Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).
Goodwill is the biggest name in thrift stores, so big it’s synonymous with them, and as such their stores are positively buzzing this time of year. Not just with thrift-shopping hipsters and working-class customers, but Santa Clauses and wide-eyed children and helpful workers.
That last point is a crucial one: Goodwill is a genuinely helpful nonprofit, providing jobs for veterans and disabled people, offering affordable clothes and housewares as holiday gifts, and otherwise doing the things that many for-profit companies only blab about in marketing jargon.
Some Americans see a stigma in shopping there. The rest of us know it’s full of steep bargains, random vintage finds, and wonderfully diverse clientele (my favorite location is their longtime perch at 21 S. Broadway). What some may not know is that Goodwill Industries, Inc., as it’s technically known, is a global company with billions in revenue, all of which is used to pay its employees and support its mission of job-training people in underserved and impoverished communities.
Based in both Denver and Colorado Springs, Goodwill of Colorado also offers low-income energy assistance, help for farmers and ranchers, youth education and more. Seeing the company’s social, economic and environmental gains have honestly have helped restore my faith in humanity after watching it deplete in recent years.
They’ve kept 218 million pounds of garbage out of landfills, for example, by encouraging people to people donate clothes and other items instead of trashing them. They employed 2,812 people in Colorado, as of 2021, and helped another 1,332 people find jobs. They serve nearly 125,000 Coloradans in total each year. Those are results.
Goodwill’s leaders seem to know something many government agencies can’t wrap their heads around: improving the world is a matter of action, not simply planning and discussion. At Goodwill, it’s nonstop action.
Full disclosure: Goodwill of Colorado is among the recipients of this year’s Season to Share funding from The Denver Post Community Foundation. To learn more, visit denverpostcommunity.com/season-to-share, and to donate to Goodwill of Colorado visit goodwillcolorado.org.
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