United Way of the Midlands Awards $15,000 to Goodwill Industries

The grant will fund Goodwill Omaha’s YouthBuild program.

OMAHA, Neb., Aug. 21, 2020 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., in Omaha (Goodwill Omaha) is pleased to announce it was recently awarded a $15,000 one-year grant from United Way of the Midlands. Thanks to the generosity of the United Way donors, Goodwill Omaha will invest in virtual learning technology and tools for its YouthBuild program, which provides educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16 to 24.

The YouthBuild program gives disadvantaged youth who have struggled with school a second chance by providing education, training and career paths in the construction trades. Many of Goodwill Omaha’s YouthBuild students are underemployed or don’t have high school diplomas. As program participants, the students also earn their GEDs and receive leadership training and ongoing support from Goodwill’s team.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for Goodwill Omaha’s YouthBuild students, most notably when the organization temporarily closed for eight weeks between March 23 and May 18 this year. During this shutdown, YouthBuild trainers and case managers were challenged with keeping their students engaged and on track with their GED studies and testing at a time when the potential for recidivism was significantly increased.

With the help of this grant, the YouthBuild program is able to offer updated and extended virtual learning opportunities to students in situations when classroom learning isn’t possible. With the new ability to keep students engaged and interested in the program whether they’re in the classroom or interacting with the trainer or class virtually, Goodwill Omaha can increase GED and program completion rates of YouthBuild participants.

Yasmine Lewis, a YouthBuild participant, said the program has exceeded her expectations. “I learned more than I thought I would,” Lewis said. “They go beyond the stars here to show us we shine.”

“This is an incredibly generous and much-needed gift for our YouthBuild program and students,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “These young adults truly want a second chance at finding long-term, stable career paths — that’s why they came to Goodwill in the first place. But many of them may not have strong support systems at home or among their peer groups.

“That’s why it’s crucial that we keep them interested in the program and connected with our team and the other participants,” Mathouser continued. “Although we don’t anticipate another full shutdown due to the current pandemic, a participant may need to quarantine, either because they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or they’re a caregiver for a high-risk individual. With this grant, our team will implement the tools they need to continue participants’ education and to conduct regular check-ins with them when in-class learning isn’t possible.”

 

About United Way of the Midlands

United Way of the Midlands (UWM) has served the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro for more than 95 years. Guided by best practices and community input, it approaches poverty in a specific way — a “united” way. With the support of volunteers, community partners and donors, UWM invests donor dollars efficiently and effectively in our local community. These dollars fund basic needs, education and financial stability programs at local nonprofits, creating a circle of support for people in need. Please visit unitedwaymidlands.org for more information.

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages. The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.

 

Goodwill Shoppers ‘Round Up’ $10,000 for Food Bank for the Heartland

The community showed tremendous generosity to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goodwill Omaha, Food Bank for the Heartland

Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO, signs a big check for $10,000, the total amount donated by Goodwill customers over the past two months for Food Bank for the Heartland.

OMAHA, Neb., Aug. 11, 2020 — Amid the financial and job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Bank for the Heartland has seen an estimated 40% increase in need among communities in Nebraska and Iowa over the past five months. But the generosity of Goodwill Omaha shoppers is making it a bit easier for the food bank to provide nutritious foods to those in need. At the end of its two-month “Round It Up for Food Bank for the Heartland” campaign, Goodwill Omaha had accepted approximately $9,800 in donations from customers who had rounded their purchases to the next dollar, and many donated additional sums. Goodwill Omaha topped off the amount to make it an even $10,000.

Representatives from Goodwill delivered the check to Food Bank for the Heartland yesterday.

“COVID-19 has forced thousands of Nebraska and Iowa families into a situation they never imagined, seeking food assistance for the very first time,” said Brian Barks, president and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland. “The funds raised from Goodwill’s customers will greatly assist us in providing critical meals to children, families and seniors struggling with food insecurity. We are grateful for the support from Goodwill Omaha and supporters across the Heartland.”

From March 15 to June 30, 2020, Food Bank for the Heartland distributed 7,510,900 meals and 11,633,012 meals when including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This is a 61% percent increase over the average number of meals distributed during the same period in 2018 and 2019.

The current instability of the economy and job market continues to leave families feeling like their futures are in limbo.

Goodwill Omaha, Food Bank for the Heartland

Pictured from left to right: Melanie Moyer, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha; Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO, Goodwill Omaha; Brian Barks, president and CEO, Food Bank for the Heartland; Shantel Featherson, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha.

“What we’re starting to see happen now is that some people who were laid off with the expectation of returning to their jobs are finding out that their jobs are permanently eliminated  because companies haven’t rebounded as they’d hoped they would,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “We’ve also seen many restaurants, bars and other small businesses that were closed for so long they can’t afford to reopen. The situation is serious for so many people in our communities.

Mathouser said that Goodwill’s Employment Solutions program is designed to help people with disabilities and other disadvantages get the job training, skills, certification, placement and retention services they need to find independence and success through work. She pointed out that Employment Solutions participants don’t need to be disabled or disadvantaged; the program is available to anyone in the community.

To learn more about the program, job seekers just have to complete the Employment Solutions application on the Goodwill Omaha website or visit Goodwill Omaha’s headquarters at 4805 N. 72nd Street in Omaha and ask to speak with someone from the Employment Solutions team.

 

About Food Bank for the Heartland (A Member of Feeding America)

Food Bank for the Heartland is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Omaha, Nebraska that acts as a central clearinghouse distributing food to nearly 600 network partners across 77 counties in Nebraska and 16 counties in western Iowa. Food Bank for the Heartland distributed more than 28 million meals in FY 2020, helping thousands of children, families, seniors, veterans and others in need. For more information, visit www.FoodBankHeartland.org.

