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.

Ranked best brand

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO

We are more than a little proud, if not humbled, to learn that Goodwill was ranked the #1 brand for doing the most good for the world. The news debuted in a Fast Company Magazine article a few weeks ago.

Enso, a mission-driven marketing agency, commissioned the 2016 Brand World Value Index Survey to learn how consumers perceive the “world value” of 149 well-known brands.

A company’s shareholder value doesn’t necessarily reflect its value to the wider world, such as how useful its products are, the good it does for people, or how it works to minimize social and environmental harm. Hence, the survey asked people to rank companies for their perceived purpose or the extent to which they stand for something other than making money.

Quadrant Strategies, a research consultancy that works with Fortune 100 and Fortune 50 companies, political leaders around the world and major nonprofits, fielded surveys with various demographic representative samples of the U.S. populations ages 18 and up. It tested brands spanning a mix of industries and company sizes, ranging from start-ups to established companies. The index score for each brand was calculated from the following metrics: awareness of purpose + alignment with purpose + impact on purchase x active support.

In the ranking, Goodwill is followed by Amazon, Google, Kellogg’s, PayPal, Disney, Girl Scouts of America, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, and Dove.

It is evident that collectively Goodwill has built a brand with a big purpose that resonates across demographic and psychographic lines, and that people recognize and support us as a purpose-driven organization. I thank and congratulate our staff, board of directors, volunteers, and other supporters, for their hard work and dedication to our mission that makes the Goodwill brand what it is.

To view the complete list of companies and organizations featured in the 2016 Brand World Value Index, visit enso.co/worldvalue/

 

A week of celebrating our mission

 

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t Goodwill, we believe work has the power to change lives! Work plays a critical role in the ability of individuals to achieve desirable life outcomes; providing self-esteem, independence, empowerment, and pride.

May 1-7 commemorates Goodwill Industries Week, an annual celebration of our mission of helping people train for, find, and keep good jobs. Observed since 1951, Goodwill Industries Week across the United States and Canada celebrate the power of work through local events and promotions.

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is celebrating with 50% off sale at all 16 of our store locations with in-store prizes and online Facebook contests all week long. It’s our way of saying “thank you” to our generous shoppers and donors who support our mission with their patronage.

To assist jobseekers in our community, GoodTemps will be hosting a job fair at our Career Center at 271 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon on Thursday, May 5 from 10 a.m. until noon. To qualify for current open positions, please bring two forms of ID and an update résumé.

Thank you for your support. Together we are creating jobs and changing lives in our community!

Three great reasons to donate during the Younkers Goodwill Sale

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articipating in the Younkers Goodwill Sale has never been so rewarding!

Here’s how the sale works:
Bring your gently used apparel, shoes, handbags, etc. to Younkers
Earn a 25% off Younkers coupon for each item donated. It’s that easy!

Here are three great reasons to donate items and shop now through March 26.

You directly impact your community by donating to Goodwill.
Funds generated by the sale of your donated items supports our job training and employment support services that help people right here in West Michigan. Goodwill offers and broad range of programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, and Goodwill Career Centers in both Muskegon and Holland are open to anyone needing help finding a job.

It’s easy to donate and save on spring fashions, beauty, and home.
Donors receive 25% off Younkers coupons for every item donated. Coupons are valid on nearly everything in the store (and online) including items that rarely go on sale.

It’s a great time to shop at Goodwill also … all those fresh donations are directly distributed to our Goodwill stores.

Enter to win a $100 daily prize and a $15,000 spring wardrobe makeover!
Visit the Million Acts of Goodwill website to enter for your chance to win a $15,000 spring style and wardrobe makeover. The winner will receive a consultation with a celebrity stylist, a closet review, and a shopping spree with the stylist at their local Younkers department store.

You can also visit the site daily for your chance to instantly win a $100 gift card!

What are you waiting for? Start your spring cleaning early and head over to Younkers for great savings!

