    It takes 2.75 hours of staffing to process just 50 items and we stock 1,000+ new items daily in every store! We also have expenses like rent, lighting and cooling to make your shopping experience clean and comfortable.

    Many items start at just $1.99 and we offer weekly promotions and sales. Sign up at so you don’t miss savings!


Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota holds many certifications and accreditations to ensure transparency with donors and the highest level of service to our program participants. Nationally, Goodwill is rated an "A" grade by Charity Watch, and GESMN just earned its ninth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, a distinction obtained by only 2% of charities they review nationwide.

2017 World Value Index

For two years in a row, Americans told the World Value Index that Goodwill is the brand they trust more than any other.

The World Value Index is based on a nationally representative, comprehensive survey of 3,000 Americans on perception, awareness and behaviors in response to the purpose and mission of organizations and brands. Download a copy of the 2017 report.

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and has a Federal Tax ID: 41-0706171.