Goodwill Omaha Board Selects 2021 Trustees and Roles

Jim Rich remains chair, a vice chair is elected and three new members are confirmed.

OMAHA, Neb., April 2, 2021 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest

Top to Bottom: Leah Vetter, Paul Lanphier, Robyn Burnett

Iowa (Goodwill Omaha), has announced several changes to its board of trustees for 2021: Two members departed, three new members joined, and a new vice chair was elected.

In January, board members Erin Limas, chief financial officer at Borsheim’s Jewelry Company, and Scott Semrad, principal at the Urban Village Development, stepped down from the Goodwill Omaha Board of Trustees.

“We are incredibly grateful for the tireless support Erin and Scott have devoted to Goodwill for many years,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “They are true friends of Goodwill, and in recent years especially, they have helped shape our organization and make it stronger and more transparent.”

Also in January, the board approved two new members: Leah Vetter, area president of the Heartland branch at Gallagher Benefit Services, and Paul Lanphier, executive director of the Hope Center for Kids, a north Omaha nonprofit that provides a safe after-school and summer program where children and youth receive academic support, a hot meal every night and other services.

At the Goodwill board’s most recent convening on March 30, the board approved another new member, Robyn Burnett, accounts and education services manager at Best Care EAP for Methodist Health System. Mathouser said the addition of Burnett brings a much-desired mental health professional to the board.

L-R: Jim Rich, Doug Anderson

At the same meeting, the board voted to retain its current chair, James H. Rich, founder of Percipio Partners, for the 2021 calendar

year. Although the board typically elects a new chairperson each year, Mathouser said that 2020 was such an unusual year because of the pandemic, the board unanimously agreed that Rich should remain in the role for a second year.

“Last year, our operations were closed down during the time when the board would have elected a vice chair, who would have worked closely with Jim in preparation to become the next chairman,” Mathouser said. “So, we didn’t have a vice chair last year.”

Board members had previously nominated Doug Anderson, commercial market manager at Great Southern Bank, as the board secretary, and on Tuesday, they also elected Anderson as vice chair of the board.

“As we continue to bring new members onto our board, we remain particularly mindful of the expertise, skillsets, networks and backgrounds that each member brings,” Mathouser said. “Increasing the diversity of our board not only enhances the ways Goodwill Omaha can grow, but it also allows us to expand and improve our current employment training programs and job placement services for the community we serve.”

###

Goodwill Holds Date Night Challenge Contest for Valentine’s Day

And date night can be at home this year!

In September 2015, two Florida couples set out to create a unique date night experience, and the first (known) #GoodwillDateNight was born. Their story gained the attention of national media, and Goodwill organizations throughout the country started encouraging their shoppers and fans to try it. Couples started challenging other couples to do their own Goodwill date night. It didn’t take long before someone, somewhere, decided #GoodwillDateNight should be a contest for Valentine’s Day. This year, Goodwill Omaha is challenging their fans in Omaha and surrounding communities to take the Goodwill date night challenge, and those who do could win a valuable prize package.

“The Goodwill date night challenge was something I read about I started working at Goodwill, and it sounded like fun, so I wanted to try it here,” said Amy Goldyn, director of marketing and public relations at Goodwill Omaha. “We held the first contest last year, but we didn’t have much of a budget to promote it, so we didn’t get many entries. This year, we have the advertising budget, and we’re promoting it. Our influencer partner, Gina Melton from KAT 103.7 has even talked about it on the morning show. We really want to see people enter and get creative with it.”

The idea is this: You and your co-contestants visit a Goodwill Omaha store to shop for outfits for each other. The budget is $10 per outfit. You can go for glamour, with formal gowns and suits, or you might choose to look for pieces that would make the most hideous outfit you can find. Or, like the couples in Florida, you might incorporate a little of both. Then, you go on a date. In public. And be sure to take photos or video while you’re out.

“We’ve modified the contest this year for COVID-19, since we want everyone to stay safe,” Goldyn said. “If you’re staying in for Valentine’s Day this year, a ‘date night’ at home still qualifies for the contest. Typically, the contest is open to couples or pairs of friends, but this year, we opened the contest to families and small groups of friends as well, and the prize package accounts for that.”

