There’s always something happening at Goodwill Industries, and the beginning of 2019 has certainly been a busy period for the community-focused nonprofit. In addition to welcoming new leadership and recognizing its top-performing executives, the organization has been hard at work promoting and expanding its various programs focused on helping people reach their full potential.
Keep reading for a closer look at all the latest stories from Goodwill.
Goodwill Welcomes a New CEO
In January 2019, Steven C. Preston officially stepped into the role of president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. Goodwill’s board of directors selected Preston in October 2018 after conducting a formal nationwide search. In beginning his tenure as the organization’s new leader, he took over from Lorna G. Utley, an experienced Goodwill executive who had served as interim president and CEO since August 2018.
Preston’s previous professional roles include leadership positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. On the national level, he served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as administrator of the Small Business Administration.
His experience in the private sector spans more than three decades. Preston has held executive leadership roles with several large companies, including Waste Management and First Data. He has also maintained volunteer board positions with various nonprofit groups.
As Goodwill’s new leader, Preston is leveraging his varied background and experience to advance the organization’s employment counseling, training, and support services. His main goals are expanding the resources of local Goodwill organizations and strengthening strategic partnerships with outside groups.
Top Executives Receive Awards at Goodwill Annual Meeting
Each year, Goodwill Industries honors the work of its top leaders at the Goodwill Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives. In 2019, several executives took home awards from the event, which was held February 18-20 in Miramar Beach, Florida.
The list of award-winning Goodwill executives in 2019 included those who received the J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award. This honor is reserved for those who have served Goodwill Industries for at least 25 years.
Michelle Belknap earned the Distinguished Career Award this year for her work at Easterseals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain, Inc. She joined the organization in 1988 and was appointed to serve as president and CEO in 2000. During her tenure as a Goodwill CEO, Belknap helped expand her organization’s mission programs, double the number of its retail stores, and grow its total assets by nearly sixfold.
Joseph Byrum of Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries also earned the J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award during the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives. A Goodwill leader for more than four decades, Byrum has launched and expanded a number of programs at his Cincinnati-based organization. The focus of his work has been on helping veterans and those with developmental disabilities and/or mental health conditions.
Other executives honored during the Goodwill Annual Meeting included Raimo Korjus and Jim Martin. They received awards for their work in the areas of international outreach and training of Goodwill personnel, respectively.
Goodwill Promotes Stores and Programs through Social Media
In an effort to promote the work of local Goodwill organizations, Goodwill Industries recently teamed up with social media influencers on a four-pronged public awareness campaign. The campaign was led by four influencers (Carmen Flores, Nicole Mazur, Jame Jackson, and Ashley McGetrick) in the areas of lifestyle and parenting, fashion, and home décor.
During four weeks in March and April 2019, the team of influencers reached out to their combined 70,000 followers to encourage donating and shopping at Goodwill. In addition to highlighting the personal benefits of supporting the organization, the campaign focused on how Goodwill donors and shoppers help those in need while promoting a sustainable lifestyle.
Goodwill’s Digital Career Accelerator Expands Nationwide
Since October 2017, Goodwill Industries has been working with its corporate partner Google.org on the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. This program helps US-based workers build digital skills. Since its launch, over 250,000 people have received digital skills training through the program. It has also connected nearly 30,000 people with employment and career-advancement opportunities.
The Digital Career Accelerator provides job seekers and mid-career professionals with personalized training that ranges from a basic introduction to computers to occupation-specific tech instruction. The training and other program activities are led by Google employees who volunteer their time as trainers and mentors.
Originally launched as a one-year initiative, the Accelerator grew into a three-year program thanks to a $10 million commitment from Google. Training offered through the Accelerator is currently available at 93 locations in 34 states. Google and Goodwill are preparing to expand the program into more locations nationwide.
In April 2019, the two organizations announced that the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator will be operating at more than 125 locations within the next year. More information about the program and other Goodwill initiatives is available at www.goodwill.org.
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