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.

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.

###

 

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.

 

 

 

Goodwill Rounds Up More Than $6,000 for Food Bank

The “round it up” campaign lasts through July 15, so metro-area shoppers still have time to donate.

OMAHA, Neb., June 29, 2020 — On March 23, Goodwill Industries, Inc., (Goodwill Omaha) temporarily shut down its retail stores, donation centers, and employment training and placement services due to COVID-19. When the organization reopened eight weeks later, the staff wanted to run a “round it up” campaign effort to help people in the community who’d been affected by job losses and other difficulties. They chose Food Bank for the Heartland, and since Goodwill Omaha reopened on May 15, its retail customers have donated more than $6,150 by rounding up their purchases at the register.

“We believe in giving back to the community, especially at a time when so many people have been affected by COVID-19 and need help,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and chief operating officer at Goodwill Omaha. “So many have been hit hard by the pandemic, and even though we might not realize it, each of us probably knows someone who is food insecure. Food is essential for every single person, and we hope this donation will help those in our community who need it.”

Between now and July 15, customers at Goodwill stores can choose to “Round It Up for Food Bank of the Heartland” by rounding up their purchase totals to the next dollar at the point of sale.

“During this unprecedented time, Food Bank for the Heartland is working swiftly with our partners across Nebraska and western Iowa to provide critical meals to our neighbors struggling due to the community and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian Barks, president and chief executive officer of Food Bank for the Heartland. “The need for supplemental food is higher than ever. From March 15 to May 15, the Food Bank has distributed 3,974,012 meals — well beyond our average monthly meal distribution for a two-month period of 2,790,364. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from Goodwill customers and others across the Heartland.”

“Many of our customers not only round up to the next dollar, but they also donate additional money,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha. “We want to help the community whenever we have the chance, and we have so many wonderful customers who feel the same. We’re very fortunate that they support us in these efforts.”

Mathouser added that the community still has time to donate to the campaign. “All of our stores are accepting round-it-up donations for two more weeks,” she said, “and our stores are having a 20% off sale on July 4, so we’re hoping to see a good amount of donations for the rest of the campaign.

“We also want to thank everyone who has contributed to this campaign,” Mathouser continued. “Round-it-up campaigns are a way that we can help make a difference, and our customers traditionally are very generous in giving. Sponsoring a campaign like this one is a small way we can do our part to help the people in our community.”

Goodwill shoppers who want to contribute to the “Round It Up for Food Bank of the Heartland” campaign can do so at the time of checkout at any Goodwill Omaha location through July 15.

 

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 22 million meals in FY 2019, 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 that our mission is 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, find 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.

 

 

Goodwill Omaha Receives 2020 Best of Offutt AFB Award

Offutt AFB award program honors the achievement.

OFFUTT AFB, April 29, 2020 — Today, the Offutt AFB Award Program announced that Goodwill Industries, Inc., (Goodwill Omaha) has been selected for the 2020 Best of Offutt AFB Award in the Thrift Shops category.

Each year, the Offutt AFB Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Offutt AFB area a great place to live, work and play.

“We are honored to win this recognition from Offutt Air Force Base, and we are proud to serve the brave men and women who serve at Offutt every day,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and chief operating officer at Goodwill Omaha.

Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations for Goodwill Omaha, agreed and added, “We have wonderful customers stationed at Offutt, and many become regulars in our Bellevue store. As you might imagine, transfers are common in the military; a Goodwill store might be the one thing someone in the military or their spouse feels like they know in a new city. I think they seek out the familiarity and comfortableness that Goodwill provides when they’re in a new place.

“Goodwill is perfect for individuals and families in the military,” Ellis continued. “They move around a lot, and they really become experts at purging nonessential belongings to make moves easier. When they move to a new place, they go to Goodwill for items they need at an affordable price — whether it’s a sofa, a television, or a new wardrobe for a warmer or cooler climate. And, when they transfer away from Offutt, they’re very generous in donating items they aren’t taking with them.”

Offutt AFB Award Program officials gathered and analyzed various sources of information to choose the winners in each category. The 2020 Offutt AFB Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Offutt AFB Award Program and data provided by third parties.

 

About the Offutt AFB Award Program
The Offutt AFB Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Offutt AFB area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Offutt AFB Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Offutt AFB Award Program

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.

###

 

 

Goodwill, Max I. Walker Team Up To Provide Medical Scrubs for Creighton Health Care Workers

They’ll deliver more than 375 pairs of scrubs to Creighton on Wednesday.

L-R: Casey Walker (Max I. Walker), Janelle Ellis (Goodwill), Melanie Moyer (Goodwill)

OMAHA, Neb., April 10, 2020 — When Creighton University School of Medicine students contacted Goodwill Industries, Inc. (Goodwill Omaha), asking if the nonprofit organization’s thrift stores had any medical scrubs on the racks that they could spare, staff from Goodwill Omaha and local dry cleaner Max I. Walker jumped into action.

“Our stores are temporarily closed right now due to the coronavirus threat, so our retail operations team went store to store and collected every piece of scrubs they could find,” said Tobi Mathouser, president and COO at Goodwill Omaha. “They found more than 375 pairs of scrubs.”

The donation is for a medical scrub drive that Creighton’s medical students are holding to collect the garments and donate them to health care workers at CHI’s Bergen Mercy.

“There is an increased demand for scrubs at the hospitals due to heightened precautions for doctors and nurses to be able to decontaminate themselves as they travel to and from home and the hospital,” said Adrienne Pyle, a third-year medical student at Creighton School of Medicine and drive’s organizer. “With these extra scrubs, the medical professionals will be able to decontaminate themselves with frequent scrub changes and thereby keep their patients and own families safe.”

Next, Goodwill needed a partner to launder the scrubs for the health care workers. They found one in local dry cleaner Max I. Walker.

“We’re committed to giving back to the community that’s supported us for more than 100 years, so when we got the call, this was something we really wanted to do,” said Casey Walker, director of retail operations at Max I. Walker. “With the current pandemic, health care workers are on the frontlines, and if we could help them, we absolutely wanted to.”

L-R: Janelle Ellis (Goodwill), Shantel Featherson (Goodwill), Casey Walker (Max I. Walker)

This afternoon, Goodwill dropped off the scrubs at the Max I. Walker location in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where Walker’s team will launder them. On Wednesday, April 15, Goodwill and Max I. Walker’s retail operations teams will pick up the scrubs in Council Bluffs and deliver them to Creighton for distribution to Bergen Mercy doctors and nurses.

“With COVID-19 cases continuing to pop up, the medical staff is going through many more pairs of scrubs,” said Pyle said. “We were amazed at how quickly these two businesses were able to collect scrubs and coordinate laundering of them. We are incredibly grateful to Goodwill and to Max I. Walker, as are the doctors and nurses at Bergen. They have gone above and beyond in organizing this effort, and they’ve shown a genuine desire to help. We are so thankful to both.”

The Creighton medical scrub drive runs through April 25. Blue and green scrubs are preferred, and patterned scrubs are also accepted. Pyle asks that scrubs are washed prior to donation, and donors have two drop-off option, or they may request pickup:

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 22 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.
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 locations throughout the Omaha metro area.

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 and a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goodwill is also affiliated with the federal AbilityOne 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.

 

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.

###