Opportunity knocks … but sometimes it rolls

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One thing that can be consistently changing is a person’s financial situation. Managing your money, planning for the future, and identifying resources is incredibly daunting. Money doesn’t need to be a taboo subject; and I personally have found incredible value in financially planning ahead for emergencies and reaching longer term goals. There was nothing more fulfilling than paying off my first car loan.

Luckily, there are resources available right here in our community and it’s exciting to be a part of the Fifth-Third Financial Empowerment “eBus” event here at the Goodwill Career Center on Wednesday, July 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Everyone’s invited!

This 40-foot bus is a mobile classroom equipped with workstations and friendly Fifth Third Bank staff ready to connect people with the financial tools they need. After traveling to many communities throughout the country, the Fifth Third eBus staff have a strong understanding of what individuals need and want from banks and financial institutions.

Just inside the Career Center, we will be hosting a Goodwill Financial Fair. There will be other community partner organizations on site to share vocational and education programs, and to help identify ways to increase income through employment. There will also be programs to help people with goals and issues related to home ownership and housing. Additionally, for those looking for more immediate employment, GoodTemps Staffing will be conducting open job interviews.

I’ve had lots of people come to me with great stories that have been a result of attending previous financial events. Personal stories such as gaining access to a bank account for the first time (in some cases after being repeatedly denied), enrolling in vocational programs that have increased their income, learning that earning a degree or owning their own home is possible, overcoming difficult debt struggles, and more … prove these events can be life changing.

It’s exciting to work with so many community partners and to see support from organizations all working to help people achieve their personal goals. Come join us and tell anyone you know who could benefit from these services!

The Goodwill Career Center is located at 271 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon. We are around the corner from Goodwill Headquarters. The entrance and parking lot are located off of Sophia Street.

Public ranks Goodwill® #1

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(You like us. You really, really like us.)

“Jobs,” “donations,” “clothes,” “people,” “help,” “need,” “disabled” … these are the most common words people used to describe Goodwill’s brand purpose when they were surveyed for the annual World Value Index report. For the second year in a row, Goodwill, was rated as the #1 brand (!) in terms of perceived value and purpose – outranking Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and other prestigious organizations. Not too shabby.

Unlike other studies that measure things such as a company’s financial performance, shareholder value, or impact metrics – the World Value Index reveals how American consumers rank the importance of a brand’s mission or purpose, and the extent to which the brand aligns with what they care about and they feel are deserving of support.

The creative agency enso developed the World Value Index in 2016 as a tool for brands to measure the importance of creating “world value” for its audience segments.

“Today, at a time when people have more choices, and greater access to information, the strength of a brand’s purpose is more important than ever,” said Sebastian Buck, enso’s co-founder and strategic lead. “With the World Value Index, our research centers around whether people can identify a brand’s purpose and mission, and the extent to which that purpose reflects society’s values. In other words, the ability of brands like Goodwill to create World Value is a testament to its relevance.”

The gratification that comes with this ranking is it attests to our work and acknowledges that Goodwill’s purpose resonates with the communities that we serve. We are honored to be so highly regarded based on our value, mission, and impact.

To read the full World Value Index report, go to http://enso.co/worldvalue/

Going back to my childhood, I recall my parents reading from an Aesop’s Fable that carried the moral: “you are known by the company you keep.” Many of you will remember that quote from your own formative years and of learning the importance of surrounding ourselves with persons of integrity.

In like manner, companies of all types also need to surround themselves with good company. Together we learn, support best practices and build sustainable communities. We recently learned that for the third year in a row, Goodwill Industries has again been named to Forbes “America’s 20 Most Inspiring Companies” list. On top of that, we have moved from 23rd (formerly a top 25 list) in 2012, to 19th in 2013, and are listed 11th in 2014. We are very proud that we have been recognized as one of our nation’s most inspiring organizations, and that once again we are the only not-for-profit charitable company that made the list.

As in the past, the list was based on survey results from Performance Inspired, Inc. The company collected 3,300 online questionnaires from respondents who were asked to imagine a fictitious inspirational company, write about its values, behaviors and attitudes, including how it would treat customers and the community. Then they had to name an inspirational real life company and describe how it measured up to the fictional company. Finally, survey-takers ranked how inspirational they thought the company was on a scale of one to 10.

To be listed again as one of America’s most inspiring companies is both humbling and gratifying. Most importantly, I believe that thanks to the amazing network of employees in Goodwill agencies across the U.S., Canada and around the world, consumers everywhere have come to understand that by donating and shopping at your local Goodwill store, you are investing in job opportunities and skills development training in our local communities.

This honor reaffirms our belief that people understand that by supporting their local Goodwill, the revenues we earn are invested locally and make a tremendous difference in the lives of people we serve; not charity, but a chance. Goodwill is able to fulfill our mission only because of you … the good company we keep.

Donate 4 the 🌎

By Mark Helsen, Transportation Manager

Spring has finally arrived! That means Goodwill is very busy with many community partners collecting donations that can be reused, recycled, or sold in our stores. There is always a lot of focus and demand for donation drives in April, especially around the Earth Day weekend.

