Myth Busters – Find Out The Truth About Those Online Rumors

July 29, 2021

For years, there have been several online rumors

circulating about Goodwill and our mission,

and we’d like to clear the air for you—

because ultimately, our mission matters the most,

and we want to get the facts straight.


Discover the truth.

Discover all the good happening at Goodwill of Orange County.


Myth #1: Your CEO makes millions.


FALSE. There is a rumor that has been circulating for more than 15 years that insinuates we have an owner by the name of “Mark Curran” who makes millions of dollars. As a nonprofit, Goodwill does not have an owner and no one by that name has ever been affiliated with the Goodwill network.

Here in Orange County, our President & CEO is Nicole Suydam. Her salary is determined by our Board of Directors based on the leadership, innovation and performance she brings to the organization. (She’s awesome, by the way!) All our audited financial information, including salaries and dollars spent towards programs, is available on our website.

Myth #2: You pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage.

FALSE. Every individual that works for Goodwill of Orange County makes at or above minimum wage.


Myth #3: Goodwill employees get first dibs on donated goods.

FALSE. Goodwill of Orange County has a strict policy about employee shopping. Employees do not get first pick of any donated goods.

Employees are not allowed to stash or hide items, nor ask customers to purchase items for them. Employees are not allowed to shop at the store they work in – period. On their days off, employees are able, if they wish, to shop at any of our other store locations!

Myth #4: Only a small percentage of your profits support your mission.

FALSE. The numbers here don’t lie. More than 92 cents of every dollar is spent directly on our mission services and life-changing programs. So in fact, the vast majority of our profits are mission-focused.

We are committed to transparency as we know it builds trust with our donors and supporters, and all of our audited financial information is available year-round on our website.

Myth #5: What doesn’t sell in your stores goes to the local landfills or third-world countries.

FALSE. We care deeply about our community and environment, it has been a part of our roots since the beginning of Goodwill. Last year, Goodwill of Orange County diverted more than 12 million pounds of used goods from local landfills. We are proud of our ability to recycle and upcycle, and give your donated goods second and sometimes third lives.

We contribute substantially in collecting, sharing, reusing, recycling, prolonging, maintaining, and redistributing goods—from fashion, to home goods, hardware, and more. Any items that do not sell in our stores move next to our outlet and bulk sales Marketplace.

If they do not sell there, items then move to accredited recycling partners for further reuse or recycling. Last year, Goodwill of Orange County diverted more than 12 million pounds of used goods from local landfills.

Myth #6: Goodwill is a for-profit company, not a nonprofit.

FALSE. Goodwill is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to help people facing barriers find and keep jobs, which provides purpose, pride, and dignity. You may know us most for our thrift stores, but here’s the heart of what we do.
Since 1924, Goodwill of Orange County has provided thousands of people with disabilities and other barriers the opportunity to achieve their highest levels of personal and economic independence through competitive employment.

Myth #7: The money raised goes back to Goodwill Industries headquarters and not into my local community.

FALSE. Every dollar spent at our stores or raised through fundraising stays right here in Orange County. Goodwill of Orange County is part of the larger Goodwill Industries International network, but the work we do is tailored to the needs of our community.

That means that every pair of jeans and every blouse you score on your next thrift store visit, helps someone right here - your neighbors, your friends and family, your community.

Myth #8: All the good stuff gets pulled and put online. Nothing nice is in the stores anymore.

FALSE. Goodwill of Orange County received more than 14 million pounds of donations last year, 80 percent of which made its way to store shelves. To ensure we are being the best stewards of your donations and maximizing the value of the incredible items we are entrusted with, we do pull aside certain times like fine art, designer bags and watches for our online marketplace, As with any purchases made in-store, all online sales support our local mission work and desire to positively impact thousands of lives.