Myth Busters

Fact or fiction? Real or unreal? We want to dispel some common misconceptions about Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin to help you understand why donating and shopping at Goodwill SCWI helps people in your community.


Myth #1: Goodwill SCWI is not a nonprofit.

Fact:  We are 100% local, 100% nonprofit. For over 50 years, since 1971, Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) has been a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Our mission – helping people achieve their highest level of independence through the Power of Work is about building skills and confidence so that people in our community can attain success and independence. Because success looks different to each person, Goodwill SCWI provides the tools and support to remove barriers to employment and independent living. Learn about our mission programs at:


Myth #2: Monetary donations or proceeds from the sale of donated items goes directly to Goodwill Industries International.

Fact: All monetary donations and proceeds from the sale of donations in our stores and online stay in our 14 county south central Wisconsin region.

Goodwill Industries International (GII), based in Rockville, Maryland, has a network of 155 community-based independent Goodwill regions in the U.S., Canada and 12 other countries. Each Goodwill region operates as an individual business, with its own Board of Directors and President/CEO, allowing for mission programs to focus on local community needs.


Myth #3: Only a small percentage of revenue generated by Goodwill goes toward funding Goodwill mission services.

Fact: Goodwill SCWI is a responsible steward of all funding streams — retail/online sales, private donations/grants and state/federal grants. For every dollar of revenue received, 87 cents is used to support our mission programs such as Supported Employment, which serves adults with developmental disabilities and Supportive Housing, which provides housing to adults with chronic mental illness.


Myth #4: Mark Curran is the CEO and owner of Goodwill and is paid $2.3 million per year.

 Fact: Mark Curran is not the CEO and owner of Goodwill. Several variations of a hoax email called “Think Before You Donate” claim that Mark Curran is the CEO and owner of Goodwill earning $2.3 million a year. We want to set the record straight – Mark Curran has never owned Goodwill or worked for Goodwill. We have no record of this individual.

The CEO of Goodwill Industries International is Steven Preston and he reports to a volunteer board of directors. The President/CEO of Goodwill SCWI is Michele Harris, who also reports to a volunteer board of directors.


Myth #5: Goodwill pays their employees less than minimum wage.

Fact: The current Wisconsin minimum wage is $7.25. Our employees, depending on the job, start at $13 per hour or more and are eligible for annual raises. Goodwill employees also receive Goodwill-funded benefits and the opportunity for an annual performance review. Our Supported Employment participants are paid directly by the employer for whom they work. Each employer sets the hourly wage which is higher than minimum wage.


Myth #6: Goodwill employees get first dibs on donated items.

Fact: Goodwill employees are not able to shop while they are working and cannot set things aside to buy later. Employees can only shop during their break, meal break or before/after their shift. Also, new merchandise must be on the floor for at least 30 minutes before an employee can purchase it.


Myth #7: Valuable, collectible, high-end donated items are sold only online and not in stores.

Fact: To offer these items to a wider audience, we do set items with a high value or that are collectible aside to sell on our three online sites:, and Goodwill SCWI Good Again. The bottom line? Whether an item is sold online or in-store, all sales support our mission of helping people achieve their highest level of independence through the Power of Work.


Myth #8: Goodwill sends things they can’t sell to landfills or third-world countries.

Fact: Goodwill does not send items to landfills or to third-world countries. When items are not resalable, we have specific recycling streams that recycle clothing and textiles into carpet padding and other items. We also recycle household wiring, extension cords, holiday string lights through a specific recycling stream to ensure these items don’t end up in landfills.

And in a partnership with Dell Computers, we accept working and non-working computer equipment which is responsibly recycled. Through resale and recycling, Goodwill SCWI keeps 16 million pounds of materials out of local landfills each year.


Myth #9 Goodwill stores are only for low-income people.

Fact: Anyone and everyone can donate and shop at Goodwill. When you donate and shop, you’re helping members of our community with developmental disabilities find meaningful work and helping adults with chronic mental illness learn the skills in our group homes they need to live independently.