Our community partners include local municipalities, corporations, school systems, other nonprofits, churches, neighborhood associations, and many large and small business throughout the year. This April and May we will be working with Younkers, Casnovia Township, Gerber, Muskegon County, SpartanNash Stores, Hackley Public Library, City of Norton Shores, and Holton Township.

We are excited to start a relationship with Advanced Technology Recycling in Grand Rapids as a recycling partner for the old-style television and computer monitor also known as the CRT (or cathode ray tube). This recycler is a free source for these items for this calendar year. They have a goal of 4.5 million pounds to collect this year. If they reach that goal then there will be more funding available for proper recycling of those items in 2018.

Goodwill will collect and estimated 50,000 pounds in e-waste to be sent to Advanced Technology Recycling in the months of April and May. We realize that there still is a lot of e-waste in our communities and we are happy for the opportunity to collect and recycle responsibly.

Here are some of our upcoming donation drive and recycling events:

  • Saturday, April 15: Casnovia Township is holding their annual spring cleanup event
  • Saturday, April 22: Muskegon County Recycling Event held at 1350 E. Keating Ave. from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. This free recycling event is open to Muskegon County residents. You are invited to recycle many household items include computers and TVs.
  • Saturday, April 22  and Sunday, April 23: SpartanNash Earth Week Donation Drive

Participating Goodwill store locations:

  • Allendale – 5269 Lake Michigan Drive
  • Grand Haven – 1112 Robbins Road
  • North Holland- 393 East Lakewood Blvd.
  •  South Holland -1180 South Washington Avenue
  • Manistee- 282 Twelfth Street
  • Zeeland – 9479 Riley Street

Receive a SpartanNash coupon, good for $10 off a $25 or more purchase at your local Family Fare or D&W Fresh Market store.

Goodwill can help your organization coordinate a donation drive. We can provide you with empty containers to fill with e-waste, books, household wares, clothing etc., which we can pick up later. Goodwill also does staffed collections in some of the communities we serve. Collection events need to be scheduled in advance. Contact me at 231-722-781 x251 to find out more.

Goodwill Industries and the American Dream

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO

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The central tenet of the American dream is that if you work hard, you will be able to support yourself and your family, save for retirement, and invest in your children’s future. First described by James Truslow Adams in his book “The Epic of America” in 1931, the American dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” He later said that “too many of us have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

Said another way, John D. Rockefeller Jr., expressed his philosophy of life in a statement of principles in 1941 entitled, “I Believe.”  Among his stated principles is this: “I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.”

And from our own Goodwill Industries founder Dr. Edgar Helms who said, “Friends of Goodwill, be dissatisfied with your work until every handicapped and unfortunate person in your community has an opportunity to develop to their fullest usefulness and enjoy a maximum of abundant living.”

These are the truths I believe in. These are the truths that I first learned from my parents and grandparents. And these are the truths I discovered when I first joined Goodwill as a young social worker in 1976. It is work that adds dignity to one’s life. It is work that gives a family hope. It is a hard day’s work that builds character and a future. And it is our work that strengthens our communities. That is the mission of Goodwill … changing lives through the power of work. And we see that throughout the organization every day.

I have had the rare and wonderful opportunity to devote my life’s work and career to these same truths and to be part of an organization that truly believes in changing lives through the power of work. Over the course of my 40 years of service with Goodwill we have served more than 190,000 individuals and their families in West Michigan and have placed into competitive employment 21,000 people. At the end of the day, Goodwill has shaped me as much as it has been my honor to have been part of shaping Goodwill.

When I first started my career with Goodwill, I could not have imagined that this would become the dedicated journey that it has become. I am so very grateful to the immensely talented and committed team of employees and board members I have had the pleasure to work with over the years. I am also very aware that we could do nothing were it not for the courage and determination of those we have served who devoted themselves to finding a better life and their own piece of the American dream.

In the end, I will always be grateful for the decades of community support that Goodwill Industries has received. Without you and this remarkable community partnership, we would not be here today.

Ship your oversized donation (or Goodwill purchase) for free!

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Goodwill has partnered with Roadie to offer free pickup and delivery to-and-from Goodwill for new Roadie customers. Originally the offer was $20 off, but after the first week of the promotion that began Jan. 3, Roadie upped the ante to $62 (!!) … or the full cost of most local Goodwill pickup and deliveries.

To get started, visit; www.roadie.com To redeem your $62 discount, enter promo code GOODWILL.

Still Confused? Here’s a brief Q and A to help clarify things …

First of all, what the heck is Roadie?

Roadie is the first on-the-way delivery network. (Think Uber, only for your stuff!)

Roadie connects people who have items to send, with drivers heading in the right direction. Roadie’s model enables efficient, low-cost delivery for senders and rewards drivers for trips they were already taking. It’s quickly becoming the go-to delivery solution for large, out-of-the-box, or delicate items.

When Did Roadie Launch?

Roadie launched in the Southeast in January 2015, and became available in all 50 states in March 2015.

