Goodwill on pace for record year of donations

Tax law changes don’t seem to be slowing down giving at the nonprofit thrift store chain

VANCOUVER — At the Fisher’s Landing Goodwill store on SE 162nd Avenue and 12th Street, a steady stream of cars passes through the drop-off area.

For the nonprofit thrift store chain, the days between Christmas and New Year’s are the most wonderful time of the year.

A vehicle drops off items at the Goodwill store on 162nd Avenue in east Vancouver in Dec. 2018. File photo by Chris Brown
A vehicle drops off items at the Goodwill store on 162nd Avenue in east Vancouver in Dec. 2018. File photo by Chris Brown

Dale Emanuel, spokesperson for Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette, says the Fisher’s Landing store is their highest volume donation site out of 53 locations in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

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Dale Emanuel, spokesperson for Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette, is shown in this file photo. Photo by Mike Schultz

“By the end of this year just at the Fisher’s Landing store, we anticipate nearly 7.4 million donation pounds will have come in,” says Emanuel. “Just these last two weeks of the year, more than 340,000 pounds.”

The Pacific Northwest Goodwill system, says Emanuel, donates more than any of the other 159 Goodwill systems in the world. 4.2 million times by year’s end. That will amount to approximately 259 million pounds of goods donated in this region alone in 2019, up from 253 million pounds in 2018.

In Clark County alone, Emanuel estimates, people will have donated well over 50 million pounds of stuff by year’s end.

“Every couple of years we survey folks in some of our largest and smallest counties, and we asked them why they give,” says Emanuel. “The number one answer is it’s convenient to give to us, because we have a lot of donation sites — more than 90 places where you can donate — but the second reason is our folks love to recycle.”

So far, Emanuel says those reasons have outweighed donating as a charitable tax deduction, though the number of people asking for a receipt this time of year jumps from around 30 percent to nearly 70 percent.

In fact, number three on the list of reasons why people donate to Goodwill, says Emanuel, is that they believe it will do good in the community.

“And it’s true,” she says. “We are happy and grateful to receive donations because the revenues raised allow all our free job programs to remain at no cost.”

Locally, Goodwill helped provide over 500,000 job services last year, either helping someone obtain work, or earn a promotion.

“We don’t check your financial statement at the door. Anybody can shop at Goodwill,” says Emanuel. “It’s where the revenues go once your item is given that that matters to us. We’re very glad that we can keep things out of the landfill. I think more than 80% of everything gathered last year was kept in the recycled stream.”

That amounts to nearly 200 million pounds kept out of landfills, according to the company.

To learn more about what happens with your donation, check out this story we did in Aug. 2018”

To learn more about Goodwill of the Columbia Willamette, and find a donation center near you, click here.

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