How 140 Characters Benefited Goodwill

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 10, 2017

At Seattle Goodwill, about 3% of all donated goods wind up in our online stores—including eBay, Amazon,, and Etsy. Like our 24 brick and mortar stores, the proceeds from our online sales fund our job training and education programs.

XBox Launch Team GiftThat’s why we were elated last month when we saw a seemingly random user tweeted a link to this item in our eBay store, noted that he had bid $1,000, and invited others to outbid him to support Seattle Goodwill. Quite frankly, we had no idea who he wasor why he was inciting a bidding war—but we were excited for the support! Even $1,000 goes a long way to help our students. That’s enough to give 20 students a voucher to purchase clothing for a job interview, or 100 students emergency food cards when they’re struggling to feed their families, or cover the transportation costs for six students while they attend one of our 8-week programs.

The original tweeter, who raised the bid to $1,000 was Seamus Blackley, “the father of the Xbox”—who told us, “I’m the guy who had an idea on an airplane and wrote the initial proposal for Xbox. Back then we called it the DirectX Box because Direct X was a multimedia technology that Microsoft was trying to popularize. I was a new hire who had come from the games industry as a creative person, so it was a big switch. I ended up spearheading the project.”

The item, listed as “Microsoft Xbox Light-Up Weighted Desk Décor X Model Sculpture Weight Gray Silver,” was a launch gift, given only to the team members on the original Xbox project. “They are miniature versions of the Xbox prototype/demo units that me and a few friends hand built at the start of the project. The shape became iconic inside (and apparently outside) the team,” explained Blackley.

A twitter friend had pointed out the item on Seattle Goodwill’s eBay auction site, and Blackley, familiar with the work Goodwill does in the Seattle community, realized “it was obvious that it was a chance to help [Seattle Goodwill] out.” Ultimately the Xbox launch gift sold to Blackley for $3,060—a major contribution for our job training and education programs.

Once he won the item, he immediately donated it to Ryan McCaffrey, the Executive Editor at IGN, a game news site, who hosts Podcast Unlocked, the #1 Xbox show on the internet—the Xbox launch team gift was featured as a giveaway on episode 277 of the podcast and one lucky podcast listener will get to keep this piece of Xbox history.

When asked why he supports Goodwill, Blackley answered, “Because the way you handle helping people in need is by empowering them. I love that message and method. Please keep doing what you’re doing.”

THANK YOU, Seamus, for your generous support of our mission! 


Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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