What types of items can I send?

You can send donations big and small, like furniture, appliances, clothing or household supplies. Goodwill cannot accept certain items, including CRT televisions or computer monitors, mattresses, cribs and other items due to the high cost of disposal and stringent government regulations.

For a full list of accepted items, visit www.roadie.com/Goodwill

How long will discounted shipping to/from Goodwill last?

The promotion will run from January 3 through February 28, 2017.

Will Roadie provide a receipt for donated goods?

Goodwill will send donors a receipt of donation within 60 days. You can also check the My Gigs tab in your Roadie account for a list of every Goodwill Gig you’ve sent through Roadie.

Why is Roadie partnering with Goodwill?

Roadie is proud to make it easier for people donate to Goodwill, give back to their communities, and help create jobs nationwide.

Those clothes you no longer wear, the antiques you no longer need, even furniture — anything you consider clutter could help Goodwill provide programs and services to help people find jobs.

DON’T BELIEVE FAKE NEWS this holiday season!

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Despite what your Aunt Sylvia shared on Facebook last week, it turns out that candy canes are NOT Christian symbols of red and white created to represent the blood and purity of Jesus, shaped in the letter “J” for Jesus. (Excellent creative storytelling though.)

It might also surprise you to learn that Fisher Price does NOT actually sell a toy called “Happy Hour Playset” for children with pretend bar, bar stools, and beer bottles! (Notwithstanding the impressive Photoshopped illustration.)

Likewise, Goodwill Industries is not “owned” by an evil CEO named Mark Curran (?) who makes $2.3 million (!) a year and “gives $0 to help anyone.”  Even the name Mark Curran is a total fabrication!

This notorious “Think Before You Donate” email rumor has been around for OVER A DECADE and its misinformation grows every year. This old chestnut rears its bogus ugly head each year around the giving season and our shoppers and donors are confused and outraged. It unfairly slanders and maligns not only Goodwill, but Unicef, the United Way, March of Dimes, and the American Red Cross as well.

Bogus stories — spread like wildfire through email and social media — hurt Goodwill and other nonprofits with their misinformation. Please, please, PLEASE … do not believe and share every phony thing you read on the Internet!

At Goodwill we DO encourage our donors to research and learn more about the charities they support. The good news is a wealth of factual information is available at your fingertips! Check out reputable database sites such as Charity Navigator, Guidestar, the Better Business Bureau, etc.

IT IS TRUE not all charities are alike so please do your homework. It might surprise you to know that some organizations operating thrift stores give as little as 5 percent of their overall revenue to charity. According to CharityWatch standards, a nonprofit should devote at least 60 percent or more of their revenue on their charitable programs, with the most highly efficient charities stretching that number to 75 percent or more. At Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, that percentage of efficiency is more than 90 percent.  That means more than 90 cents of every dollar we earn is spent on job-training programs and community-based services for people with disabilities and other disadvantages right here in West Michigan. Ninety percent is a very healthy number in the nonprofit world and a solid indicator of our commitment to the good stewardship of your donations. We have a 66-year track record of providing services that meet critical human service needs in our West Michigan community. We are consistently ranked among top charity watchdog groups as an organization that makes your donations go further so it’s so very frustrating and disheartening to have to combat these fabricated scurrilous postings year after year.

Oh, one more thing … that phone hotline direct from the North Pole where the real Santa answers your children’s calls? Sorry, that’s a fib too (http://www.snopes.com/santas-phone-number/).

Warm wishes to all for a happy holiday season. Thank you for shopping at and donating to Goodwill. You make our mission possible!

DO BELIEVE in the magic of the season … DON’T BELIEVE the lies.

Decorating for fall

By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing, and Events Coordinator

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With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away now is the time to update your home decor. If you’ve been reading any of my blogs you’ve probably noticed that I always say I’m on a budget and unfortunately in the last year and half that hasn’t changed. On the bright side, Goodwill has the most affordable home and holiday décor pieces to accentuate anyone’s style from shabby chic to modern, vintage to country, eclectic to nautical, and everything in between.

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Redecorate your kitchen by adding accents of warm fall tones like oranges, reds, burgandy, and greens.

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Goodwill is a great place to find unique décor for any room in your house.

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Texture adds a lot of character to interior design. Change up your look by adding some new candles, decorative jars or baskets. Don’t love the color but love the design? Spray paint works wonders.

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Check out this amazing piece of pottery! This one-of-a-kind piece of would be perfect on a mantle or coffee table.

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Faux flowers and plants may be intimidating but with a little inspiration, they can be transformed into a beautiful fall wreath your friends and family will envy!

Check out this tutorial by Good House Keeping. Deck your door with a maple wreath. You can quickly DIY this cute piece with branches from your yard or faux leaves from Goodwill. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/a25869/maple-wreath-diy/

Decorating your home for fall is a fun, creative, and cost-effective project for you and your family to enjoy. Check out your local Goodwill – you never know what you may find!

For more DIY home and holiday décor inspiration visit our Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/goodwillwm/