Local Goodwill® CEO Innovates Mission Services to Serve Community

Goodwill Industries International Honors Karla Grazier with Mission Advancement Award
Colorado Springs, CO — Karla Grazier, president and CEO of Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado, is being honored by Goodwill Industries International for developing a program that teaches individuals with developmental disabilities essential life skills by integrating an evidence-based curriculum with a state-of-the-art teaching town and engagement in the local community. Grazier will receive the Robert E. and Charlotte Watkins Award for Excellence in Mission Advancement at Goodwill’s annual Delegate Assembly in June.
Grazier and her commissioned staff consulted with the human disabilities and development program at University of Illinois at Chicago to explore ideas that could meet the needs of individuals with intellectual and physical challenges in Discover Goodwill’s primary service arena. The result of that research is a five-page blueprint for a new program model. The blueprint, along with input from key stakeholders and appointed focus groups, inspired Grazier and her team to create the first-of-its-kind Possibilities program in 2012.
The real-world town square setting of the Possibilities program offers a fully functional but safe environment where participants increase their independence by honing life skills in financial principles, health and wellness, the Arts, core academics, social engagement and community integration.
“I have worked alongside Grazier for years and am routinely impressed by her vast knowledge, her personal fortitude and her visionary leadership — especially pertaining to advocacy for and advancement of Goodwill’s life-changing mission that impacts thousands of individuals in our community,” said Peter Maiurro, former board chair of Discover Goodwill. “Karla’s unyielding determination and ultimate success took Possibilities from concept to reality.”
Grazier has shared the program and its success with other Goodwill organizations. The program was recently adopted by Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette in Portland, OR. More Goodwill organizations are considering the model.
“Karla’s state-of-the-art teaching town is helping people with disabilities learn important life skills they will use throughout their lives,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Her innovative leadership embodies the spirit of the Robert E. and Charlotte Watkins Award for Mission Advancement.”
The Robert E. and Charlotte Watkins Award for Mission Advancement honors a Goodwill leader (CEO, staff or volunteer) who has made an innovative contribution (service or process) to the advancement of the Goodwill mission.
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 164 autonomous, community-based organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of America’s top 20 most inspiring companies (Forbes, 2014). Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,100 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Local Goodwill organizations also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding. Last year, Goodwill placed 312,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 35 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills. To learn more, visit goodwill.org.
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