North Carolina Goodwill® Leader Recognized for Innovation

Dennis McLain Receives Watkins Award for Mission Advancement

DURHAM, NC — Goodwill Industries International has named Dennis McLain as the recipient of its 2019 Watkins Award for Mission Advancement. McLain is president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina (GIENC) and the Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF).

McLain and GIENC spearheaded development of the GCF Global Learning Initiative in 1992.® provides free computer, adult literacy and life skills training to anyone seeking to grow their knowledge and improve their qualifications. The online learning portal serves the people of eastern North Carolina, and has expanded to 78 other local Goodwills in North America, and many other organizations around the globe.

Last year, the program served more than 24 million people through lessons, videos and apps in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Specific topics include English, basic math, technology, financial literacy and life skills in areas like nutrition, transportation and safety.

“This innovative service is changing the game for millions of people trying to build better lives for themselves and their families,” said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Dennis has demonstrated the vision, leadership and commitment to create and expand a unique model of service that brings learning and digital literacy to people around the globe.”

When McLain came to GIENC in 1982, the organization was struggling financially and served only a small portion of the state. Today there are more than 40 employment centers throughout the region and the operation is expanding.

“Anyone who knows Dennis knows that he has never met an obstacle he cannot surmount, go around or simply push through. He is tenacious to say the least,” said John Stump, board chair of Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina. “Many of the people we serve face serious obstacles to employment, and they have an advocate and a friend in Dennis McLain.”

The Watkins Award is presented annually to a Goodwill leader — CEO, staff or volunteer — who has made an innovative contribution to the advancement of the organization’s mission.


Christopher Hash
Vice President
Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina
Phone: (919) 941-9600
[email protected]

Malini Wilkes
Public Relations & Multimedia Manager
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5523
[email protected]

The Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF®) supports programs and services for people regionally, nationally and internationally. GCF® does this by providing $33.5 million in grants to Goodwill Industries® of Eastern North Carolina (GIENC®) and tax exempt organizations in eastern North Carolina and Non-Government Agencies (NGOs) throughout the world. In addition, GCF® provides facilities for employment, internet sites for education and life enrichment opportunities.

The programs supported by GCF® continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the people we serve. We fund the construction of facilities and programs to assist people with job opportunities, training and life skill preparation. We provide resources to GIENC® and other organizations that enable them to fund programs, facilities, training and life skill opportunities for people who desire a better life.

GCF served over 24,191,879 million people last year through®,®,™, GCF Family Support Services ®, GCF Accounting Services, and  GCF Volunteer & Farm Services.

Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit comprised of a network of 159 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. 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®.

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 33 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, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl.