The white donation bins are back at Drexel this summer, signifying the return of the University’s clothing drive benefitting Goodwill of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.
The bins have taken up residence in parking lots around the University City Campus, and they’ll remain there through Sept. 12. The drive springs from a partnership with Goodwill that began last year, and through a special arrangement all Drexel donations will benefit the West Philadelphia neighborhoods surrounding the campus.
“When you donate your stuff, you’re helping people in this community,” said Greg Montanaro, senior adviser to the president for external affairs, who serves as chairman of the board for Goodwill of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia and helped devise the partnership.
Goodwill’s general mission is to help people with disabilities and disadvantages find jobs. It funds those efforts by selling donated clothing and other goods in its retail stores. The proceeds from the University’s drive will go toward job training in West Philadelphia in alignment with Drexel’s own neighborhood initiatives.
“It’s all about helping people,” Montanaro said, “and it’s all about the synergies that can be created when multiple institutions come together for a common purpose.”
Specifically, proceeds from the drive will support efforts at the KEYSPOT public computer center at Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. KEYSPOT provides computer and Internet training for residents who are disconnected because of the digital divide.
“People can’t even apply for jobs if they can’t get online today,” Montanaro said.
Goodwill also has an eye on expanding its services in West Philadelphia in the future, Montanaro said. It hopes to open an adult high school where people without diplomas could earn them — actual diplomas, not GEDs — while also earning dual credit toward a community college associate’s degree. Goodwill is also aiming to open a retail store in West Philadelphia, according to Montanaro.
Goodwill of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia has about 20 retail stores in the region, with a budget of about $33 million. But Montanaro thinks it could grow to three times that.
“That all relies on our ability to have increased donations,” Montanaro said. “More donations means more stores means more revenue, all of which goes back into job training and job creation.”
At Drexel, faculty, professional staff and students can donate clothing at four bins set up in parking lots around campus:
• Lot A, south of Creese Student Center and Chestnut Square, with access from 32nd and Chestnut
• Lot C, at 3500 Filbert St.
• Lot D, at 217 N. 35th St.
• Lot F, at 31st and Ludlow streets
All donations are tax-deductible, and anyone who donates can pick up receipts at the Human Resources Office (3201 Arch St., Suite 430) or the front desk at the Creese Student Center. Donation bins will be on campus through Sept. 12.
For more information about the Goodwill drive, contact Janeile Johnson of the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement at JJohnson@drexel.edu.