Goodwill Omaha sweetened the prize package this year by inviting select local business sponsors to contribute to the package, which includes a gift certificate to Brother Sebastian’s Steak House & Winery, a Wilma & Rose gift basket of hand-selected items, Coca-Cola merchandise and more.

To enter, contestants must post photos or video from their shopping trip and date night to Facebook or Instagram using #GoodwillDateNightOmaha. Goldyn said that most of the time, people taking a date night challenge snap photos wearing their Goodwill garb in front of a Goodwill store. With the pandemic and winter weather, she and her team worried people might not want to do that.

“Our graphics designer had the idea to make and give away selfie paddles, and she came up with a great design,” Goldyn said. “She talked to a manager at Lowe’s, and he gave us a few hundred paint stirrers to use for the handles. Contestants can find the selfie paddles at our regular retail stores in Omaha, Bellevue, Blair, Council Bluffs, Gretna, Fremont and Papillion. Most of the stores have them near the dressing rooms.”

Goodwill Omaha is accepting entries to the #GoodwillDateNightOmaha challenge through Feb. 14, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Goldyn said all eligible entries will be entered in the contest, and her team will use a randomizer to select the winner, which she expects to announce by Feb. 21.

For more information about the #GoodwillDateNightOmaha challenge, how to enter and contest rules, visit GoodwillOmaha.org/love.

Goodwill Shoppers ‘Round Up’ $16,500 for Local United Way Organizations

Goodwill Omaha is donating the funds to United Way of the Midlands and the Fremont Area United Way.

L-R: Melanie Moyer, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha; Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations, Goodwill Omaha; Shantel Featherson, retail district manager, Goodwill Omaha; Tobi Mathouser, president & CEO, Goodwill Omaha; Danielle Ohlman, director of volunteer engagement, United Way of the Midlands

Once again, Goodwill Omaha’s shoppers have demonstrated their goodwill by rounding up their purchases at Goodwill stores and donating a total of $16,500 to two local United Way organizations. The money will be used for United Way relief efforts for people affected by COVID-19.

Throughout November and December, Goodwill Omaha stores held the annual “Round It Up for United Way” campaign to raise money for United Way of the Midlands (UWM) and the Fremont Area United Way. This week, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO, Tobi Mathouser, presented checks to the organizations. Goodwill stores in Fremont and Blair raised $1,500 for the Fremont Area United Way, and Goodwill’s stores in UWM’s territory raised $15,000 for the organization.

“We want to be good stewards of the communities we serve, and a significant way we can do that is to help other organizations that can help people in other ways than Goodwill does,” Mathouser said. “COVID-19 has caused struggles for so many people, and it seems like everyone’s needs are unique. The best way we can help is by sponsoring a campaign like this. And, our customers have proven their generosity time and time again by donating when we hold these campaigns.”

Mathouser said she also wants the community to remember that Goodwill Omaha is here to help. “COVID job losses have been devastating for some people in our communities, and that’s where we can directly help. Our Employment Solutions program is free to anyone and can offer valuable assistance in your job search. We offer skills training, CNA certification classes, résumé help, job search assistance and job placement services. I invite anyone who’s having difficulty finding a job to contact our Employment Solutions team and find out about this program.”

Mathouser said that anyone interested in Employment Solutions can find information at GoodwillOmaha.org/EmploymentSolutions, or contact Sarah Alba, Goodwill Employment Solutions coordinator, at 402 951 2919 or [email protected].

People in Nebraska and Iowa who need other types of assistance due to COVID-19 can call the Nebraska/Iowa 211 Helpline or visit the helpline’s website at UnitedWayMidlands.org/2-1-1. In the Blair and Fremont communities, contact the Fremont Area United Way by visiting FremontUnitedWay.org or calling 402 721 4157.

Goodwill Omaha and Max I. Walker Partner To Donate Infant Sleepers and Adult Scrubs to Area Hospitals

‘We want to help the community in any way we can.’

When a locally owned business has operated for several decades, like Goodwill Omaha, or more than a century, like Max I. Walker, the people behind the scenes at those companies often look for ways to thank the community for their loyalty and support. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Goodwill Omaha and Max I. Walker each found a worthy partner in the other. The two businesses have teamed up several times since last March to identify and respond to clothing-related community needs.

