At F.C. Tucker we talk a lot about “paying our civic rent,” so for the month of November, we would like to express our gratitude to the many organizations and individuals who serve their communities tirelessly and make Indiana a better place to live and work. We obviously can’t highlight everyone, but we would like to salute these 30 organizations that are making a difference.
30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 14: Goodwill
Where do you go if you want to get rid of a few shirts you are not wearing or a plate set you never used? I am sure many of you will respond by saying “Goodwill.” Goodwill is well-known organization known for its stores filled with colorful clothing and quirky household items. In Central and Southern Indiana, Goodwill is certainly a household name.
However, Goodwill was not always an international powerhouse organization. The first official Goodwill was established in Boston in 1902. Reverend Edgar J. Helms created the organization with the philosophy, “that everyone has the potential to work, and work provides dignity and empowerment to all individuals.” Goodwill was established in Indiana in 1930 by Reverend Albert Spaulding in the basement of Indianapolis’ Fletcher Place Methodist Church. Since then, the Indianapolis branch has grown to be one of the largest of more than 160 Goodwills in North America, serving 39 Hoosier Counties. The Indiana branch is called the Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana.
As an organization, they are most well-known for their stores selling donated clothing and home-goods. People looking to donate simply drive to one of over 70 donation locations and are eligible to receive a tax deductions receipt. Those looking to shop, on the other hand, can find great deals on everything from clothing to furniture. Goodwill often offers deals such as 50% off the color-of-the-week and 99¢ color-of-the-week clothes on Sundays. Shoppers can also visit Goodwill’s three boutiques, Vintage Vogue, for modern and vintage classic clothing. If shoppers are more interested in bulk shopping, they can visit one of Goodwill’s four Outlet Stores for clothing and houseware items sold by the pound. If that was not enough, shoppers can also bid on donated cars at the Indiana Public Auto Auction or bid on a variety of household items at shopgoodwill.com. If this is all you thought Goodwill did, you are in for a surprise!
Beyond just clothing, Goodwill also is deeply engaged in providing quality education to the Indianapolis community. They provide education through three institutions: Indianapolis Met HS, the Excel Center, and the Children’s Learning Center. In 2004, Goodwill opened Indianapolis Metropolitan High School to address career and college readiness. To date, over 600 students have graduated and nearly 70% have earned a post-secondary credential or are still enrolled. Goodwill did not stop there. In 2010, Goodwill opened the Excel Center to provide adults with high school diplomas. Since the Excel Center’s inception, Goodwill has opened ten other locations. They also address early learning through the Children’s Learning Center located on the border of Indiana and Kentucky. The Center is, “the only child care provider in southern Indiana that holds the distinction of National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA).”
Goodwill also impacts mothers and children from low-income households through their Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). In this program, pregnant first-time mothers who qualify are paired with registered nurses for ongoing home visits. As a result of this program, 90% of NFP babies were born full term, 85% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, and 90% of babies were born at a healthy weight at or above 5.5 lbs. Since 2011, 2,104 families have been served.
Goodwill is also well-recognized as an excellent employer. The organization’s core principle and mission is to, “embrace the inherent value of every individual.” Given this principle, Goodwill has developed several programs to reach out to historically marginalized groups. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the 3,503 workers employed at Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, “face challenges such as disabilities, criminal histories, or limited education. For example, individuals with criminal backgrounds can go through the New Beginnings program, a 6-month program which, “focuses on acquiring and developing technical and soft skills.”
In short, Goodwill is clearly making a significant impact on Indianapolis. If you are interested in learning more about the organization, please visit their website at https://www.goodwillindy.org/.