Goodwill Omaha Asks Customers to ‘Round Up’ for CUES Schools

All three schools offer summer enrichment for students affected by remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

OMAHA, Neb., June 2, 2021 — For students across the nation, remote learning due to COVID-19-related school closures brought learning challenges, but the most significant has been academic learning loss. McKinsey & Company estimates that pure and hybrid remote-learning environments put U.S. students behind an average of seven months from where they would be if they’d been learning in the classroom[1]. Even more alarming: McKinsey estimates students of color suffered more significant learning loss than white children — as much as 9.2 months for Hispanic students and 10.3 months for Black students.

To help Omaha’s children in low-income homes catch up, Goodwill Omaha’s retail stores are rounding up for the CUES School System throughout the month of June, with all donations supporting its “Summer of Learning” program. Through June 30, customers at all Goodwill Omaha locations can round their purchase amounts to the next dollar — or higher — and Goodwill Omaha will donate all of the rounded-up money to the CUES School System.

This summer, CUES Schools — which comprises Sacred Heart, All Saints, and Holy Name schools — is proposing a bold idea to our community: For the first time, all three east Omaha schools are offering summer programming to help students maintain and improve on academics, social and emotional learning, and enrichment opportunities. By keeping students connected to their schools during the summer months, CUES hopes to continue its mission of providing quality education to students while supporting families in need.

“Summer enrichment will provide our children with an opportunity to be with friends in a safe environment, while improving upon their language and math scores and engaging in STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] activities,” said Fr. David Korth, president, CUES School System. “We are calling it ‘summer enrichment’ instead of summer school because the programming includes field trips and STEAM-related activities, which most of our students have not been part of for over a year.

“With the closure of community programs due to the pandemic,” Korth continued, “our children are eager to experience learning activities with their friends in a face-to-face environment. We’re extremely grateful that Goodwill selected our schools for its quarterly round-it-up campaign.”

The CUES “Summer of Learning” program will be offered at no cost to families with students at a CUES school. The main hope for the program is to provide not only education but also support for children who are having a tough time emotionally. The social interactions with their friends will help them catch up on social and emotional skills.

“The pandemic has affected people in many ways,” Korth said. “School is a place for academic growth, and it’s also a place to learn about relationships with friends and family. We teach children how to get along with others and how to properly handle situations when they don’t get along. We’ve seen that in-person classroom learning is something we truly need and that remote learning doesn’t work for every child.”

CUES has issued an appeal to the community to raise $100,000 to fund its “Summer of Learning” program, and Goodwill Omaha hopes the round-it-up campaign can help the organization get closer to its goal.

Early research suggests that pandemic-related academic learning loss could cause the average K–12 student to lose up to $82,000 in earnings throughout their lifetime. “We believe it’s crucial to the future success and well-being of our community for students to have access to high-quality learning opportunities this summer, so they have the chance to catch up,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and CEO at Goodwill Omaha. “To us, it makes sense to support education, and the CUES School System is certainly a worthy cause.”

 

About CUES School System

The CUES School System is a bold educational initiative providing centralized leadership and governance to three urban elementary schools in Omaha, Nebraska, serving a majority of low-income students and families. We combine innovative instructional methods with comprehensive student and family support in a Catholic faith-based environment to create and sustain excellent and measurable outcomes that benefit not only the students we serve but also the entire community.

For more information about the CUES “Summer of Learning” program and appeal, please visit CUESSchools.org/summer-appeal.

 

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 Rockville, 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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[1] “COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime.” By Emma Dorn, Bryan Hancock, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, and Ellen Viruleg. McKinsey & Company. June 1, 2020. McKinsey.com.

Goodwill Omaha Holds Belated Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Opening for Its Canfield’s Plaza Stores

The event was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but the community is invited to celebrate this year.

OMAHA, Neb., May 12, 2021 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa (Goodwill Omaha), is gearing up for a grand opening event — one that was planned for a year ago but which became one more event “canceled due to COVID-19.” Now, nearing the anniversary of opening the Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center and the GoodBytes computer store at 8457 West Center Road, in Canfield’s Plaza, the stores will get the celebration they deserve. On Friday, May 14, from 8:45 a.m. until 5 p.m., the community can check out Goodwill’s newest locations at a first-anniversary grand opening event.

Around this time last year, many businesses in the Omaha metro area, including Goodwill, were beginning to reopen after temporarily closing due to COVID-19. Most people in the community were relieved to see this, but Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha, might have felt the waves of relief even more than most.

“I was so nervous that we were putting all this work and money into the stores in Canfield’s Plaza but might not be able to open them on time,” Ellis said.

In December 2019, Goodwill Omaha purchased the building where Canfield’s Sporting Goods resided for 71 years, intending to make a new home for its store at 8310 Spring Street and build out a larger space for its GoodBytes store, which was located at 72nd and F streets.

The Canfield’s Plaza space also houses a training room for Goodwill’s Work Experience program, which helps high school students with disabilities gain exposure to work situations in a supportive environment to prepare them for the transition from an educational setting to the working world.

