Madison Goodwill Program Participant Receives Wisconsin Job Honor Award

David Brann, one of the many amazing people served by Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin received the Wisconsin Job Honor Award on November 29. The award celebrates Wisconsinites who have overcome barriers to employment, and the employers who hire them. Launched in Iowa in 2014, the awards are expanding nationally under the banner of America’s Job Honor Awards.

David (right) with his boss Chef Evan Dannells.

David has autism, and communication can be challenging for him. He was quiet when he first started working, but has since found his fit as pre-cook at Lucille, a Madison-based restaurant. David enjoys his job saying, “From the first day, I just started loving it more and more.”

“We’ve watched him come out of his shell, and that really felt good,” said executive chef Evan Dannells, “He has improved everyone’s life around here.” Evan partners with Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin to recruit workers with disabilities into the restaurant industry, which is short on talent. “This is actually just an alternative labor force,” said Evan, “I can’t stress enough that it isn’t a free ride. David’s an actual employee who has actual expectations, and he’s productive.”

The Wisconsin Job Honor Awards were presented during the Future Wisconsin Summit hosted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and sponsored by Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup. Several hundred Wisconsin business leaders assembled at Monona Terrace to witness the ceremony and watch biographical videos of the honoree efforts to win life-changing jobs. The video of David and Evan does a wonderful job of not only showcasing David’s achievements, but noting how Goodwill® works with employers to support a diverse and inclusive workforce. You can watch the video here.

Goodwill SCWI is a local nonprofit serving communities within a 14-county region. Each region is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

Tree Donation Benefits Goodwill SCWI and Customers

While well-known to thrifters for its wide selection of gently-used goods and signature value, the Madison Goodwill store at 4530 Verona Road will be featuring donations of another kind for a special one-day-only sale.

The owners of a Christmas tree farm in the Town of Hancock in Waushara County are donating a truckload of trees that will be sold on Saturday, December 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or while supplies last.

The donation also benefits customers since the donation allows Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) to sell the trees at a greatly reduced price in keeping with the value that has defined the nonprofit organization since it first began.

Tree farm owner Connie Bauer said she and her husband purchased the land to build a home for retirement.

“It’s 26 acres of vacant land with a Christmas tree plot of approximately 3000 trees,” said Bauer. “We thought of finding a wholesaler to purchase the Christmas trees and sell them in bulk,” she added. When that didn’t work out, the couple turned to Goodwill SCWI.

Goodwill, in turn is sending one of its semi-trucks to pick up the trees and bring them to Madison.

Bauer says she appreciates the work Goodwill does in the community through its mission services. “I also wanted to keep the donation in the area, so Goodwill SCWI was a good choice for us.”

Trees will sell for $10-$20. With a limited supply on the lot, they are expected to sell quickly. It’s another parallel to Goodwill’s standard of rapidly changing inventory.

“It’s a unique donation that allows us to have a unique sale,” said Goodwill SCWI President and CEO Vicki Holschuh.

But just as with regular retail sales, the proceeds fund services that provide career guidance, supported employment and residential services to people with disabilities, mental health concerns and other barriers to employment and independent living.

Goodwill SCWI is a local nonprofit serving communities within a 14-county region. Each region is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

Northsiders flock to Goodwill grand opening, community room

Goodwill Northside continues to enjoy meeting new neighbors following a spectacular grand opening Sept. 29. Hundreds waited in line to be among the first in the door of Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin’s (SCWI) newest retail store and donation center.

The wait was made more pleasant with refreshments from neighboring Willy St. Co-op North and performances by the Shabazz Fiddlers and the Sassy Steppers.

Lines snaked around the store for much of the day, but staff and customers exhibited patience and good humor, enjoying the celebratory vibe and the always-enticing hunt for new treasures.

On Oct. 13, Goodwill SCWI unveiled the store’s new community room. Invited guests, including Madison Chamber of Commerce representatives and neighborhood leaders, were treated to refreshments catered by Willy St. Co-op and a behind-the-scenes look at the donation center and production area.

Madison Alder Larry Palm assisted President and CEO Vicki Holschuh with the ribbon-cutting duties. Palm was the impetus behind inclusion of the community room at the new store, suggesting it as a pressing need in the neighborhood. At this writing, the room had already been reserved for four events, including a listening session with Palm and Alder Rebecca Kemble.

Reservations for the space may be made by contacting Lori Wirth at lwirth@goodwillscwi.org.

Holschuh also announced a partnership with Malcolm Shabazz City High School art students. Under the direction of art teacher Rachel Schramm, students will create artwork for the community room that will represent the cultural heritage of the neighborhood and the guiding principles of Goodwill SCWI.

 

 

Holiday Contest Partnership #30dollargoodwillchallenge

Goodwill SCWI is proud to partner with WISC-TV and local design team Elevate Events for a holiday shopping contest. Elevate Events appeared on the morning news to promote the #30dollargoodwillchallenge. The design team showcased how they took $30 and transformed purchases from Goodwill to decorate for the holidays. Shoppers are urged to do the same and enter their submissions on Goodwill’s Facebook or Instagram pages. Elevate Events and WISC-TV morning show host, Brittany Paris will select a winner and award them with a $100 Goodwill shopping spree. Check out the morning news segment!

