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 Industries, Inc., Announces ‘Merry Thriftmas’ Contest at South Papillion Retail Store

A local volunteer group approached Goodwill with the idea; if it’s successful this year, the organization may roll it out at additional locations in coming years.

OMAHA, Neb., Nov. 20, 2019 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., today announced “Merry Thriftmas,” a campaign that will include a contest giveaway, event and promotion that will run Dec. 1 through Dec. 14. During the two-week period, shoppers at Goodwill at 704 Gold Coast Drive in South Papillion will receive a contest entry form each time they visit the store for their chance to win one of four unique prizes.

“We had a family come to us and ask if they could decorate our four display windows at the South Papillion store and hold a drawing for everything in the windows,” said Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations for Goodwill in the Omaha metro area. “The family has recruited additional volunteers in the Papillion area, and collectively, we call them the Goodwill Elves.”

The concept is this: The Goodwill Elves developed a theme for each window, and they’ve been scouring Goodwill for the perfect decorations and items, which they purchase and donate for each theme. The Elves are also visiting Papillion businesses for donations of new items for the windows, and Goodwill is donating items for each window.

On Nov. 17, the Goodwill Elves covered the display windows at the South Papillion store with gift wrap and went to work building their window themes. On Dec. 1 at 3 p.m., Goodwill is hosting a Merry Thriftmas Unveiling Event, where the Goodwill Elves will “unwrap” the four windows. From Dec. 1 through Dec. 14, shoppers at the South Papillion store will receive entry tickets that they can drop into the coordinating box for the window they’d like to win. On Dec. 14, the Goodwill Elves will draw a winner for each window during a Facebook Live event.Merry Thriftmas

“Santa Claus will be at the unveiling event, and the Goodwill Elves are currently trying to secure donations of milk, cookies and hot chocolate for the event,” said Goodwill CEO Mike McGinnis. “We want this to be a fun event for the Papillion community, and the whole community is invited.”

“What’s really great about this contest is the winners win everything in their window,” Ellis said. “The furniture, the lights and decorations, all of the gifts — everything. I know our Goodwill customers will be excited about this contest, and if it’s successful, we’re talking about doing ‘Merry Thriftmas’ at more of our stores next year and in the years after.”

For more information about “Merry Thriftmas” and updates about the Dec. 1 unveiling event, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org/Thriftmas, and watch Goodwill Omaha’s social media for the most up-to-date information.

 

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.

###

For Information, Contact:
Amy Goldyn, Marketing Manager
Goodwill Industries, Inc. Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa
402-231-1919
[email protected]

 

 

Congressman Don Bacon Returns to Offutt to Visit Goodwill Program Offices

Bacon voiced support for Goodwill’s AbilityOne program and committed to becoming an AbilityOne Congressional Champion.

OMAHA, Neb., Aug. 9, 2019 — AbilityOne, an employment program offered by the Omaha-based Goodwill Industries, Inc., provides training and part-time job opportunities at federal properties for individuals with disabilities, giving them the chance to experience positive, supportive work environments. On July 29, AbilityOne program leaders and employees met with Congressman Don Bacon when he visited Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska. During an informal town hall, Bacon even had the opportunity to learn how AbilityOne has improved the lives of program participants.

In talking with Bacon, Goodwill’s AbilityOne employees expressed appreciation for the program and spoke of how valuable it has been for them. Because of the program, they told Bacon, they have found tremendous fulfilment in their work.

AbilityOne provides employment prospects at federal buildings for people with disabilities. Local opportunities include custodial, postal services and ground maintenance at Offutt Air Force Base, the Zorinsky Federal Building in Omaha, the Denney Federal Building in Lincoln, and the VA hospitals in Omaha and Grand Island. Bacon said that he’s an advocate for AbilityOne because the program helps people who want to work find jobs, which he fully supports.