Their latest joint venture was their “Sleepers & Scrubs Drive” for local hospitals. The idea was spurred by a second occurrence in the past several months of a health care worker requesting, via social media, donations of preemie and newborn clothing items for their hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This time, the request came from a member of the Women’s Resource Team for CHI Health. Goodwill Omaha and Max I. Walker first collected, laundered and delivered similar items to Methodist Women’s Hospital last August.

The two organizations previously had partnered to donate nearly 400 pairs of scrubs to Bergan-Mercy Hospital last April, so health care workers could have extra scrubs on hand and change frequently while caring for COVID-19 patients. Since the need for scrubs could arise again, the Goodwill Omaha team wisely thought ahead to include scrubs in this community donation request, ensuring that scrubs can be delivered without delay if a health care system requests them.

Since Goodwill’s retail stores didn’t have much inventory of either item, the organization asked those in the community who had newborn and preemie infant sleepers, or scrubs they no longer needed, to bring them to any Goodwill Omaha location, and Max I. Walker would provide laundry services to clean the garments before donating them.

“We typically find we either have a lot of these items in our stores or very few, and this time, we had few,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “As always, so many people answered the call to help others. We have very generous donors and customers. I think people in our communities genuinely like to help each other.”

And help they did. During the monthlong drive, Goodwill locations collected 150 sleepers to donate to CHI Health’s three area NICUs.

“Our team picked up these items from Goodwill’s retail operations center, and we are sorting, laundering and packaging them for delivery,” said Casey Walker, director of retail operations at Max I. Walker. “This is the fourth time we’ve partnered with Goodwill in the past year, and it goes to show just how much of a difference it can make when you find a partner you can rely on. Especially in times like these, local businesses can do a lot of good when they work together to support each other and the community.

Additionally, 427 scrubs were collected from the drive. The scrubs don’t have a destination yet, but Max I. Walker will store them, cleaned and packaged, in anticipation of requests. If any Omaha hospitals wish to receive a donation of extra scrubs, they should email [email protected] to coordinate.

“Next month is Max I. Walker’s 104th anniversary,” Walker continued.” The Omaha-area community has been very good to us, so we actively look for ways we can give back to those who have supported us for so long.”

Mathouser agreed and added, “Our executive leadership team made a conscious decision to be good stewards of the community and help people in the ways we can, whether that’s collecting scrubs for front-line health care workers, sleepers for newborns in the NICU, or helping people find success with our job training and placement programs. Our stores subsidize our programs, so we can’t donate everything or we wouldn’t be able to help people find jobs. But when it’s a specific item during a pandemic, we’ll definitely do some extra work to make it happen.”

For their past efforts, Goodwill Omaha and Max I. Walker’s teams jointly delivered the items to the hospital, but with COVID-19 and cold weather conditions, they may have to drop off the items with less fanfare this time. Although COVID-19 cases in Nebraska have dropped in the past two weeks, experts say a decrease was expected after the sharp increase in cases over the holidays, and they warn that the drop could be due more to the cold of winter keeping people home than to a long-term decline in cases.

Goodwill Omaha Locations Will Open at 10 a.m. on Jan. 15

The delay affects all retail stores, donation centers, training centers, and
administrative offices.

OMAHA, Neb., Jan. 15, 2021 — Due to this morning’s inclement weather, Omaha-area Goodwill retail stores will delay opening until 10 a.m. today. This affects all local Goodwill Omaha locations listed below:

  • Goodwill Omaha Headquarters & Administrative Offices, 4805 N. 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68134
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 4805 N 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68134
  • Goodwill Wearhouse, 4115 S. 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68117
  • GoodBytes, 8457 West Center Road, Omaha, NE 68124
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 201 N. 78th St., Omaha, NE 68114
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 18125 R Plaza, Omaha, NE 68135
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 15455 Ruggles St., Omaha, NE 68116
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 14227 Hillsdale Circle, Omaha, NE 68137
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 2221 N. 109th St., Omaha, NE 68164
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 8457 West Center Road, Omaha, NE 68124
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 1850 Madison Ave., Council Bluffs, IA 51503
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 2303 Towne Centre Dr., Bellevue, NE 68123
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 704 Gold Coast Dr., Papillion, NE 68046
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 8507 Giles Rd., Papillion, NE 68046
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 11722 Standing Stone Dr., Gretna, NE 68028
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 1364 Washington St., Blair, NE 68008
  • Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 3175 Elk Lane, Fremont, NE 68025
  • Goodwill Attended Donation Center, 1056 N 204th Ave., Elkhorn, NE 68022
  • Goodwill Attended Donation Center, 5018 Grover St., Omaha, NE 68106
  • Goodwill Attended Donation Center, 5411 South 96th St., Omaha, NE 68127

The delay affects all retail stores, donation centers, training centers and administrative offices.

