Eighteen Goodwill® Colleagues Nominate Montana CEO For Distinguished Career Award

ROCKVILLE, MD — During Michelle Belknap’s tenure as the president CEO of Easterseals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain, Inc. (Great Falls, MT), the organization, also known as ESGW, experienced tremendous growth in revenue, mission and retail services and geographic territory. For her efforts, Belknap received J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award from Goodwill Industries International in February 2019 at its Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives. The award recognizes a Goodwill CEO for outstanding career contributions and dedication to the advancement of the Goodwill Industries® enterprise over a span of at least 25 years, with at least 15 years as a CEO.

Belknap began her career with ESGW in 1988 as the vice president of operations and became the president and CEO in 2000. Over the past eighteen years, she has grown the organization’s mission programs to focus on five main categories: workforce development, behavioral health, children and transition, adult and community, and clinical and public health education. Under her leadership, programs have doubled in growth in more than 30 locations. From 2006 to 2017, ESGW served more than 27,500 men, women and children, including individuals who were formerly incarcerated, people who have immigrated to the United States, individuals with disabilities and more.

ESGW’s territory was made up of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and a county in Oregon when Belknap became the president and CEO. During her tenure, the organization added Utah to its territory, expanding the range of locations and services offered and allowing for growth of the social enterprise. From 2008 to 2018, ESGW more than doubled its number of retail stores, and it opened its first retail outlet store.

ESGW’s total assets have grown from $6.4 million in 2000 to $36.7 million in 2018, and total revenues have risen from $13.7 million to $60.2 million over the same time period. In addition to leading the organization to this exceptional financial growth, ESGW has no financial debt under Belknap’s leadership. The success in total organizational growth can be attributed to significant events and philosophical shifts driven by or fostered as a result of her leadership.

Belknap is held in high regard amongst senior-level colleagues at many Goodwill organizations. Eighteen CEOs of Goodwill organizations throughout the network nominated her for this award.

“Michelle deserves to be recognized for her outstanding career contributions and dedication to the advancement of the Goodwill movement,” colleagues stated. “Michelle truly embodies all that J.D. Robins stood for and has a long and successful track record of contributions.”

From 2011 to 2017, Belknap served as treasurer and chair of the finance committee on the Goodwill Industries International Board of Directors. She was also elected as chair of the Conference of Executives and, in that role, helped reposition the event to reflect the needs of fellow Goodwill leaders.

Chelle Fried
Community Relations Officer
Easterseals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain
(406) 771-3746
[email protected]

Savanna Mickens
Public Relations Specialist
Goodwill Industries International
(240) 333-5293
[email protected]

The J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award recognizes one CEO for outstanding career contributions and dedication to the advancement of the Goodwill Industries® enterprise over a span of at least 25 years, with at least 15 years as a CEO. The award was renamed in 1999 to honor the late J.D. Robins Jr. for his career-long impact and influence on Goodwill management and process improvement.


Easterseals-Goodwill changes people’s lives across its four-state region through job skills training, disability, health care and children’s services. Every day, ESGW creates opportunities for individuals with diverse needs and backgrounds to live as independently as possible.



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.