Goodwill Industries International Awards Minnesota Director, Nine Members of Congress

Recipients recognized at Annual Advocacy Event on U.S. Capitol Hill
Nine members of Congress, along with the director of public affairs at Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN) (St. Paul), were presented with awards at the Goodwill® annual advocacy event this week. The recipients were selected for their work and support toward advancing Goodwill’s mission.
Awardees were announced on Thursday, April 19, at Goodwill’s advocacy event in Washington, DC. During the event, nearly 115 Goodwill advocates held more than 250 meetings with lawmakers and staff to discuss funding for job training and workforce development programs; opportunities for local Goodwill organizations involved in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and expanding the charitable giving deduction.
Deanna Gulliford, director of public affairs at GESMN, received the Goodwill Industries International Advocacy Leader Award. This award recognizes a Goodwill advocate, which can include an employee, president and CEO, volunteer, board member, or association leader, who has led advocacy efforts and continually strives to build relationships with members of Congress.
Under Gulliford’s leadership, GESMN became extremely active in its state and federal public policy work to help move individuals and families from poverty to economic self-reliance. The focus of her work over the past year was on the future funding and service provision of the FATHER (Fostering Actions to Help Earnings and Responsibility) Project, a state-wide program with a strong reputation of assisting fathers to overcome challenges that prevent them from supporting their children economically and emotionally. When the program lost funding in 2015, Gulliford took the lead in creating and proposing a bill, alongside bipartisan authors. The project has received a sufficient budget for 2018 and 2019. Additionally, Gulliford conducts a host of legislative visits, such as Day on the Hill and Policy Perspective Forums.
“I cannot the count the number of programs and events that Deanna has built out and led to advocate for public policy and our communities,” said Sheila Olson, chief services and programs philanthropy officer at GESMN. “Without her efforts, we would be in a much different place as an organization. She is certainly deserving as the first recipient of this award from our home state, Minnesota!”
Six U.S. Senators and three members of the House of Representatives will receive the Goodwill Industries International Policymaker Leader Award. The award honors elected officials who support Goodwill’s public policy agenda.
Recipients include:

  • Michael Bennett (D-Colo) for his widespread efforts on job placement and training for people with challenges to finding employment
  • Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) for her efforts to fight the opioid epidemic in her home state
  • Andre Carson (D-Ind.) for his commitment to the AbilityOne program and providing employment to people with disadvantaging conditions
  • Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) for his support of Goodwill’s various mission-related programs
  • Angus King (I-Maine) for his thoughtful approach to lawmaking
  • Joseph Manchin (D-W.Va.) for his commitment to advocating for veterans, senior citizens and those struggling with addiction in his home state
  • Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) for his service toward education and workforce development
  • Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) for his longstanding advocacy to help support families with lower and middle incomes, veterans with disabilities and natives of his home state
  • Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.) for acting as a champion for people with disabilities

“Goodwill is extremely grateful to the award recipients for their commitment to their local organizations, their communities, and using their platforms to make a difference. Deanna Gulliford had done remarkable things for the people in Minnesota that are looking to improve their quality of life and gain self-sufficiency,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Additionally, it is extremely important to have the support of our local and national leaders in order to effectively expand the reach of our mission, and ultimately help more people.”
Since 1902, Goodwill has been helping people find jobs, build their financial stability, earn paychecks, and enhance their skills. This work has helped millions of people build their careers and experience the pride and sense of community that work brings.