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Goodwill good for economy


Next time you drop off that bag of old clothes at the local

Goodwill, don’t just think of it as getting a tax

write-off. Think of it as helping the economy.

According to a new study, Virginia’s six Goodwill organizations had a $491 million economic impact on their communities and governments in 2011.

That doesn’t count real estate and personal property taxes. But Goodwill did pay $14 million in tax revenue for state and local governments through taxes on nearly 8,000 jobs.

The study is the second one the Virginia Goodwill Network has had done by the Elliott D. Pollack Co., an economic study and forecasting company.

At Fredericksburg-based Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, the study showed a $52 million economic impact in 2011, including $1.6 million in state tax revenue from 711 jobs.

Rappahannock Goodwill’s jobs numbers rose by 111 over 2010.

Goodwill not only hires workers for its own industries, it also trains and helps place workers at other companies.

According to Donald Tolson, vice president of finance and administration at Rappahannock Goodwill, the company teaches and trains people for 39 different industries. They also run a commercial laundry; Tolson said the Rappahannock Goodwill’s laundry does the washing for Air Force One.

“All the linens, when you get to fly with President Obama and you spill your crab bisque on the tablecloth, it’ll be the tablecloth we then wash,” Tolson said.

Most people, he said, have no idea how diverse Goodwill’s operations are, nor that Goodwill is self-sustaining and uses its revenue to train people for jobs.

The study is the second one the Virginia Goodwill Network has had done by the Elliott D. Pollack Co., an economic study and forecasting company.

This year’s Pollack report, which was finished in May, says that Goodwill’s efforts created 4,524 jobs around the state in 2011 and that Goodwill directly placed 3,890 workers. Goodwill’s stores, laundries and other operations have 2,539 full-time workers, plus 851 workers in the community. That’s 189 more jobs than Goodwill reported last year.

The report estimates those jobs created $477 million in economic output, with sales and income taxes generated as a result of those jobs totaling close to $14 million to the state and localities.

At Rappahannock Goodwill, the economic output was estimated at $50 million. That has grown from 2010’s report, when Rappahannock Goodwill was credited with $39.8 million in economic output.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Virginia’s employment overall grew by 56,012 jobs in 2011. The report says that means the new Goodwill jobs and Goodwill-engineered job placements represented more than 8 percent of the job growth.

The average worker placed through Goodwill’s efforts earns $10.68 an hour, the report says, and works 36 hours a week. In 2011 Goodwill placed workers in 41 industries, like administrative support, food services and retail.

At Rappahannock Goodwill, the average worker earns $9.60 an hour, and employees were placed at 23 different industries.

The Virginia Goodwill Network operates in Fredericksburg, Richmond, Washington, Danville, Roanoke and Hagerstown, Md., which covers the Winchester area. It doesn’t include Goodwill services west of Wytheville, which come from a Tennessee-based Goodwill network.

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028