Construction on the building was underway when Goodwill Omaha temporarily closed all locations on March 23, 2020 due to COVID-19.

“Although the opening of the stores wasn’t delayed, the grand opening celebration we had planned was canceled,” Ellis said. “A large grand opening event could have become crowded, and our leadership team wanted to keep Goodwill employees, program participants and the community safe from the spread of COVID-19. Safety is still our priority, so we’re doing a scaled-down version of our usual grand openings, but with the COVID vaccine widely available, people want to get out of the house, and this is something we can hold outdoors.”

The day will start with a ribbon-cutting at 8:45 a.m., just before the stores open, followed by a live iHeartRadio remote at 11 a.m. hosted by Steve Lundy from the KAT 103.7, raffle drawings every hour, free lunch, and face-painting and balloon animals by Loli Pop dah Clown.

Job seekers will also want to attend the festivities, as Goodwill Omaha is holding a hiring event in the store’s upper level, and representatives from Goodwill’s Employment Solutions program will also be on-site. Employment Solutions offers job training, certification and placement for anyone in the community who’s looking for a job.

“These stores are really beautiful, and we’re excited to be able to invite the community to celebrate them with us, even if it’s a year later,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO. “We want this to be an event that the community and our neighbors in the area enjoy and that gives them a chance to become reacquainted with Goodwill if they aren’t already.”

Goodwill Omaha Grand Opening at Canfield’s Plaza Event Schedule

Friday, May 14, 2021 | 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. Ribbon-cutting
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Goodwill Omaha hiring event, Second Floor
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stores open
10 a.m. First raffle drawing
11 a.m. Raffle drawing
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. iHeart live remote hosted by Steve Lundy, the KAT 103.7
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch served, parking lot (hot dogs, water, chips and cookies)
12 p.m. Raffle drawing
1 p.m. Raffle drawing
2 p.m. Raffle drawing
3 p.m. Raffle drawing
4 p.m. Raffle drawing
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Loli Pop dah Clown, Face painting, candy, and balloon animals
5 p.m. Final raffle drawing

We’re Hiring, and New Employees Could Earn Hiring Bonuses of up to $1,500

Amid service-industry labor shortages, Goodwill has an unusual number of jobs available. 

Jobless claims, which hovered just below 600,000 last week, are the lowest since early 2020, and economists forecast that around 977,500 jobs were added last month, yet businesses in service industries report they’re struggling to fill jobs. That’s why Goodwill  Omaha is unveiling a campaign to encourage job seekers to apply, and new employees hired during the campaign time frame could earn hiring bonuses of up to $1,500.

Goodwill Omaha straddles two industries encountering labor shortages — retail and human services — causing an inordinate number of open positions right now, although the organization’s retail sales are strong. The hiring bonuses will range from $250 for part-time cashier and custodian positions to $750 for full-time retail production associates to $1,500 for full-time project managers in the AbilityOne program.

“Economists are saying there could be several reasons for the labor shortage, including lingering worries about COVID-19 and child care needs,” said Erin Blackledge, director of human resources at Goodwill Omaha. “We want people in the community to know that Goodwill is a great place to work, and we’re willing to offer incentives to encourage them to apply and experience Goodwill’s culture for themselves.”

Goodwill Omaha’s hiring bonuses likely will be available for qualifying employees hired this month, Blackledge said, and could extend beyond that depending on the number of positions filled. “We also want job seekers to know that Goodwill has great benefits packages for both full-time and part-time employees,” she said, “and we’ve permanently waived the 60-day insurance waiting period, so employees can get coverage starting the first of the month following their start date.”

To kick off the hiring push, Blackledge and Goodwill Omaha’s HR team are preparing for a week of hiring events, which will start on May 10. Each event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., although at different locations throughout the Omaha metro. Job seekers will be able to apply and interview for positions on the spot.

“We coordinate and host hiring events every week for our business partners, so we know they’re effective,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO. “It seems natural to have them ourselves when we have an unusual number of open positions. Hiring events also might be preferable for people who want to avoid a lengthy hiring process or don’t want to wait several days between the time they apply and the time they’re called for an interview.”

Goodwill Omaha’s hiring events will take place May 10 through 14 at the following locations:

  • Monday, May 10, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Goodwill Omaha Headquarters, 4805 N 72nd Street, Omaha, NE 68134
  • Tuesday, May 11, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Panera Bread, 8650 S 71st Street, Ste A, Omaha, NE 68133
  • Wednesday, May 12, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Scooter’s Coffee, 2211 Capehart Rd, #107, Bellevue, NE 68123
  • Thursday, May 13, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Scooter’s Coffee, 11975 Blondo Street, Omaha, NE 68164
  • Friday, May 14, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 8457 W. Center Road, 2nd Floor, Omaha, NE 68124

For more information about Goodwill’s hiring bonuses and events, benefits, and qualifying positions, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org/hiring.

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.”

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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.

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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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