ROCKVILLE, MD — Embodying a true spirit of societal advancement and international learning, Raimo Korjus is the recipient of the 2019 Gerald L. Clore International, presented by Goodwill Industries International. The award recognizes the efforts of a Goodwill executive to further the international mission of Goodwill and is named for the late Goodwill executive Gerald L. Clore, in honor of his diligent support and service to Goodwill’s international outreach.
Korjus has dedicated his career to helping people with challenges in Finnish society find employment and obtain opportunities for success. His professional experience spans across nonprofit, politics and other service-oriented fields, but his passion remains the same: he is working for social change.
Korjus’s commitment to the Goodwill mission began while he served in his previous role as the managing director of workforce development at SOTEK Foundation, where he operated two thrift stores. The stores were getting a plethora of donations but struggling to earn revenue. Korjus heard about Goodwill in a film, and traveled to New York to learn how he could implement change to improve his operations, while also creating employment placement and job training opportunities for people in his community. Korjus became deeply inspired with what he saw, and how his stores could help people who are unemployed and underemployed improve their lives and their families’ quality of life.
In 2013, Korjus reached out to Goodwill Industries International to pursue a licensed, autonomous local Goodwill organization to partner with the SOTEK Foundation, resulting in the formation of Goodwill Suomi (Finland). The organization now operates four stores, which earned $970,000 in total revenue last year. As a result of its partnership with Goodwill, SOTEK has experienced an 83 percent increase in job placements, and it increased its number of employees by 45 percent. Additionally, jobs range across many industries, allowing the organization to place people in jobs that match their interests and skill sets. The efforts of SOTEK and Goodwill Suomi have had a tremendous impact on the workforce and unemployment rate in Kotka, Finland.
Korjus is also a strong catalyst in bringing both North American and international Goodwill organizations together to connect and learn from each other. He coordinated a trip from Goodwill Suomi to Goodwill Industries of Korea, and regularly attends Goodwill conferences and events in the United States. These efforts have been beneficial for both Goodwill Suomi and North-American-based Goodwill organizations that have been able to gain different perspectives when working together.
“As Edgar Helms once said, Goodwill is too powerful an idea to remain in the borders of one country, and Raimo has pioneered the power of the Goodwill idea in Finland,” said Cindy Kim, director of global and marketing administration for Goodwill Industries International. “He passionately developed Goodwill in his country, much like Gerald Clore and so many others before him in the Goodwill social enterprise.”
Partnering with Goodwill, an international brand and network, has increased SOTEK’s visibility and credibility within the Finnish government, including with the deputy mayor. Korjus’ work with Goodwill Suomi and SOTEK has led to more financial and operational support from the government, allowing the organization to help more people earn skills and gain good jobs.
Goodwill Industries International presented Korjus with the award in February 2019 at its Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives.
Public Relations Specialist
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5293
ABOUT GOODWILL SUOMI (FINLAND)
SOTEK was established in 2004 and provides job training and placement services for people with disabilities and others with challenges to employment in Finland. In 2013, SOTEK visited the United States to see a Goodwill store for the first time. SOTEK was operating two thrift stores, and envisioned expanding the organization by improving its donated goods retail social enterprise to provide more workforce development and employment placement services for individuals in Finland.
After visiting a Goodwill store, SOTEK leaders decided to work with Goodwill to expand and grow the social enterprise with Goodwill’s strong brand and expertise in donated goods retail. SOTEK became a Goodwill partner organization in 2014 and launched Goodwill Suomi (Goodwill Finland). Since then, SOTEK has expanded its mission, increased operational employees by 45 percent, and connected 83 percent more people with jobs through partnerships with local employers.
ABOUT THE GERALD L. CLORE INTERNATIONAL AWARD
The Gerald L. Clore International Award recognizes the efforts of a Goodwill Industries® executive to further the international mission of Goodwill. It is named for the late Goodwill executive Gerald L. Clore, in honor of his diligent support and service to Goodwill’s international outreach. The eligibility for this award has been expanded to include executives from the international network.
ABOUT GOODWILL INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL
Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 161 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. GII is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the organization’s highest rating for charities. For the past three years, Goodwill was ranked in the top five brands that inspired consumers the most with its mission in the World Value Index, commissioned by the creative agency, enso. Goodwill has been on Forbes’ list of top 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years, the only nonprofit featured on that list.
Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that offer job placement and training services, and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,300 stores collectively and online at shopgoodwill.com®.
Goodwill helps people facing challenges to finding employment, including people with disabilities, veterans and military families, youth and young adults, older workers, people reintegrating into society, and others working to advance their careers. Local Goodwill organizations build revenues and expand employment opportunities by contracting with commercial, state, government and non-government organizations to provide a wide range of business services, including janitorial and grounds maintenance, flexible staffing, food service, manufacturing and contracts packaging, reverse logistics, document imaging and shredding, and laundry services.
Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed more than 288,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 38 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills, and more than two million people received in-person services.
Goodwill is both an icon and accessible neighbor: more than 82 percent of the U.S. population resides within 10 miles of a Goodwill location.
For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit goodwill.org, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl.