At one point or another, most of us have probably been to one of Goodwill’s 2,700 stores, either to donate clothes and household items we no longer wanted so they could find a new home, or to do a little discount shopping, or both. Goodwill has been a longstanding and valued member of many communities, not only by providing second hand goods at cheap prices for those on tight budgets, but also by using most of the $3.5 billion in annual revenue from these sales (the bulk of their $5 billion in total revenue) to provide employment and training programs, which serve more than 6.7 million people.
Now, with the help of a $90,000 grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Goodwill is launching an upscale version of its store in Sumner, Washington. This is about the tenth such store Goodwill has opened since 2011, so the strategy appears to be working. "This grant award leverages new Goodwill retail operations to significantly increase job training opportunities in culinary, retail, custodial, office, landscaping, construction, warehouse and logistics fields in this region,” said Cree Zischke, who heads global philanthropy and community relations for the Northwest and Intermountain Regions for JPMorgan Chase.
Particularly in more urban areas, trendy vintage clothing stores would send buyers to places like Goodwill to pick through their selection, purchase the best items, and then resell them in a boutique shop for a substantial markup. By adding these boutiques to its lineup of stores, Goodwill can now take that markup for itself, helping to generate additional revenue that then gets funneled back into their non-profit programs.
It’s a good example of JP Morgan Chase’s funding strategy when it comes to community groups—job training is a big part of it, but so is showing you’ve got a proven strategy. It’s also a good example, however, of how even a huge non-profit like Goodwill can successfully adapt to different trends and markets to maximize its revenue streams, and its services.