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.

###

Girl Scout’s ‘Merry Thriftmas’ Project Finds a Home at Goodwill for Second Year

The festive window displays hearken back to grand department-store windows of the past, but there’s more to this story.

Goodwill Omaha is honored to sponsor Merry Thriftmas, a community project designed to give back to those in need, for the second year. The project is the concept of Madison Eisert, a Papillion La Vista South high school sophomore working toward her Girl Scout Gold Award, and is on display through Dec. 18 at the South Papillion Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center near 90th Street and Highway 310.

“For years, our family has loved shopping at Goodwill throughout the seasons and for every occasion,” Eisert said. “Everything from school supplies, wedding presents, homecoming dresses, prom gowns and especially holiday gifts.

<img src="IMG_0675.png" alt="Madison Eisert sits in front of a fireplace constructed of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies">

Madison Eisert shows off one of her Merry Thriftmas window displays at Goodwill Omaha’s store in South Papillion. The exhibit will be up through Dec. 18.

“The holiday season should be a time filled with magic and celebrating,” she continued. “Sadly, though, it can bring unhappiness, stress and financial burdens — especially this year. By forming and leading a team of volunteers I affectionately refer to as ‘Goodwill Elves,’ we planned to shop and find treasures in nearly every Goodwill aisle to put in the window displays. These items will then be given to families in need to help fulfill their wish lists and bring them joy.”

For a time, it looked like Merry Thriftmas was destined to become another of this year’s many cancellations due to the novel coronavirus.

“Since we reopened after closing for COVID-19, we’ve been focused on keeping our customers, donors, participants and employees safe and minimizing everyone’s risk of exposure,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha. “Madison did an incredible job on the windows last year, and we wanted to host the project again, but we also had to assess potential risks. So, we’d eventually decided not to do it this year.”

Eisert is tenacious, though, and she wanted to find a way to continue the project. She went back to the Goodwill Omaha team with a revised project plan: Eisert proposed decorating two windows instead of four — she’d need fewer Elves to help decorate, and they could dress the windows while Goodwill’s retail team finished their closing duties.

“Madison has grit, and we certainly appreciate that,” Ellis said. “I’m glad she found a way to make the project work. We’d like people to start thinking of stopping at a Goodwill Omaha store when they’re shopping for the holidays — you’d be surprised at how many brand-new items we receive in our donations. Anything from luxury sheet sets and pajama sets to gadgets, artwork and home décor — all donated new with the tags or new in the box. No one would even know it came from Goodwill.”

In fact, Accenture’s 2019 annual holiday shopping survey revealed that 48% of Americans said they would give a thrifted item as a gift, and a whopping 56% said they would welcome thrifted gifts for themselves. This year, with so many people experiencing hardship and loss due to the pandemic, thrift-store and secondhand shopping are on the rise and likely to include holiday gift shopping.

<img src="Merry Thriftmas Fireplace.png" alt="Fireplace mantle with Merry Thriftmas spelled out in decorative, festive letters">“Madison’s plan worked out really well, and the windows are just beautiful again this year,” Ellis said. “I hope people will stop by to see the Merry Thriftmas windows at our South Papillion store and maybe consider stopping in there or at one of our other stores. It doesn’t cost anything to browse, and they might be surprised at the number of great deals they find.”

Eisert also applied for a volunteer service grant, which Booz Allen Hamilton awarded to her to help with the cost of the items and decorations in the windows.

“I’m so thankful to Booz Allen Hamilton for their generous donation,” Eisert said. “Because of their support, the holiday season will be a lot brighter and more joyful for families in need. I would encourage everyone in our community to take the time to celebrate the true meaning of the season by giving of themselves and showing compassion for others.”

And the future of Merry Thriftmas once Eisert earns her Girl Scout Gold Award?

“Goodwill would still like to explore expanding the Merry Thriftmas project in the future,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “We’d like to get businesses in the community involved and donate all the items in the windows to local families in need. We have some logistics to work out, but we’d really like to make the project a holiday tradition for Goodwill Omaha and everyone in the community.”

Residents in Papillion and surrounding communities can see Eisert’s holiday window creation through Dec. 18 at the Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center at 704 W. Gold Coast Drive in Papillion. For more information, photos and video, click here.

Goodwill Commits Giving Tuesday Donations to Help Job Seekers — Especially Those Impacted by COVID-19

The Employment Solutions program is free to anyone who needs help finding a job.

OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 25 2020 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, (Goodwill Omaha) has announced that it will once again participate in Giving Tuesday next week, on Dec. 1, and the organization said it will use the money to help those impacted by COVID-19.

Building on its commitment to giving back, Goodwill Omaha said funds raised during its Giving Tuesday campaign will go toward helping job seekers, particularly those who lost jobs due to COVID-19, with job training, preparation, certification and placement services.

“This year, we especially want to help people in the communities we serve who have been affected by COVID-19, so the money we raise for Giving Tuesday will go to our Employment Solutions program,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “Through Employment Solutions, we offer job services to anyone in the community. Many who lost jobs earlier this year because of COVID are having a tough time finding long-term work. We want them to know that we are here to help them, and we’re actively investing funds to help them.”

Goodwill Omaha has several mission programs, including Employment Solutions, that are designed to provide employment services to job seekers who have disabilities, who lack education or job experience, and who face challenges or barriers to finding employment. Unlike most of Goodwill Omaha’s programs, Employment Solutions participants do not need to meet any specific criteria, other than to be looking for a job.

“Last year alone, Goodwill’s employment programs helped more than 230,000 people in the United States and Canada find long-term employment,” Mathouser said. “Put another way, one out of every 275 people who went to work in the United States last year did so with the help of Goodwill. Locally, our programs put several thousand people to work every year. With the gifts we receive on Giving Tuesday, we’ll be able to help people who have been affected by COVID-19 get back to work.”

Goodwill’s Employment Solutions program offers training classes, accelerated certified nursing assistant classes, and follow-up services at no cost to anyone who needs help finding a job.

“We work with more than 200 employers in the Omaha metro area,” Mathouser said. “Employment Solutions is designed to work for everyone involved: Employers let us know what positions they’re hiring for. Our Employment Solutions team recommends candidates they’re working with who may be a good fit. Our team also provides résumé assistance, prepares them for job interviews, and provides or facilitates training in areas where participants may be lacking.

“The final step is our follow-up program, which helps us ensure that the employer and employee are a good fit for one another,” Mathouser said.

Goodwill’s Employment Solutions also offers sector training classes, computer training classes, hiring events and even CNA certification — all at no cost to program participants.

Giving Tuesday is a collective, worldwide effort to transform how people take part in the giving season. “Our Giving Tuesday donation page is live and accepting early donations,” Mathouser said, “so anyone who wants to help can donate to Goodwill Omaha and our Employment Solutions program any time.

“Goodwill Omaha has been transforming lives through job training, placement and other services since 1933,” Mathouser continued. “It just makes sense for us to take part in a broader effort to give back to the people in our community this holiday season — especially those who have been impacted by the pandemic.”

To learn more or support Goodwill’s Employment Solutions program with a tax-deductible gift for Giving Tuesday, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org/givingtuesday for more information and the donation page link.

###

Goodwill Omaha Is ‘Rounding Up’ for Local United Ways

Goodwill shoppers can donate their change to help others in the community who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.

OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 24, 2020 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, is pleased to announce that its retail stores are raising money for two local United Way organizations to help people in the area who have been affected by COVID-19. The “Round It Up for United Way” campaign is raising awareness and money to support United Way of the Midlands (UWM) and the Fremont Area United Way in their efforts to help people in Omaha and surrounding communities.

The campaign kicked off on Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, allowing shoppers at Goodwill retail stores to choose to “round up” their purchase totals to the next dollar when they check out. Round-it-up donations at Goodwill Omaha’s stores in Fremont and Blair will be donated to the Fremont Area United Way, and donations made at the other Goodwill locations will be donated to United Way of the Midlands.

“This year has been tough for most people, but it’s been especially difficult for those who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO of Goodwill Omaha. “So many people lost jobs, either permanently or temporarily, in March, when many businesses had to close due to COVID. Several months later, some people who were furloughed or expected their layoffs to be temporary learned their positions were eliminated because employers experienced financial and economic losses due to COVID.”

UWM reports that, since March, the Nebraska/Iowa 211 Helpline has experienced a 142% increase in call volumes over last year, despite the high volumes the Helpline saw during the floods in spring 2019. As many people know, COVID-19 created an entirely new set of challenges, which United Way organizations are trying to keep up with.

For example, UWM modified its community investment process to quickly move dollars to programs that meet the community’s most pressing needs and to better respond to the community’s rapidly evolving needs.

“Goodwill holds campaigns like this throughout the year to benefit other nonprofits in our communities. It’s a way we can give back to the communities and partners who show so much support for Goodwill and our employment programs,” Mathouser continued. “Our shoppers tend to be very generous, and our round-it-up campaigns can raise a surprising amount of money. We love doing it. To us, giving back is just part of what it means to be a good steward of the community.”

 

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.

 

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 the Fremont Area United Way

The Fremont Area United Way works to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place. Our vision for the Fremont area is to create solutions to community issues where we can make a difference, such as school readiness. We hope you want to be a part of the change. We think we can do more together than any of us can do alone. This is what it means to “Live United.” Learn more at FremontUnitedWay.org.

###

United Way of the Midlands Awards Karnett Trust Grant to Goodwill Omaha

The grant will enable Goodwill Omaha to offer virtual learning options for the Work Experience program.

OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 4, 2020 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, (Goodwill Omaha) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the $70,000 Karnett Family Trust Grant by United Way of the Midlands Karnett Trust.

The Karnett Family Trust Grant is administered by United Way of the Midlands and is open to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties to fund programs that are focused on the care, education and training of children with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the Omaha metropolitan area. The grant will provide vital funding for Goodwill Omaha’s Work Experience program, which gives developmentally disabled high school students opportunities to gain exposure to work situations in supportive environments.

“We are incredibly thankful to United Way of the Midlands and the Karnett Family for this grant,” said Linda Kizzier, director of mission programs at Goodwill Omaha. “Goodwill began developing basic virtual-learning curriculum for our programs prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020, and the Karnett Family Trust Grant will enable us to put more time and resources toward that initiative, so we can offer our Work Experience students a more standardized curriculum that’s available and accessible if there are times when they cannot attend in-person learning at schools.”

Goodwill’s Work Experience program has provided training services to developmentally disabled high school students since 1965. As Goodwill’s oldest program, Work Experience has professionals who work with local school districts in eight retail and community-based locations in the metropolitan community.

When most schools closed in March, students participating in Goodwill Omaha’s Work Experience program were forced to end their training abruptly. “With the help of this grant, the Work Experience program will move closer to providing a more robust virtual training platform,” Kizzier said. “We’ll develop the virtual platform to help our Work Experience students maintain a more consistent pace and scope of our traditional program, so they’ll be able to continue the program with as little interruption as possible.”

COVID-19 has presented many challenges for students at schools that haven’t yet returned to in-person learning, parents’ reluctance to allow children to return to a classroom, or whose underlying health concerns make returning to a classroom undesirable or unsafe. Goodwill Omaha is adapting its service delivery with a flexible online training system designed to help bridge the gap until schools and students can return to more normal learning environments.

Kizzier said the Work Experience team has been developing videos demonstrating the various skill sets they teach during face-to-face training, so students who cannot attend classes in person still have the opportunity to learn certain social and work skills. Following video training, students will answer questions to demonstrate their understanding of the task shown in the video.

“By using the Karnett Family Trust Grant to offer virtual training to students, Goodwill Omaha can provide an introduction and better understanding of various tasks when face-to-face classroom activities are not feasible,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “Access to virtual training will also help students remain connected to their trainers, the training program and their peers, helping to ensure that ongoing learning takes place and students are in a good position to return to face-to-face training.”

About United Way of the Midlands

We focus the efforts of many to help our neighbors stand strong – by addressing basic needs, and fostering success in the classroom and the workplace. www.UnitedWayMidlands.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.

###

 

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.