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Don’t Let Fake News Guide Your Charitable Giving

Nov 12, 2019

ROCHESTER, NY – Every so often, an online rumor titled “Think Before You Donate” makes the rounds on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. This collection of misinformation includes false statements about a number of charitable organizations, including Goodwill, and claims to expose inflated salaries and financial mismanagement.

Three ways the Think Before You Donate false rumors may look on social media

The information included in the viral posts are completely false and make the following erroneous claims:

  • FICTION: “Goodwill CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.” 
    • FACT: No person named Mark Curran has ever been employed by Goodwill Industries International or any Goodwill organization.
    • FACT: Goodwill is not owned by any individual, but, in fact, is a network of 157 community-based, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations, like Goodwill of the Finger Lakes.
    • FACT: Steven C. Preston is currently the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. Dr. A. Gidget Hopf is currently the CEO of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes.
    • FACT: No person in the Goodwill organization earns $2.3 million in compensation.
  • FICTION: “Goodwill takes donated items and sells them for a profit.”
    • FACT: Goodwill of the Finger Lakes is a registered not-for-profit and a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. Revenues from items sold in Goodwill’s 13 Rochester and Syracuse area stores support Goodwill’s mission to empower people with barriers to independence to be self-sufficient and contribute to their families and communities. This mission is carried out though Goodwill’s critical programs and services offered through the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI), 211/LIFE LINE, and Workforce Development.
  • FICTION: “$0 goes to help anyone.”
    • FACT: Of every dollar Goodwill earns, $0.90 is reinvested in our community to help individuals who:
      • Have vision loss and learn to safely get around their home and community.
      • Have had thoughts of suicide, and who have dialed 211 to be connected to the help they needed.
      • Have learned work readiness skills from our team and then found a job that empowers them to contribute to their family and community.

“We understand the value of our donors’ monetary contributions and donated clothing and household items, and we encourage everyone to do their research to ensure their giving supports the missions and goals that align with their values,” said Jennifer Lake, President of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes. “Our organization serves more than 150,000 community members each year through our mission services ABVI, 211/LIFE LINE, and Workforce Development. Careful review of online information has never been more important. Don’t let viral rumors dissuade you from giving – share the truth about our mission and how we put our community first.”

For factual information regarding Goodwill, please feel free to review the Goodwill profile on the nonprofit organization database GuideStar at