How Goodwill of Orange County Gives Back to Those in Need, in Ways You’d Never Expect

Here’s How Goodwill Helps the Community in Times of Need

Most people know what Goodwill is and have most likely spotted one of their stores, but do you really know what they are all about? Did you know that Goodwill of Orange County is a few years shy of celebrating their 100th year? Did you know that their purpose is to help people find jobs? Goodwill of Orange County’s mission statement, listed on their website, says it all: “Goodwill helps people who are facing barriers to find and keep jobs, which provides purpose, pride and dignity.”

With their first store opening in Santa Ana in 1924, Goodwill of Orange County has since grown to 24 stores and several donation drop-off locations throughout the county. “All money raised at our Orange County locations stays local to help fund OC programs,” says Eric Smissen, director of marketing and communications for Goodwill of Orange County. “About 92-94 cents per dollar goes back to these programs.” They work very hard to keep their overhead costs down to be able to give back this gracious amount.

The nonprofit funds over 15 different programs for the county. “We have a program called Young Adult Life Launch, which helps young adults involved in the justice system who want to turn their lives around and find training and a job,” explains Smissen. They also have a program called Supported Employment, which helps participants with developmental disabilities with job preparation and job placement around the community.  “With the Supported Employment program, we see what is called ‘The Goodwill Effect,’” says Smissen. “Employers tell us these participants are always so happy, positive and smiling that it rubs off on their other employees, who in turn get a renewed appreciation for their jobs.” The participants in this program are assigned a coach to help keep them on track.

Another one of Goodwill of Orange County’s amazing programs is their Tierney Center for Veteran Services, located in Tustin. “There is no VA in Orange County,” explains Smissen, “so this is like a one-stop hub for veterans to meet with someone to discuss and address their needs, whether it be home or food concerns or figuring out how to list their skills from the service on a resume.”

The proceeds collected by Goodwill are shared amongst the programs; the cost of running each program, however, is taken into consideration to be able to make appropriate designations. Donations of gently used items like clothing, shoes and houseware can be made at all store and drop-off locations. You can check online to see what is accepted and what is not.

Aside from donating items, anyone can also make a monetary donation and choose to specify which program they would like their donation to benefit. But donating to Goodwill is not the only way you can help your community; shopping at the stores helps too! Clothes are sold in the local stores for about five weeks. After that, they are sent to the Goodwill Marketplace where shoppers can shop by the pound! That’s right, for under $3 per pound, you can bring home a whole new wardrobe!

Prefer to shop online? Goodwill of Orange County started, an online auction site that has now become the second-largest auction site on the web! More than 130 Goodwills from across the nation participate at, meaning shoppers can search and bid on items from Goodwill locations near and far! The site also recently underwent a full rebranding and modernization – a refreshed look and feel, plus new shopping features like category searches, makes shopping thrift online easy and fun!

To learn more about how to donate and how Goodwill gives back to the community, visit

Goodwill of Orange County
410 N Fairview St
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Photography Provided By: Goodwill of Orange County 

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