How Community-Based Nonprofits are Responding to Human Needs in our Community

By , Chief Development Officer, Goodwill Sacramento Valley Northern Nevada

Nonprofits are so entwined in communities that it is easy sometimes to miss the impact they have on daily life. Consider the organizations with which people come into regular contact – churches, day-care centers, arts programs, human services, youth centers, and the many groups that work to improve the quality of life in communities – but can remain quite unnoticed.

Since nonprofits are a glue for connections between people, institutions, and government, they become a critical component in the building of civic capacity where residents can become empowered to help in improving living conditions.

Through donations and efforts of volunteers, nonprofits reduce the financial burden on local government, therefore reducing the need for higher taxes. The sector raises and receives hundreds of millions of dollars every year and spends vast funds on health, education, housing, recreation, the environment, the arts, and other areas. There are literally thousands of people employed, and tens of millions of dollars, both public and private, that are expended by nonprofits to meet basic human and economic needs.

As local entities, and as do businesses, they contribute to the community by spending money and increasing the disposable income by paying wages, rents, fees, and taxes. At the very local level, community-based organizations help to make neighborhoods more livable and attractive to businesses and have become a channel for the employment of disadvantaged workers, women, and people of color.

As one of those community-based nonprofit organizations, Goodwill Sacramento Valley Northern Nevada is answerable to the communities we serve – the clients (shoppers and program participants), the donors, the organizations with whom we work, the volunteers (from the board room to the stores), the staff, and pretty much every other human being who lives and/or works in this community.

Staying connected to the core values of mission and vision are vital to identity, integrity, and credibility – hallmarks of the third sector. But while demonstrating and maintaining a record of commitment to core values is important, exploring innovative and unconventional approaches to sustainably advance their mission is also important for nonprofits to pursue. Mission-advancing resource optimization is something Goodwill is extremely adept at.

Primarily, Goodwill reinvests their store proceeds through their job training services and through its partnerships with several other nonprofits including Wind Youth Services, Next Move, Francis House, Community Link and People of Progress. But there are so many more things Goodwill does behind the scenes to support our communities – in addition to employing nearly 2,000 people, paying rents and mortgages, and hiring contractors for everything from opening new locations to providing cleaning services.

Goodwill’s mission is to help people with disadvantages achieve self-sufficiency – pretty broad. As such, Goodwill will always try to respond to human needs with assistance whenever possible. As of late, Goodwill Sacramento Valley Northern Nevada has:

In other words, Goodwill is doing exactly what a nonprofit should be doing.

Goodwill Sacramento Valley Northern Nevada was established in 1933 with headquarters in the basement of the old Sixth Street (Methodist-Episcopal) church. They currently serve 16 counties in Northern California and 13 in Northern Nevada. In 2017, Goodwill and its nonprofit partners have provided over 700,000 services to nearly 300,000 people.

NOTE: As originally posted on