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Stories of Nonprofit Impact: Used Goods Sustain Better Lives

by Molly O'Connell

MANP recently released the 3rd edition of Partners in Prosperity: The Maine Nonprofit Sector Impact, which showcases the powerful social and economic impact of nonprofits in our state. We will be featuring stories from the report here on our blog in the coming months, and encourage nonprofits, public officials, and community members to download and read the full report for free.

This story of nonprofit impact comes from Goodwill Industry of Northern New England, which provides innovative services that eliminate barriers to opportunity and helps people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.

The Impact

Goodwill Industries of Northern New England (GNNE) helps to sustain the earth by selling donated goods through its 26 retail stores and Buy the Pound Outlet and Recycling Center. The revenue from sales impacts people’s ability to work by funding brain injury, community support, residential and workforce programs.

Last year, GNNE’s social enterprise model allowed them to employ 1,700 people in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and convert 71% of the 38 million pounds of donations (including over two million pounds of computer equipment and 100% of donated textiles) into sources of revenue that enabled them to serve close to 50,000 individuals.

The Story Behind the Impact

Goodwill Industries of Northern New England has become a nationwide leader in sustainability among Goodwill organizations, finding new and creative ways to divert the 38 million pounds of goods donated each year to useful ends. These goods are made available at low cost to over two million shoppers who visit their retail stores each year. The proceeds from retail sales and recycling operations are used to support programs aimed at helping all people achieve their fullest potential and participate and contribute to all aspects of life.

Last year, 342 low-income, at-risk youth received mentoring, education guidance and job search skills; 250 individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participated in financial planning and loan services to find, purchase and maintain a car for employment; and 170 women and young adults with prior involvement with the criminal justice system received mentoring to support education and career goals. In addition, over one thousand individuals were served through GNNE’s brain injury, community support and residential programs.

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