Goodwill FAQ


What is Goodwill's mission?
Our mission is to help people achieve their highest level of independence through the Power of Work.

Who does Goodwill help?
We help individuals with disabilities or other challenges living right here in South Central Wisconsin.

How does Goodwill help local residents?

When you support Goodwill, you provide:

  • On-site job support to individuals with disabilities and other challenges while they work in the community. All employees earn minimum wage or higher. Those receiving our services reap the many benefits of being a valued member of the workforce and local employers find the enthusiastic workers they want.
  • Free face-to-face job search assistance to individuals with or without disabilities.
  • A group home environment where individuals with chronic mental illness can acquire the skills they need to be successfully employed or live on their own.
  • An opportunity for individuals to establish a recent work reference, acquire general work skills and reinforce positive work habits while working at a Goodwill site.
  • Free income tax return preparation assistance to low-income workers and others. In addition to this personal service, the community benefits as tax refunds can generate spending within the local economy.
  • Families and individuals can get vouchers from county health services for free clothing and household items from one of our stores.
  • Quality apartments for low-income workers and others with chronic mental illness, as well as low-income retirees.
  • Job-related training to human service and transit workers who serve individuals with disabilities and others in our community.
How else does supporting Goodwill benefit our community?

Through your support:

  • The public learns about the importance of recycling.
  • Cab drivers, para-transit drivers, individuals working in community-based residential facilities and other human services care providers receive work-related training.
  • Area employers learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.


Is Goodwill a not-for-profit organization?
Yes. We are a 501(c)(3) organization.
Is Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin part of a larger organization?
Yes. We are part of Goodwill International, a network of over 160 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with a presence in 14 other countries. Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that provide job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs. While every organization serves people with disabilities and other challenges, each Goodwill identifies and responds to the needs of its local community.
Which counties are included in Goodwill’s service area?
Our service area includes the following counties: Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Lafayette, Marquette, Richland, Rock and Sauk.


What are Goodwill’s sources of revenue?
The primary source of our revenue is generated through the sale of donated goods through our stores and online auction site. We also receive county, state and federal funding for services and rely on the generosity of individuals and corporations who financially support the efforts of our organization.
How much of every dollar of revenue goes toward administrative costs?
We are proud that only 15 cents of every dollar we spend goes toward administrative costs. This is well below industry standards and guidelines, which typically are in the range of 25 to 30 percent for administrative costs.


How did Goodwill get started?
Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston’s South End by Dr. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister. He collected used household items and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained the poor and immigrants to mend and repair the used goods. These items were either resold or given away to the people who needed them, giving birth to the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not charity.”
What is Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin’s history?
Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin opened in Madison in 1962 as a division of the Milwaukee Goodwill. The Madison division separated from the Milwaukee Goodwill in January 1971 and has since expanded to serve all of South Central Wisconsin.