I completed my first year as Goodwill San Diego’s President and CEO on March 16, right as we were closing the first quarter of 2019. I am happy to share that my first year went very smoothly and the first quarter results were outstanding! These outcomes in mission services and our used goods social enterprise are due to our amazing Goodwill ambassadors (employees), and our strong, stable Board of Directors. We do this work together! Much appreciation also goes to Mike Rowan, my predecessor, who prepared me well and established a very strong foundation and launching pad for Goodwill San Diego.

With the continuing increase in minimum wage, we want to ensure we have jobs for those with disabilities and other barriers to employment, both now and into the future. Therefore, improving our processes and gaining efficiency was the focus for 2018 and created great results in the first quarter of 2019, and enabled us to increase jobs and absorb the wage increase with a healthy margin to fund our programs and services.

Goodwill San Diego, financially, had a very strong 2018 and first quarter of 2019, which is extremely important because the money we generate through our social enterprise funds 94% of our mission. However, that is not what gets me up early in the morning excited to start a new day. What motivates me, and all Goodwill leaders, are the lives we see changed and the families we see strengthened because of the employment opportunities we afford, the services we provide, and the compassion we have for every person that walks through our doors. We believe every life we improve strengthens our community and enhances the quality of life for every resident of San Diego County.


Making Good Happen!

Toni Giffin

President and Chief Executive Officer

Core Values: Credibility • Creativity • Collaboration



One of Goodwill San Diego’s core values is collaboration. We believe working together with other local non-profits strengthens our ability to serve San Diegan’s in need and betters our community. The San Diego Rescue Mission is helping change homelessness one life at a time. The organization began in 1954 when a church leader and business leaders met to address the plight of the homeless and the hungry. The mission provides food, clothing and spiritual guidance to the county’s homeless, as well as shelter, compassion and training.

Goodwill San Diego and the Rescue Mission recently came together to provide paid retail training and employment to Rescue Mission participants. The two organizations see this collaboration as an opportunity to prevent and remedy homelessness. By providing participants with the skillset to obtain and retain employment, they begin their journey to self sufficiency. With the ability to earn a paycheck, they will eventually be able to leave the Rescue Mission shelter and gain independence.



The Imperial Beach Supported Employment (SE) Groups are composed of six energetic, and team-oriented participants who earn minimum wage and work hard to achieve their goals. These two groups consist of Cynthia, Brendan and Oscar who work the morning shift, and Anabel, Tabitha and Michael who work the evening shift.

With assistance from their Job Coach, Pearl, both groups are responsible for the majority of clothing placed on hangers, tagged with a price, and moved to the retail floor for sale. Pearl helps each participant correctly complete the task assigned to them using various prompting methods while teaching good work ethic, professionalism, responsibility, team work, and acting as a role model for the group. In addition to tagging and hanging textiles, with support from the site management’s team, each member of the group works toward improving their skillset by having a specific task given to them throughout the week that differs from tagging clothes. Their tasks vary from providing customer service on the retail floor, to accepting donations, or working with books, media and jewelry.

Each member of the SE group enjoys being in the group and learning new skills. The group members say they are doing a job they really like, they continue to work toward greater independence, earning a paycheck, and making new friends along the way. From the words of Michael, “I work hard because I want to contribute to my SE group’s success. It has helped me maintain a good work/life balance. I appreciate how all of my coaches, for over a decade, have helped me.” Goodwill’s SE program gives individuals the opportunity to become successful in their lives by providing a path to Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE).



Our Paid Training Program is designed to train and prepare program participants for the workforce. Paid training is a three-month program that provides hands on training in a structured retail work environment. Participants are taught strong work ethics and skills needed to get and retain a job. Goodwill San Diego employs the participants part-time. Once they complete their training, our Career Advisors assist the participants in finding a job, either with Goodwill or with an employer in the community. The program is especially helpful to community members that have little or no work experience. Participants must meet the following criterion to be eligible:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Able to work legally in the U.S.
  • Complete an employment application and assessments
  • Able to meet the physical requirements of the position with or without reasonable accommodations
  • Must be able to get to work when scheduled and work a 4 hour shift
  • Must have a desire to obtain long term employment after completion of program

If you know of someone who may be interested and meets the requirements, please direct them to one of our Community Employment Centers in San Ysidro, Point Loma, Escondido and Oceanside.




Our amazing ambassadors put the final touches on our newly remodeled Imperial Beach, Hillcrest and Escondido Retail Stores in anticipation of their grand re-openings! The remodel of our Imperial Beach store included expanding the retail sales floor an additional 1,614 square feet (sq. ft.), giving our customers greater shopping opportunities with more merchandise on the sales floor. Additionally, we added 3,975 sq. ft. of donation processing space. This additional area created more holding power for donations, which requires less truck pick-ups and improves efficiency. The additional space also doubled our donation processing area, allowing us to get the merchandise on the sales floor faster. The team celebrated with a successful Grand Re-opening in January.

The remodel of our Hillcrest Retail Store was completed in early February. The enhanced shopping experience was shared with the community at the Grand Re-opening on February 6. San Diego’s former Mayor, Jerry Sanders was on hand to cut the ribbon and greet waiting customers. The store now has nearly 1,600 sq. ft. of additional retail floor space including a new furniture and housewares area, a new cash wrap counter and a new production room. Customers continue to compliment the Hillcrest team on the new space.

Our Escondido retail store on Center City Parkway was also refreshed. Household goods were moved upstairs, allowing more room for apparel on the first floor. The upstairs cash register was closed and the main cash register on the first floor was replaced with a beautiful new cash wrap. The new space looks great and the team is enjoying the positive response.

We are very excited about these projects because they are an integral part of our strategic plan. Our plan includes increasing sales revenue and creating efficiencies through improved processing systems and inventory management. Stop by any and all of these locations for a new shopping experience, you will be happy you did!