Don’t let gossip guide your charitable giving

add (1)

By Kim Harsch, Resource Development Coordinator

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time for family gatherings, warm fires, showering those we love with gifts, for cold noses and hot chocolate, and …spreading false rumors about charitable organizations? Yes, it happens each year around the holidays: negative falsehoods that spread like a California wildfire throughout social media. These rumors are designed to cover well-known nonprofits in a cloud of doubt and suspicion. Mostly, however, copied negative memes draw the focus away from those in need and reflect much more poorly on the person posting them then they do on the organization.

Why? If you post something that is not true, you admit to the general masses that you do not take the time to verify the truth and therefore WANT TO BE A NEGATIVE GOSSIPER. Yes, I said it. You want to gossip. Sorry, I know that isn’t a very Christmassy thing to say but even your elf on the shelf wouldn’t hit “post” without verifying the accuracy of such damaging information.

Bad holiday humor aside, these lies are damaging. Let me give you an example. You may have noticed on social media, the so-called “Think Before You Donate” viral rumor has been circulating. I know it’s popped up on my Facebook feed and has even been shared by a few of my friends. Here is an image of the actual meme:

think before

This gets shared and shared every year and every year I tell my friends again that this information is false and I give them links to properly research the information. To set the record straight on this particular rumor about Goodwill, an organization I hold so dear, no person named Mark Curran has ever been a CEO at Goodwill Industries and no one in the organization earns the $2.3 million in compensation mentioned in the rumor! Also, Goodwill is not owned by any individual, but in fact is a network of 161 community-based, autonomous nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations. The one that I work for, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, is headquartered in Muskegon with a service territory encompassing, all or portions of, 12 surrounding counties.

All of this factual information is easily available on Goodwill’s website at http://www.goodwillwm.org. It is also verifiable through www.guidestar.org, a third party nonprofit dedicated to researching and rating charitable organizations according to their financial transparency and mission delivery. On Guidestar, you can look at each nonprofit’s actual 990 tax forms to see their revenue sources and how they are spending it. It’s an invaluable resource if you wish to make charitable donations. And it is easily accessible by anyone on the internet.

As a strong believer in Goodwill’s mission as well as an employee of Goodwill, it is incredibly frustrating and disheartening to have to combat this bogus information year after year. Time and money we spend trying to educate misinformed people only detracts from our mission.

I know most of you are aware of the positive impact our organization has on the West Michigan community. Through the revenue generated by your generous donations of household items and monetary contributions, we offer vital employment placement, job training, and support services to members of our community, including people with disabilities, ex-offenders, displaced workers, and more.

My friends who have unknowingly circulated these lies believe in helping our community and they are not thinking about the nearly 5,000 people in West Michigan our Goodwill helps each year. But those are the people affected if donations drop – not some fictitious person named Mark Curran. Remember, as a leader in our community, your voice matters. If you see the “Think Before You Donate” rumor circulating in your social networks, I hope you’ll join us in stopping negative gossip and correcting the information head on. And I hope that you will continue to help us change lives through the power of work by not letting fake news dissuade you from giving! http://bit.ly/2AGyvEe

Advertisements

Diversity and inclusion matters

By Kristin Garris, Organizational Development Director

KristinGarris

This past week, many of our Goodwill employees had the opportunity to see and hear Dr. Joy DeGruy speak to a sold-out crowd at the Frauenthal Theater in downtown Muskegon. Dr. Joy DeGruy is a renowned researcher, educator, author, and presenter who has made it her life work to be an ambassador for healing around the issues of race relations, cultural differences, and contemporary social issues.

Dr. Joy’s message rallied deep emotions as she led the audience through a historical recollection of African American culture, white privilege, and the ongoing trauma that continues in our society today. As a white female, I lean into these discussions eager to know more, but acknowledge that my perspective offers only a small glimpse into the struggles of a society that has much to learn about equality and justice. Through Dr. Joy’s teaching, personal work around understanding and acceptance, and through the efforts of Goodwill’s diversity and inclusion activities, I am hopeful that together our organization can grow, learn, and better support the communities we serve.