See details here and enter to win!

“Miraculous” Find Returns Diamond Ring to Owner

Sharp eyes and a lot of luck returned a diamond ring to its owner today. The ring and a necklace were inadvertently donated to Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin’s (SCWI) Fitchburg store several weeks ago, mixed in with clothing.

The owner filed a Lost Donation Report on September 4. September is a busy month for donations, and the chances of locating the jewelry was slim. Nevertheless, Goodwill SCWI put all hands on deck to search for the valuables.

“Usually, two weeks after the fact, we don’t expect to recover missing items,” said Debbie Caraballo. Caraballo is the designated “jewelry lady” for shopgoodwillmadison.com, Goodwill SCWI’s online shopping site.

Caraballo examines the jewelry for markings and authenticity before pricing them for sale.

This morning, she spotted an unusual piece and checked it against the description of the lost ring. It was a match. As she read the lost donation report, she noted the mention of the necklace and remembered seeing a similar piece. That too was recovered.

The owner was immediately contacted and arrived a short while later to reclaim the items, shaken but ecstatic to have them back in her possession.

Retail stores and shopgoodwillmadison.com are economic drivers for the mission of Goodwill. The proceeds from the sale of gently-used donated goods funds career guidance, supported employment and residential services to people with disabilities, mental health concerns and other barriers to employment and independent living.

Goodwill SCWI is a local nonprofit. When someone donates to their local store, most times their donation gets resold in that location or within the Goodwill SCWI 14-county region. Each regional Goodwill is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

Goodwill Northside Grand Opening

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) celebrates the opening of a brand new retail store and donation center at 9:00 a.m. Friday, September 29. Located at 2901 North Sherman Avenue, the new development fills 22,000 square feet of space in the building that formerly housed a Kohl’s grocery store. This will be the tenth Goodwill Store in the 14-county region that Goodwill SCWI serves, bringing Goodwill’s signature combination of thrift, community partnership and new employment to the neighborhood.

The grand opening event will feature performances by the Northside’s Shabazz Fiddlers alumni, and the Sassy Steppers between 8:30 and 9:00. Early shoppers will be eligible for prize drawings and gift cards.

In assessing neighborhood needs, the decision was made to incorporate a community room at this location. The space accommodates up to 30 people and may be reserved for community meetings and activities.

While Goodwill is well-known to bargain hunters, each new Goodwill store and donation center also presents employment opportunities for the community. The new location will have a staff of 30‒35 people for everything from entry-level to professional management positions.

“Each of our retail stores is operated with the local community in mind,” said Goodwill SCWI president and CEO Vicki Holschuh. “So we believe our Northside location has a powerful part to play in the stated goals of the Northside Initiatives, particularly as they relate to stability in employment and community connection.”

Retail stores are the economic driver for the mission of Goodwill. The proceeds from the sale of gently-used donated goods funds career guidance, supported employment and residential services to people with disabilities, mental health concerns and other barriers to employment and independent living.

Goodwill SCWI is a local nonprofit. When someone donates to their local store, most times their donation gets resold in that location or within the Goodwill SCWI 14-county region. Each regional Goodwill is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

Shop Local

One more reason to Shop Local

Shopping and buying locally has taken hold as a valuable trend for small businesses and family farms. Most often, the reasons given highlight the well-documented economic benefits. But more shoppers are finding that there are intangible benefits as well.

Locally-based businesses help to create community, as the commitment to customer service deepens when proprietors and shoppers are actually neighbors.  That commitment is expanded even further when these local businesses employ community members who might otherwise not be working at all.

Take James, for example. James is strong and healthy, personable and eager to please. James also has cognitive disabilities that mean he is largely non-verbal, easily distracted and sometimes difficult to direct – all of which pose significant barriers to employment. James, however, has successfully held jobs cleaning and servicing area workout facilities for more than 10 years, improving the experience for customers.

Chassity’s positive work ethic inspires her employers and customers. She excels at three jobs through Goodwill SCWI’s Supported Employment program.

James’ and Chassity’s employers are just two of the many local businesses who demonstrate the commitment to their entire community by partnering with Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin to employ supported staff. Primarily funded through Goodwill’s resale stores, the Goodwill Supported Employment program connects individuals and employers, and then provides job coaches to visit or stay with the participant as needed to ensure their success on the job. The individuals are fully-integrated employees of the area business – only the job coaches are Goodwill employees.

Each participant is carefully interviewed and assessed before being partnered with a local employer. The employer’s regular training and supervision is supplemented by Goodwill staff — at no cost to the employer — with ongoing support and coaching from certified staff.

So yes, shopping local means supporting local business, minimizing food miles… But it also means celebrating the growing number of businesses in the greater Madison area that embrace the notion that community means everyone, and the belief that everyone can work.