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.

 

 

Goodwill, Max I. Walker Team Up Again — This Time To Provide Sleepers for a Local NICU

More than 60 sleepers are headed to Methodist Women’s Hospital.

OMAHA, Neb., Aug. 7, 2020 — In late July, Sarah Jane Geilenkirchen, a nursing assistant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Methodist Women’s Hospital, posted a request to a Facebook group: “I’m looking for some help. I work in the NICU, and we are running out of sleepers for these littles.”

Her request was well-received. “I belong to a moms group on Facebook,” Geilenkirchen said. “I saw they were doing great things in the community, so I asked the group if they would consider donating some sleepers. It is an item that we are always in need of in the NICU.”

The Methodist Women’s Hospital NICU is a 51-bed unit staffed by a highly specialized neonatal team. The NICU is designated a Level III unit — the highest level of care in west Omaha. Since opening in 2010, the NICU has cared for more than 6,600 babies.

Representatives from Goodwill Omaha, Max I. Walker and Methodist Women’s Hospital show off some of the sleepers donated to the NICU.

When Max I. Walker saw the request on Facebook, they immediately thought of their recent collaborator on a similar effort: Goodwill Industries, Inc. (Goodwill Omaha).

“The response was pretty amazing,” Geilenkirchen said. “Then, to see Max I. Walker and Goodwill step up as well … it’s just incredible.”

“We teamed up with Goodwill in April to donate scrubs to the Creighton medical scrub drive, and it was a really positive experience,” said Casey Walker, director of retail operations at Max I. Walker, “so, it was natural to think of them for the NICU sleepers. Our marketing teams got together and were able to put a plan into action very quickly.”

Max I. Walker and Goodwill managed the donation project the same way they did the scrub drive donation: Goodwill’s retail operations team gathered all the sleepers in preemie and newborn sizes from its stores, Max I. Walker laundered and bundled the sleepers, and members of the two organizations delivered the freshly cleaned sleepers to Methodist Women’s Hospital on Aug. 7. In total, they donated and cleaned more than 60 sleepers.

“It was easier for our team this time because our stores are open now, and they weren’t in April,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “So, instead of the three members

of our retail operations team driving across the metro area to all of our stores and searching for the items, they contacted each store’s manager and asked them to collect the sleepers in their stores and send them on one of our trucks to our retail operations center.”

As longtime pillars of the community, Max I. Walker and Goodwill Omaha frequently lead initiatives to give back to the community, and they seem to be well-matched partners in these efforts.

Goodwill’s marketing director worked on Max I. Walker’s account at an advertising agency several years ago and knew a lot about the company and their social good activities. “We’re excited to have found such a willing and generous ally in Max I. Walker,” Mathouser said. “Goodwill’s mission is to give back to the community in the form of our employment services, but it’s always fun to find new ways to do good. I think we have the potential to do a lot of good as a team.”

“The Omaha community has supported our business for more than a century, and we do believe in showing our appreciation by supporting the community right back,” Walker said. “It’s something we look forward to. With the pandemic, there’s a lot of need in the metro area on so many levels. We want to help in the best ways we can, and Goodwill’s objectives align with ours. I think the community will see more of these types of efforts from our organizations now that we’ve gotten to know one another a little bit.”

Geilenkirchen said the sleepers will certainly keep babies in the NICU comfortable, but they’ll also bring comfort to the families, who typically spend as much time as they can at the hospital with their babies. “For families in the NICU, it can be such a lonesome time” Geilenkirchen said. “Something as simple as a sleeper provides them with some normalcy. Having a sleeper allows the families to participate in the care of their baby. It’s such a simple thing, but it means so much to them.”

In April, Creighton School of Medicine student organizers of a scrub drive contacted Goodwill Omaha asking for scrub donations for frontline workers at CHI’s Bergen Mercy Hospital.  launching the nonprofit’s collaboration with Max I. Walker. Together, they donated more than 350 pairs of clean scrubs to the drive.

 

About Max I. Walker Dry Cleaning & Laundry

Max I. Walker Cleaners & Launderers was founded by Max I. Walker on March 17, 1917. Over the past 103 years, it has grown into a company with hundreds of employees serving customers at locations in Omaha, Elkhorn, Papillion and Bellevue, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Today — five generations later — Max I. Walker remains family owned and operated. In addition to dry cleaning services, Max I. Walker offers a Wash & Fold Laundry Service for all laundry items, and a free pickup and delivery service from home or office. As the proud recipient of Best of Omaha 1st Place for Dry Cleaning in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, Max I. Walker is Omaha’s Favorite Dry Cleaner.

Max I. Walker is committed to serving the communities that support us — we wouldn’t be here without them — and we seek out opportunities to give back by supporting local media, small businesses and charitable organizations. We also hold an annual fundraising event, the Ultra Chic Boutique dress sale, which benefits the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association. For more information, visit MaxIWalker.com.

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Many people know Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains. But you might not know the mission at the heart of our organization: We provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

The sale of donated items sold in Goodwill retail stores supports our mission programs. Here’s how: People in the community donate gently used items to Goodwill. We sell those donated items in Goodwill retail stores. The proceeds from those sales subsidize our mission programs, giving thousands of individuals in the Omaha area the chance to earn a living, discover independence and succeed in life.

Goodwill provides opportunities through a variety of employment programs, including YouthBuild

AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience. We also are affiliated with the federal AbilityOne program, which provides jobs at federal facilities to people with severe disabilities.

Goodwill is a private, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and our 18 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org.