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is located in the heart of Muskegon. In a city where over one third of the population is African American, 8% is Hispanic, and 5% is more than two races, we are working to better understand our diverse community so that we may serve them well. In early 2018, our organization formed the Goodwill Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. This committee — diverse in thought, race, culture, and background — has been doing some hard work around improving our understanding of implicit bias, race relations, the importance of relationships, and the powerful act of simply tilting towards love and understanding in all that we do. Our work has already started to make an impact in policy administration and (slow and steady) cultural shifts. To support our efforts further, we recently hired Julian Newman, a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant, to help us navigate the waters together through thoughtful discussion, internal examination, and eventually institutional saturation.

Julian Newman,As we pursue Goodwill’s mission of providing work opportunities, skill development, and family strengthening to the communities we serve, we seek first and foremost to better understand those communities. Our journey will not be a short one, but we are committed to the continued learning and understanding required to positively impact the community we love.

Empowering ALL

disab

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) designed to shine a light on disability employment issues, and also to celebrate the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

Led annually by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, this year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.”

“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.”

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is proud support National Disability Employment Awareness Month and works diligently to develop and provide work opportunities for people with disabilities — both within our own social enterprises and through job placement assistance in the community.  We want to spread the important message that we value all the skills and talents of all individuals, including those with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting  www.dol.gov/ndeam.

Bring Good Home

By Liz Witzler, Marketing Director

Last Thursday, Goodwill Industries and the Ad Council launched an exciting new national campaign, “Bring Good Home,” to inspire more people to shop at Goodwill. Using humor, the cleverly crafted public service announcements illustrate how shopping at a Goodwill directly affects YOUR community by supporting our local job training and employment programs.

A lot of people don’t realize that Goodwill is made up of 161 independent local organizations across North America (with a presence in 13 other countries as well) that are all members of Goodwill Industries International. There are ten separate Goodwill organizations in Michigan alone. We are divided up geographically into designated territories … ours being West Michigan with 16 stores along the lakeshore from Manistee down to Holland. We have our own separate finances, board of directors, etc. and our programs and services vary depending on the needs of our respective communities. Bottom line is, that when you spend your dollars at your local Goodwill store those funds STAY local.

We are a charitable organization that largely funds its own mission through the sale of items that are generously donated from the community. The PSAs, created pro bono by global advertising and marketing agency Digitas, showcase the variety of unique finds available at Goodwill stores and celebrate YOU the shopper.

The campaign’s TV spot depicts Goodwill shoppers as “local heroes” by showing an entire town rallying around one indecisive shopper, encouraging her to make the purchase and erupting in celebration once she does.

The spot ends with, “When you bring home a Goodwill find, you give your whole town a reason to celebrate … because you’re also funding local job training and placement programs in tech, healthcare, and more.”

The new PSA video can be viewed here.

For more information about the programs and services Goodwill Industries of West Michigan offers, visit www.goodwillwm.org

#BringGoodHome

Your change changes lives

By Kim Harsch, Resource Development Coordinator

img_9397.jpg

I love my job at Goodwill because of you – Goodwill donors and shoppers. Because of you, I get to meet people whose lives are forever changed by Goodwill’s mission – to provide work opportunities, skill development, and family strengthening resources in all communities we serve.

This mission is funded in large part by your purchases and donated goods. Another way you help fund programs for people in our community, is through our “RoundUp” program. “RoundUp” means if your Goodwill store purchase is $10.50, you can opt to “round up” to an even $11.00 and that extra 50 cents goes directly to support Goodwill’s services, listed here. If you choose not to, that’s okay too and we sincerely thank you for your business!

So why do we do this? Not all of our programs and services are self-supported through our business enterprises and need a little extra help.

Your spare change adds up to thousands of dollars each year, and 100% of these funds go to help someone in your community get back on their feet. Last month your RoundUp change helped Adam move his family from dire living conditions to safety. He was able to receive the financial coaching he needed free at Goodwill so that he could afford a home for his young family. Your change changed Adam’s life. Read Adam’s story here.

adam3

If you always RoundUp – thank you! If you haven’t, please consider it next time you shop at Goodwill. Thank you again for positively “changing” lives!

 

Public ranks Goodwill® #1

edited image

(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/

 

Goodwill Industries and the American Dream

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO

dicksign

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.