Learn more about Goodwill SCWI’s supported employment program here.

Traveling South Central Wisconsin

Tips for a family-friendly & budget-friendly Wisconsin vacation

Whether you’re visiting the Wisconsin Dells, heading to a cottage up north, touring the State Capitol in Madison, or heading west to the Mississippi river bluffs, Wisconsin remains a popular destination for visitors and natives alike.

But packing for a family road trip presents a unique set of challenges. When traveling by camper or car, there’s no need to cram everything into a single carry-on bag, as you would when flying. But even when you feel like you’ve overpacked your vehicle to cover every contingency, it’s inevitable that there will be forgotten and surprise items needed along the way.

Caught off guard by Wisconsin’s sometimes unpredictable weather?  Didn’t count on the kids zipping through the games and activities you planned? A few of the most commonly forgotten vacation items for road warriors include:

  • Jackets
  • Extra bedding
  • Phone chargers
  • Umbrellas
  • Books for summer reading
  • Binders and containers for prescriptions, make-up, or children’s art supplies
  • Camping cookware

Instead of storming the local big box or paying inflated tourist prices, many of these items can be easily found at local thrift stores.

Thrifting on vacation can keep the family budget in check and often lead to fun discoveries. It’s also a way to sample the local culture. You’ll get a better feel for the communities you visit when you experience local styles through thrifting.

When selecting a thrift store, you can add power to your power shopping by seeking out non-profit enterprises whose retail outlets fund local services. Many can be found right along your path through South Central Wisconsin, convenient to well-traveled routes. Give yourself the gift of thrift at home and on vacation!

August Moving Days

A Guide to August Moving Days – Getting Out, Getting In, Giving Back

 

The growing density of housing in and around the UW campus is having an impact on one of the university’s longstanding traditions.

While Moving Days are technically about lease turnover and tenant relocation, it’s the movement of stuff that captures most of the attention.

But amidst the flurry of activity, there are some constants that can help you navigate the process more smoothly.

Here are some tips directly related to managing the abundance of abandoned goods:

  1. Remove any property you aren’t taking with you. Landlords sometimes include moving fees in leases which require tenants to pay for the movement and disposal of items left on the property. 

The proliferation of high-rise student housing has complicated the collection of items that used to be pushed to the curb. To counteract that, many residences have partnered with nonprofits who manage the overflow with strategically located bins and carts. The bins are generally marked to help tenants sort items they are discarding (e.g. books, household, clothing). The partnership has worked well to keep the surplus from overwhelming lobbies, hallways, and street curbs.

  1. Donations that do good.

The gently-used items you no longer need may be a happy discovery for thrifters. And by donating to a reputable nonprofit, you become part of changing lives for the better. Look for carts and bins that let you know your donations are being used to fund local community services. Plus, by giving to a recognized nonprofit, you can be assured that your donation is tax-deductible!

Recycle what you can, but remember that items you may have difficulty recycling on your own can often be donated to organizations that responsibly recycle. Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin has a computer recycling program that accepts working or non-working computer equipment. Clothing and other fabric items that can’t be sold are used to make products such as carpet pads. The remaining items are sold through a salvage program. The end result is thousands of pounds diverted from area landfills.

 

Goodwill Madison – Northside

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) is eagerly anticipating the opening of a new retail store and donation center on Madison’s Northside on September 29.

Renovations began earlier this year on 22,000 square feet of space in the building at 2901 N. Sherman Ave. This will be the tenth Goodwill Store in South Central Wisconsin and brings Goodwill’s signature combination of thrift, community partnership and new employment to the neighborhood.

As many as three dozen jobs will be created at the new location in the Northside TownCenter. Jobs at the new location will include management positions, receiving, sorting and pricing donated items, stocking the floor and working at the cash register. Both part time and full time positions are available.

Talent Acquisition Specialist Dan Zender heads up recruitment for Goodwill SCWI. Zender says Goodwill is committed to being an employer of choice, paying competitive wages, and offering the rewarding experience of supporting services that strengthen the community.
“Goodwill SCWI employees are part of an organization that positively impacts customers, participants, peers and the community,” said Zender. “Many employees speak about the family atmosphere and ability to connect with others who share a similar focus on community.”

In assessing neighborhood needs, the decision was made to incorporate a community room at this location. The space accommodates up to 30 people and may be reserved for community meetings and activities.

“Each of our retail stores is operated with the local community in mind,” said Goodwill SCWI president and CEO Vicki Holschuh. “So we believe our Northside location has a powerful part to play in the stated goals of the Northside Initiatives, particularly as they relate to stability in employment and community connection.”

“Our stores are the economic driver for the mission of Goodwill,” said Holschuh. “With these proceeds, we provide career guidance, supported employment and residential services to people with disabilities, mental health concerns and other barriers to employment and independent living.”

Goodwill SCWI is a local nonprofit. Most donations get resold locally or within the Goodwill SCWI 14-county region. Each region is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.