Last year, Goodwill of Central Arizona had a $1 billion economic impact, accepted 110 million pounds of donations and processed more than 8 million purchases in its 63 retail stores. Those numbers alone are impressive for any retail operation, but those figures don’t represent the driving force of the nearly 70-year-old organization.
There are however, 166,181 individual stories that each define Goodwill in their own way while all contributing to the organization’s singular story. Goodwill puts Arizonans to work, while assisting with virtually every step along the way. As a local nonprofit, 90 cents of every dollar goes to supporting this mission. And 166,181 is the number of Arizonans that have received career training and found jobs since Goodwill opened in Arizona in 1947.
“Goodwill of Central Arizona’s mission is to fight unemployment in Arizona,” said Kim Hall, director of community experience for Goodwill of Central Arizona. “Through the kindess and generosity of others, we are able to create a better future for all by helping those who desire self-sufficiency.”
Tyrone Coleman is one of Goodwill’s success stories. Unemployed, with a house on the verge of repossession and a depleted 401(k), Tyrone found that even though he was a college graduate, his skill set was outdated for the technical demands of today’s IT jobs.
Coleman was referred to one of Goodwill’s career centers where his skill set was evaluated and he was provided assistance and hands-on training to update his computer skills. His updated training qualified him for a position with Freescale Semiconductor. Goodwill was so impressed with his skills that the organization hired him as a part-time employee before elevating him to full-time status.
“Goodwill was able to keep my foundation and family strong,” Tyrone said of the experience.
Ultimately, Goodwill of Central Arizona turns donations into dollars that support human service programs that revitalize the local community, following the simple mantra: “Not charity, but a chance” from Goodwill founder Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister.
Goodwill provides those chances to community members through selling donations of clothing and household items, which are the “lifeblood” of the organization. And this organization does its job extremely well. In fact, if a person is seeking a job and considering using Goodwill’s services, they literally could not be in a better state to do so.
When compared to its counterparts nationally, Goodwill of Central Arizona is #1 in job placements, #3 in revenue produced by its retail operations and #5 in people served overall. That is especially impressive considering that Goodwill of Central Arizona is one of 165 independent Goodwill organizations throughout the United States. All Goodwill locations are members of Rockville, Maryland-based Goodwill Industries International. There are even 15 international Goodwill organizations.
Just in case the empirical evidence isn’t quite enough to demonstrate that Goodwill is so much more than just a place to find unbelievably low everyday prices on millions of clothing and household items, Goodwill also operates on the employer side of the equation. The organization actively seeks and maintains relationships with 600 employers and employment organizations. All anyone has to do is walk in to any one of Goodwill’s 21 career centers and ask for help.
“Our hope is to have great impact on individuals in finding employment, employers in finding great talent to full their positions, and the community as a whole,” Hall said. “Thank you to our donors and shoppers for helping us do this.”
One additional lesser-known slice of the Goodwill employment pie is its commercial maintenance business. Goodwill Commercial Maintenance provides top-to-bottom maintenance services to 1.4 million square feet of business space in central Arizona every day. The commercial maintenance team was honored in 2011 with the International TOBY (The Office Building of the Year) Award for excellence in operations in its care of the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse. The operation has consistently ranked as a top janitorial firm.
In all, Goodwill of Central Arizona is an employment organization that can help with just about every part of the employment process – even down to providing an entire, high-quality suit for $19.99 any day of the week. And every other Saturday, that suit – along with virtually everything else in the store (except new products and seasonal items) is half price!
“Items purchased at Goodwill help support our mission services. When you shop at Goodwill, you help people in our community get the job preparation they need to support themselves and their families,” Hall said. “Thank you for your goodwill.”
Written by Josh Coddington, marketing and communications manager, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.