“We’re very lucky to have Congressman Bacon’s attention and support for the AbilityOne program,” said Jennifer Montag, senior project manager for Goodwill Omaha’s AbilityOne program. “Congressman Bacon is working toward becoming an AbilityOne Congressional Champion, and his commitment to achieving that goal is inspiring to everyone involved with the program.”

Bacon’s interest in AbilityOne began when he was stationed at Offutt as the 55th wing commander. During that time, he said, he saw the quality of work and the program’s positive outcomes firsthand. Since then, AbilityOne has been a program he is passionate about.

Nate Gunter, project manager for Goodwill Omaha’s AbilityOne program, added, “It’s wonderful to work with our AbilityOne participants, and watching them succeed in their new job roles is an incredible experience. I’m proud of the work we do, and we appreciate Congressman Bacon’s contributions.”

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.

###

For Information Contact:
Amy Goldyn, Marketing Manager
Goodwill Industries, Inc. Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa
402-231-1919
[email protected]

Goodwill Industries Celebrates 115 Years of Changing Lives

Goodwill Industries Celebrates 115 Years of Changing Lives

During the week of May 6, 2018 we will be celebrating Goodwill Industries Week—along with 115 years of building better futures and changing lives. Goodwill Industries Week was first celebrated in May of 1951. It is a way to encourage local Goodwill organizations to educate their communities about their missions. At Goodwill Omaha our mission is to change lives through education, training, and work—by serving individuals and businesses in eastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa.

Hand-Up Not a Hand Out 

In 1902 Reverend Edgar J. Helms went from door to door in Boston asking not for money, but for clothing in need of repair. Helms employed people facing challenges by having them mend the clothes for a daily wage. By selling those clothes back to the community, Goodwill’s mission was born. Helms believed in giving people a chance, not charity. He also believed there is more dignity in receiving a hand-up, not a hand-out. When people learn the skills to earn their own pay checks they have the power to transform lives and communities. Goodwill has grown from humble origins into an international non-profit organization. We provide employment placement, job training services and other important services to millions of people.

Goodwill Omaha’s Programs and Services

While programs and services have changed over the years, our mission of changing lives through education, training, and work has stayed true. Below are programs and services Goodwill Omaha currently provides.

  • Ability One – Provides part-time job opportunities for individuals with disabilities in a supportive and integrated work environment at several federal properties.
  • Business Solutions – Meets the needs of local employers by connecting them with quality applicants and providing ongoing support.
  • Employment Ready – Provides free one-on-one job readiness services to anyone who is unemployed or under-employed in the Omaha metro, Council Bluffs, or Fremont areas.
  • Hire Nebraska – Puts Nebraskans to work as they transition from public assistance to life-changing employment.
  • Work Experience – Offers high school special education students, who are nearing completion of high school education, an opportunity to gain exposure to a work situation in a supportive environment.
  • Volunteer & Community Service –  We thrive on the support of our community and those who volunteer their time. Providing the opportunity to complete approved court ordered hours of service is another way we support those in our community.
  • YouthBuild Omaha – A national education, leadership, development, and occupational skill-training program for disadvantaged young adults. YouthBuild is a proud partner of the American Job Center Network.

In 2017, Goodwill Omaha served 1,797 people through our mission programs. Hosting a total of 35 hiring events—230 jobs were found by Goodwill participants. The average hourly wage of Goodwill participants placed in jobs was $12.16. Through our programs and services, we are able to continue our mission of changing lives through education, training, and work. We provide free tours to the public for a behind the scenes look at our organization, by appointment. For contact information and more details about our programs and services, click here.

Involved in Goodwill

Being involved in our community is a key component to what makes our mission programs and services so impactful. You can become involved with Goodwill Omaha through the various events we host and participate in. To find out more about our upcoming events, click here. You can also support our life-changing mission by shopping and donating at your local Goodwill retail location. When you purchase items from Goodwill, those dollars go directly to the support needs of our programs and services. Click here to view a listing of our locations.


JoshMeyer-MarketingSpecialist

Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist