When Rev. Dr. Edgar J. Helms founded Goodwill Industries in 1902, he couldn’t have envisioned our reliance on social media, nor the role it would play in educating the public about our mission. Yet, web sites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other new media have helped Goodwill take its social entrepreneurship role to new heights. Technology — once thought of as cold and impersonal — can actually make Goodwill’s mission more tangible and meaningful to you: our shoppers and donors, business and government partners.
The most dramatic example to date is the launch of the Donate Movement, around which people united for a common cause — protecting the environment through socially conscious donations. Goodwill’s groundbreaking Donation Impact Calculator demonstrates the value of donations to the planet and to the people Goodwill serves through critical job training and career services. Another example is the My Story blog. Through this blog and podcast, actual program participants tell their stories in their own words, conveying the difference Goodwill has made in their lives.
So while the Donation Impact Calculator can show you how much job training your old sweater or bicycle can fund or how many pounds of usable goods are diverted from landfills, My Story lets you see someone who has earned a job or overcome an obstacle that kept him or her from succeeding in the workplace. These people include Tomas, who left a gang and is exploring the idea of a college education with help from his mentor; Candace, a single mother who sought help of a Goodwill credit counselor to get out of debt and back to work; and Roger, once a homeless veteran and addict, who participated in Goodwill training and became certified in environmental janitorial services and now holds a full-time job he loves.
Here in Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, we have own own local inspiration like New Yorker Diane Cowles. After the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS) and the loss of a lung to cancer in 1999, Diane stayed determined to thrive at work with the help of GoodTemps, Goodwill of NY/NJ’s temporary staffing agency. Just a few months back, Diane won the William B. Joslin Award for Outstanding Performance on the job, given annually to one extraordinary person with a disability. At GoodwillNyNj, we believe in the power of work because we see how it changes lives every single day.
During the first week of May, which marks the 60th Anniversary of Goodwill Industries Week, agencies like Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. want to thank you again for the part you play in our history and in our future. Your continued support keeps alive a century-old vision that we all have a role to play in protecting the planet and transforming lives through the power of work.