 

We love our donors

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

James Cherney

Happy New Year! I would like to thank everyone who donated, shopped, volunteered, and assisted, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan in 2015. Your generous contributions helped someone in our community find a job, keep a job, and earn a paycheck. Work is something we should never take for granted; just ask a person who has a barrier to employment. Work provides a sense of purpose, self-esteem, and independence. The power of work really does change lives!

Goodwill’s mission, and our ability to serve others, comes from community. As we enter February — one of the coldest months of the year — I’m asking you to bear the snow and ice, and please donate your gently used items to any one of our 18 conveniently located donation centers.

Donations are the lifeblood of our mission; a mission that never stops or takes a time out due to inclement weather. Goodwill staff are ready to greet you and accept your unwanted clothing, toys, housewares, furniture, electronics, and more. Your donations are handled with great care, and sorted and processed for their fullest value, for someone else to use and enjoy.

Need a receipt? Our easy online donation calculator does the math for you and allows you to print out an itemized receipt for your tax records.

Thank you for a wonderful 2015, we are looking forward to an even more prosperous 2016, and with your assistance we will be able to serve more people this year and many more years to come.

To find a Goodwill store and donation center nearest you, visit: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/where-to-donate/

To utilize the Goodwill donation calculator, visit: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/donation-calculator/

Celebrating 70 years of NDEAM

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO
NDEAM 2Each October, Goodwill Industries joins the nation in acknowledging the importance of employees with disabilities — a vital component of the U.S. labor force — during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

This year’s celebration marks 70 years since President Truman authorized Congress to officially recognize workers with disabilities.

This year’s theme, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor is “My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am.” Jennifer Sheehy from the Office of Disability Employment Policy explains: “It encapsulates the important message that people with disabilities are just that — people. And like all people, we are the sum of many parts, including our work experiences.

It also underscores the fact that employees with disabilities bring a wide variety of skills to the table. They make up nearly 20 percent of America’s workforce, yet their unemployment rate is more than twice that of workers without disabilities. It is crucial that American employers continue to make efforts to hire workers of all backgrounds and abilities.

For 65 years Goodwill Industries of West Michigan has worked tirelessly to support job seekers with disabilities and specialized circumstances through training, placement, and employment efforts.

Supporting the needs of job seekers of varying needs and abilities is at the core of what we do at Goodwill every day. I am pleased to celebrate the achievements of our Goodwill program participants and graduates — and all employees with disabilities — during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Support employment opportunities for people with disabilities

By Jennifer Tucker, Mission Services Director

 

 

 

 

On July 26, the country will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This groundbreaking piece of legislation prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education and public accommodation, and promotes equality for all Americans.

Goodwill has been dedicated to supporting employment opportunities for all people since its founding more than 113 years ago. Goodwill believes everyone should have the opportunity to live independently, earn wages and achieve their dreams. In 2014 alone, more than 426,000 men and women with disabilities found employment with Goodwill’s help.

The revenue generated from the sale of donations in Goodwill stores goes directly to promoting education, skills training and the power of work in local communities.

“I love my job. I used to not be able to go up to people and have a conversation.”

CJ

Christopher (“CJ”) was referred to us due to difficulties he experience with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, anxiety, and depression. Previously employed, CJ lost his position due to anger and anxiety issues. One of our Goodwill case managers worked one-on-one with CJ and found him a courtesy associate position at a Walmart near his home in Ludington, that offered the positive environment for him to thrive and grow. His skills and responsibilities have advanced beyond pushing carts to driving a forklift in the warehouse. After a year on the job, CJ recently purchased his first car and is planning for college.

Stories like CJ’s reinforce the importance of the work we do every day at Goodwill. Our services include career counseling, job placement, skills development, job training programs, and more.

While the ADA has grown opportunity and access to meaningful employment for Americans with disabilities, it’s clear that the challenges are far from over. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for men and woman with disabilities is twice that of those without disabilities.

How can you help support employees with disabilities in West Michigan? Register for the Legislative Action Center so people can speak up for the rights of people with disabilities and the program that we provide.

Thank you for your support and for celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.