Think Before You Donate False Rumor Goodwill Response

False Rumors

Southern Oregon Goodwill Responds to False Rumors about Goodwill

Goodwill® Industries International has more than a century of experience helping people who have disabilities, who live in poverty, or who have other barriers to employment in the U.S., Canada, and 13 other countries. Goodwill is a leading social services enterprise, and consistently ranks among the nation’s top charities.

Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator, who modeled the principle of a hand up, not a handout.

Unfortunately, we sometimes stand in the line of fire from individuals and organizations who are misinformed and/or misrepresent us to the public. A negative rumor that has been circulating since 2008 when it first popped up in an email has recently resurfaced with a message like this: “Think about these before you donate. As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep these facts in mind…”

The message then quotes erroneous information and salary figures for several nonprofit organizations’ chief executives, including a reference to a so-called “Goodwill CEO and Owner Mark Curran, who profits $2.3 million a year.”

This information is simply wrong. As nonprofit organizations, neither Goodwill Industries International nor any of the 161 independent Goodwill agencies internationally are “owned” by anyone. Lorna G. Utley, retired president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, is the current interim President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International and reports to a volunteer Board of Directors. Utley remains with the interim title until a permanent CEO is appointed.

Locally, Shae Johns is the President & CEO of Southern Oregon Goodwill Industries. Shae graduated from South Medford High School, has a masters in Social Work from the University of Denver, has spent more than 10 years of her career helping people with disadvantages reach their full potential at Southern Oregon Goodwill. She reports to a volunteer Board of Directors who set goals for the organization and determine her salary.

Here in Southern Oregon, approximately 86% of the revenue we earn is spent on our mission services of job training and workforce development. This is a very healthy number in the nonprofit world and a solid indicator of our commitment to good stewardship of your donations.

Your donations to Goodwill’s Retail & Donation Centers and your financial contributions to the Goodwill, fund programs and services that assist thousands of Southern Oregonians each year.

Goodwill definitely encourages you to “think before you donate” – the one legitimate message that this damaging hoax email contains – and to learn more about the charities you’d like to support. Make sure the organization you choose uses its revenue for charitable purposes that support a mission you believe in.

For more information, we encourage you to visit the GuideStar website,  which posts financial records and independent reviews of charities.  There, you can review our  IRS 990 form, required of most federally tax-exempt organizations. GuideStar has certified Goodwill Industries International with the GuideStar Exchange Seal for its commitment to transparency. Southern Oregon Goodwill Industries has consistency received the Silver rating from GuideStar and we are accredited by an independent watchdog agency, CARF.


For more information debunking this hoax email, please visit, a website which validates and debunks urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other stories of unknown or questionable origin. If you would like to get a personal behind-the-scenes tour and meet CEO Shae Johns, email or call Julie Fletcher at 541-772-3300.