By Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Relations, Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill® Week has taken place the first full week of May since 1951. In years past, local Goodwill organizations around the United States and Canada would host career fairs, donation drives, tours of their facilities and services, and other community-wide events to commemorate the week. While it is understandably difficult to celebrate during this time of crisis, it’s important to highlight the contributions that Goodwill and other charitable nonprofits continue to make in their communities.
While most Goodwill organizations closed their stores over the past several weeks, the vast majority integrated or transitioned their critical mission services to virtual delivery, including online learning and virtual career fairs. Many Goodwills are providing online information and courses for their community members in areas such as job preparation skills, job search techniques, job leads and placements, and job-readiness skills, including résumé writing, interview skills building, dressing techniques and more.
For example, Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina (Greensboro) will soon be hosting its first-ever virtual job fair. Goodwill Industries of Kentucky (Louisville) has been conducting job coaching sessions virtually and, in addition, created a COVID-19 resources page on its website sharing information on a number of topics, including housing, food, employment, volunteering, financial assistance, and testing locations. Rappahannock Goodwill Industries (Fredericksburg, VA) is offering more than 20 virtual programs to job seekers including interviewing skills, online job searches, digital skills training, email account tutorials, and how to use word processing, basic accounting and other popular software programs. Goodwill of Northern New England (Portland, ME) has been hosting online financial planning sessions to help clients with banking, stimulus money and budgeting, in addition to mock interviews, job coaching and completing job applications over video conference.
While Goodwill has always been on the frontlines of helping people grow their skills, find new jobs and build their careers, the pandemic has caused many to form partnerships at the local level to respond to the crisis and help people get much-needed resources.
- Goodwill organizations in Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas are collecting personal protective equipment (PPE) to donate to area medical personnel and hospitals to help alleviate their short supplies.
- In Florida, Kansas, Maryland, and Missouri, Goodwill organizations are donating fabric to make masks for local medical personnel, as well as large t-shirts and scrubs for those facilities that are in short supply. In Nevada, the Goodwill organization is providing clothing donations to medical workers who cannot return home in the same clothes they wore during their shifts.
- In London, Ontario, the Goodwill organization has partnered with a chemical company to manufacture and bottle hand sanitizer to address the supply shortage. And the Goodwill in Michigan is using its manufacturing expertise to produce face shields for the medical community.
- Goodwill locations in Maine, Mississippi, and Missouri have offered their parking lots and donation centers to the state to conduct drive-thru COVID-19 testing.
- In Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, Goodwill organizations have partnered with local food banks and shelters to provide much-needed supplies and nourishment to those most affected by the health and economic crisis.
These are just a few examples of the work being conducted by the 157 local Goodwill organizations in the United States and Canada. Our shoppers, donors, program participants, community partners and employers all help Goodwill fulfill its mission. Because of your contributions, we can continue providing the services that help people learn the skills to earn employment and build brighter futures. With your support, people are starting or advancing careers in fields such as retail, financial services, information technology and health care.
Advocates play an extremely important role in our work as well. We need your voice to help educate lawmakers about the issues of concern to Goodwill and the communities we serve. Congress is working on the next COVID-19 package and we’re asking for a nonprofit track to provide #Relief4Charities. With a few clicks of a button, you can send a pre-written note to your Representative and Senators via GII’s Legislative Action Center. (Goodwill CEOs should click here to take action.) You can also help amplify our message by following the GII government relations team on Twitter, @GoodwillCapHill.
Your support helps us achieve our mission, not just during Goodwill Week — but every day of every week.