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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Safety & Precautions

COVID-19 Procedures and Precautions in Effect at All Goodwill Omaha Locations

At Goodwill Omaha, we carefully consider the health of our employees, program participants, customers, donors and the community in general. We take the spread of the novel coronavirus seriously, and we want to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus at every one of our locations.

Goodwill Omaha has implemented the following processes and procedures — based on best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Goodwill Industries International, other Goodwill affiliate organizations, and the National Retail Federation — at all of our retail stores and donation centers:

  1. All customers and children over the age of 5 must wear face masks inside our retail stores to help protect our employees, program participants and other customers.
  2. Employees at each store are assigned to sanitizing carts.
  3. Operating hours at all locations are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p. m.
  4. Every Goodwill Omaha employee has been instructed to stay home if they:
    • Have any symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath
    • Live with anyone who has been suspected of having or diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Have been exposed to anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19
  5. All Goodwill employees are wearing masks at all times in our stores and donation center.
  6. Employees are sanitizing high-traffic areas every two hours, and our cleaning crew performs additional sanitizing and deep cleaning at all stores.
  7. Regular announcements over the PA systems remind customers to social distance and give each other some extra space.
  8. We’ve installed clear acrylic dividers at the registers to protect customers and employees in areas where social distancing is impossible or impractical.
  9. Our fitting rooms are temporarily closed. We understand this may be inconvenient for our customers, so we’ll grant store credit for returns of clothing items with the tags attached and the receipt for an additional seven days beyond our regular return policy.
  10. Signage reminding everyone to social distance at least 6 feet is posted throughout the stores and on floor decals at the registers.
  11. Our donation centers hold all donations for a minimum of 24 hours before putting the items in the stores.

Additional Precautions at the Goodwill Wearhouse Only

The following are additional precautions we are enforcing at the Goodwill Wearhouse near 72nd & F streets:

  1. All adult customers and employees must wear masks and gloves at all times inside the store.
  2. Children over the age of 5 must wear masks inside the Goodwill Wearhouse.
  3. All children who reach into the bins must wear gloves.

Contact Our Retail Team

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A Message From Tobi Mathouser, President and Chief Operating Officer

When corruption is uncovered in a business or organization, how do you know whether the problems have been resolved or the organization is feeding you lip service?

I’m not sure there’s a single definitive answer. What I do know is that most people can easily spot whether another person, a business or an organization is transparent and authentic — two words that I would like to see become synonymous with Omaha’s Goodwill organization.

We’re willing to work hard to earn the right to call ourselves both, and we have worked tirelessly over the past three years to make progress toward both. I believe that starts with honest communication, which you’ll see much more of from our organization.

When the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation in 2016, triggered by a local media report, it uncovered practices that shocked most employees. As a result, members of the board of trustees acted swiftly and resolutely, which resulted in a complete overhaul of the executive team and most of the board.

Since then, we have painstakingly worked toward making our Goodwill organization a charitable, community-focused nonprofit. Our current leadership team and board were neither involved in past wrongdoing, nor do we condone such practices.

Certain misconceptions persist even today, as we knew they might, and we generally just work harder to overcome them. There are, however, a few that I would like to take a moment to address.

Although the information regarding Goodwill’s settlement with former CEO Frank McGree has been publicly posted on our website for a year in our 2018 IRS Tax Form 990, the settlement recently became a topic of speculation and discussion. We legally cannot discuss any part of the settlement agreement other than what was reported in our 990, but I can clarify one point: Goodwill made the final settlement payment of $610,000 to McGree in 2018 — nearly two years ago — so, this information isn’t news.

We’ve heard discussion claiming that Goodwill pays some employees less than minimum wage. All Goodwill employees make a minimum of $10 an hour, and all employees who are part of our AbilityOne program earn the federal wage determination for the types of government contracts they work on.

We’ve seen comments criticizing the prices of items sold in our retail stores. Goodwill follows — and always has followed — a Good–Better–Best pricing scale. We have not raised the prices on this scale since 2012, which isn’t something most retailers can say.

Above all, Goodwill Omaha remains focused on growing our mission programming, offering our employees stability and security, and providing youth and adults with disabilities and other disadvantages in our community the job training, certification and placement services they need to attain — and maintain — gainful employment. Everything we do revolves around our mission and the programs that bring it to life.

Goodwill’s leadership team and employees have worked immensely hard over the last few years to lift our organization out of a very difficult situation. Now, we want nothing more than to move forward and focus our attention on providing services to people in our community who will benefit and flourish from them. I hope the changes we have made within our Goodwill organization over the last few years will help us regain the trust of the community and our customers.

Transparency, authenticity and integrity begin within an organization, and I am committed to making Goodwill Omaha an organization that demonstrates each of those under the utmost scrutiny. Now, let’s get started.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Tobi Mathouser
President and Chief Operating Officer

 

Goodwill Omaha Shoppers Donate $15,000 to ‘Round It Up for United Way’

Goodwill presented the United Way with a check to benefit its Opportunity Youth program.

OMAHA, Neb., Feb. 25, 2020 — Omaha’s Goodwill Industries, Inc., has presented the United Way of the Midlands with a check for $15,000, money that Goodwill retail customers donated during the Round It Up for United Way of the Midlands, an annual donation campaign to raise awareness and

Pictured, left to right: Goodwill Omaha CEO Dr. Michael McGinnis; Linda Kizzier (Goodwill); Shantel Featherson (Goodwill); Jessica Jensen (United Way); Janelle Ellis (Goodwill); Melanie Moyer (Goodwill).

money to support United Way programs. Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019, customers at Goodwill stores could choose to “round up” their purchase totals to the next dollar at the point of sale, and many donated even more. Goodwill executives and retail operations team members presented the check to United Way representative Jessica Jensen on Feb. 1.

Goodwill designated the donation for the United Way’s Opportunity Youth initiative, a collective group that works to connect youth to basic-needs services, educational opportunities and employment prospects.

“We chose to sponsor the Opportunity Youth initiative because it aligns with Goodwill’s mission to change lives and strengthen communities through education, training and work,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and chief operating officer. “All of our mission programs — Employment Solutions, YouthBuild, Work Experience and AbilityOne — offer education, training and job placement opportunities for people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

“When we have the chance to take part in the Opportunity Youth Alliance and campaigns like Round It up,” Mathouser continued, “we can help more people in our community — and that’s something our employees and leadership team find exciting.”

“Our retail customers are so generous,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha. “They really stepped up and donated to the Round It Up campaign, which will go a long way toward helping others in our area.”

 

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, has been a leader in helping people fulfill their dreams through work since 1933. Our mission is to train and employ people with disabilities and others who may be at a competitive disadvantage in the job market. We do this by selling value-priced merchandise at 17 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs.

Although many people know Goodwill as a place to donate used clothing and household items, they may not realize that their donations sold in our retail stores fund programs that give thousands of formerly unemployed individuals the opportunity to earn a living and the chance to succeed in life. Goodwill provides opportunities for individuals with barriers to self-sufficiency through a variety of job opportunities and employment programs, including AbilityOne, YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience.

Goodwill is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goodwill is also affiliated with the federal Ability One program, which provides jobs for people with severe disabilities at federal facilities. Goodwill is accredited by CARF, the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission. Learn more at GoodwillOmaha.org.

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