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.

 

 

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

 

United Way of the Midlands Awards $36,000 Grant to Goodwill Industries, Inc., to Fund YouthBuild Omaha

For Immediate Release

July 16, 2019

 

(Omaha, NE) Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa is pleased to announce it was awarded a $36,000 grant from United Way of the Midlands. Thanks to the generosity of the United Way donors, Goodwill’s YouthBuild Omaha Program is able to provide another year of intensive vocational and life skills training to individuals in our community.

YouthBuild Omaha is a program for young adults, ages 16 to 24, who have struggled with school. Many of these young people do not have a high school diploma and are looking to make a positive change in their lives. YouthBuild Omaha’s mission is to equip young people with the tools to make healthy decisions. The program combines classroom learning and hands-on construction experience. YouthBuild Omaha members spend half their day in the classroom preparing to take their GED tests, and the other half working with local non-profits that build and renovate homes, learning construction and other high demand occupations, and giving back to their community.

By integrating academic, vocational and leadership activities, YouthBuild Omaha offers a unique project-based learning model for members. The learning experience is individualized, intensive and designed to replicate the professional work environment. Members identify their skills, barriers and career interests and follow individual development plans. They work towards continuous improvement in five key behavioral areas – attendance, communication, positive workplace behavior, conduct, and follow-through.

This is the second of a two-year commitment United Way of the Midlands has made to maintaining and enhancing YouthBuild Omaha. This support has allowed Goodwill to increase services provided to young adults enrolled in the program, and introduce innovative new learning processes. In 2019, United Way funding allowed Goodwill to purchase 12 state of the art monitors and 2 printers (one being a 3D printer) to expand our YouthBuild Construction Plus model to include IT Certification. Upon successful completion, students will earn MakerBot 3D Printing Certification and Autodesk Certification, preparing the next generation of CADD industry professionals.

“United Way’s grant and continued support for the Goodwill YouthBuild Omaha programs is greatly appreciated. It will bring positive change to the lives of many youth enrolled in the program,” said Dr. Michael McGinnis, CEO and President of Goodwill Omaha.

About United Way of the Midlands:

Thanks to donors, volunteers and community partners, United Way of the Midlands is not only focused on addressing our community’s human needs today; it is focused on what can be and what should be. It is building on today’s strong partnerships to create even more comprehensive human service efforts tomorrow, so our community can solve some of the root causes of poverty. United Way of the Midlands is community-based, community-focused. Thanks to those who share their strength, United Way of the Midlands is COMMUNITY STRONG. Please visit UnitedWayMidlands.org for more information

About Goodwill Omaha:

Goodwill Industries, Inc. has been leaders in helping people fulfill their dreams through work since 1933. Our mission is to change lives and strengthen communities through education, training, and work. Visit www.goodwillomaha.org for more information.

 

For Information Contact:

Tobi Mathouser – Director of Mission Advancement

Goodwill Industries, Inc. Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa

402-341-4609

[email protected]

Media Alert – “Marie Kondo series sparks joy for Goodwill, Salvation Army as donations surge after purge” – Omaha World-Herald

On Saturday, January 26, Omaha World-Herald reporter Chris Peters covered a story regarding newly released Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and how the recent influx of donations are positively affecting donations at Goodwill and other nonprofit agencies.

To see the original story, please click here.

Photo Credit: Omaha World-Herald

2016 Omaha’s Choice Awards — OWH — 6/5/16

2016 Omaha’s Choice Awards: The winners are …

Thousands of votes were cast in more than 150 categories to determine the winners in the inaugural Omaha’s Choice Awards.  Goodwill took the award for Thrift Store/Consignment category!!!

Here’s the write-up that was in  the 6/5/16 edition of the OWH …

Thrift Store/Consignment: Goodwill

18 metro-area locations / www.goodwill.org

Looking for more variety than what you find on your average department store shelves? Most Goodwill stores introduce more than 2,000 new items onto the sales floor each day. And you won’t be the only one who gets a great deal. Millions of people benefit from Goodwill employment training, job placement services, financial education, youth mentoring and more.

Finalists: Hand Me Up Store, New Life Thrift, Thrift America

 

Here’s the OWH link …

http://www.omaha.com/special_sections/omahaschoice/omaha-s-choice-winners-retail/article_fd026dde-5c02-5cc6-b9e2-3424a0f4802f.html