Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is the first branch in the nation to take on a secondary venture with the goal of raising more capital.
The division has launched a new company using the nonprofit’s fleet of trucks and drivers to help smaller organizations transport materials.
Goodwill is calling the low-cost freight service and package collection service “fair profit.” It’s a way to make money outside of its normal business model that will go back to supporting the nonprofit’s overall mission.
Goodwill’s Vice President of Retail Bob Stape said the trucks used to pick up donations for the stores are only used at about 30 percent capacity.
He said the new company, Mission Logistics, will rent the trucks and drivers to smaller for-profit and nonprofit businesses.
"They can’t afford to have a driver; they can’t afford insurance, so this gives them an opportunity to utilize us to move their material efficiently and effectively," he said.
In the first year, Mission Logistics will use Goodwill’s existing eight box trucks and two tractors that can pull trailers to collect and deliver non-perishables. The startup plans to hire three new drivers to the 15-driver crew. Stape said many of the nonprofits that have expressed interest said they sometimes get donations that require a large vehicle. He said the service will collect and deliver commodities such as textiles, household goods, industrial supplies and building materials.
Stape said other nonprofits are also using social enterprise ventures in order to make enough to continue working toward their mission without relying on grant or donor support.
Bob Crytzer, the director of the new company Mission Logistics, said it’s a way for nonprofits to increase efficiency.
“Over the last 20 years, industry has found that there’s a lot of value and has embraced improving logistics to improve profitability and efficiencies. Nonprofits haven’t,” he said.
Stape said he expects the service to start in March, with the collection and deliveries in southwestern Pennsylvania.