Late Goodwill® President and CEO Honored by Goodwill Industries International

2018 Watkins Award for Mission Advancement Posthumously Awarded to Jane P. Seckinger
Columbus, Ga. – Goodwill Industries International is honored to announce that the posthumous recipient of its 2018 Watkins Award for Mission Advancement is the late President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers (GoodwillSR), Jane Prince Nichols Seckinger.
Seckinger led GoodwillSR for 18 years, during which time she fulfilled her duties as President and CEO by setting a working culture of service and mission advancement, leadership, financial stability, and growth.
She was passionate about creating programs to offer better job opportunities for the people Goodwill serves, especially those caught in the cycle of generational poverty. Within GoodwillSR’s 50-county territory, 22.5 percent of the population is in poverty and 18.2 percent did not graduate from high school. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a person with a GED or high school diploma will earn $7,658 more annually than a non-high school graduate.
Seckinger never stopped identifying this as a problem, and eventually launched the GED Connect program, where participants could take the GED exam for free with the help of GoodwillSR. To fund the program, team members used the “Round Up. Change Lives.” initiative, which gave team members and shoppers the opportunity to be directly involved in a mission program that was affecting so many people.
“You almost feel like less of a person when you haven’t finished high school. But I knew I was more than that…. I knew I needed my GED for a better future, a better job and to go to college,” said Dallas Velky, a GED Connect program participant. He became one of the first awardees of a scholarship, and passed every test on the first try.
Velky’s story is one of many GED Connect program participants, and Seckinger always hoped that the stories wouldn’t end there. Enrolling in college, getting a better job, and continuing to improve quality of life for all people in her region was her goal.
In 2017, 60 students were enrolled in GED Connect, with 40 scholarships awarded. To date, more than $160,000 has been raised for the program through Round Up. Change Lives. GED Connect expanded partnerships to eight communities across Georgia and Alabama, and enrollment continues to grow.
“Our mission is all about eradicating poverty and creating a vibrant community for the entire state of Georgia and the areas of Alabama that we can influence. We’re passionate about helping people to become everything they can be,” Seckinger once said.
Under Seckinger’s direction, GoodwillSR grew from $3.8 million in gross revenue and placing 19 people into employment to $29 million in gross revenue and serving 26,689 people and making 3,178 job connections in 2017. GoodwillSR also became an employer of choice, growing from 275 team members to over 600. Today, the organization serves a 50-county territory across west Georgia and east Alabama, with 12 retail stores, nine career centers, four education and training centers and 21 attended donation centers.
“Jane’s leadership skills are unmatched. Her business background combined with a true passion for our mission made her an exceptionally productive employee, and a gem at Goodwill Industries of Southern Rivers,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “The GED Connect program alone made such a big impact in quality of life in the community that Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers served. Jane always wanted to do more, serve more, and keep growing. I am confident that her strong legacy will continue at Goodwill.”
Seckinger became invested in the Goodwill mission, vision and values ten years prior to becoming a CEO while serving on the GoodwillSR Board of Directors. She later served on the Goodwill Industries International Board of Directors as an officer and on several committees, including Strategic Issues/Planning, Financial Wellness, and Impact Taskforce.
She had a heart for the Goodwill mission and for the people Goodwill serves. She passed away in August 2017 after battling cancer.
The Goodwill Industries International Watkins Awards for Mission Advancement recognizes a Goodwill leader (CEO, staff or volunteer) who has made a significant contribution (program, service, process or innovation) to the advancement of the Goodwill mission. The contribution may involve client career services or a related field and should have a lasting effect on the ability of one or more Goodwill organizations to serve persons with disabilities or other barriers to employment.
CONTACT:
Tyrone McCoy
Communications Specialist
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, Inc.
Phone: (706) 256-1846
Tmccoy@gwisr.org
Savanna Mickens
Public Relations Specialist
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5293
Savanna.Mickens@goodwill.org

ABOUT GOODWILL INDUSTRIES OF THE SOUTHERN RIVERS, INC.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers Inc. (GoodwillSR) is one of 162 independent, community-based Goodwill nonprofits across the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., GoodwillSR serves 50 counties in west Georgia and east Alabama with free services such as job coaching, money management and skills classes to facilitate job placement and advancement. These programs are made possible through the donation of gently used clothing and household goods that are sold at Goodwill Retail Stores in Georgia and Alabama.
ABOUT GOODWILL INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL
Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 162 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 12 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. GII was also ranked by enso as the #1 brand doing the most good in the world for two consecutive years, and was the only nonprofit brand rated in Forbes’ 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years. Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that create job training programs, employment placement and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,200 stores collectively and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Local Goodwill organizations build revenues and create jobs by contracting with commercial, state, government and non-government organizations to provide a wide range of business services, including manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, packaging, assembly, food preparation, document management, groundskeeping and  administrative. 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 1.7 million people received in person services. To learn more, visit goodwill.org.