Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc. has always been proud to serve its communities year-round through The Excel Center, youth programs, and more. Now, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, the company is looking forward to expanding on that sense of community even further on November 29 with its annual Giving Tuesday event.
While Thanksgiving is a day meant to unite others, connect family, and build camaraderie, these themes are oftentimes overshadowed by two other events that shortly follow: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Since these days are more focused on the individual, Giving Tuesday brings that focus back to those around us to help fully embrace the true meaning of the Thanksgiving season.
“Giving Tuesday is a day that takes that focus off of the self and puts it back into the community,” said Goodwill Development Manager Jim Cramer. “Nonprofits then have an incentive to reach out to those in the community, constituents, and partners to give back to the organizations that they support and want to see thrive.”
The donations Goodwill receives from Giving Tuesday greatly help support its core mission of lending a hand to those in need to help them reach their best potential. When the name Goodwill is mentioned, it’s normally the thrift stores that first come to mind. These stores were actually established to help support the numerous services and programs that allow Goodwill to invest in its communities.
“We really are more than a store,” said President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Michiana Debie Coble. “The store drives the mission, and we really have the privilege of working with the citizens in need in our community, giving them a hand up, not a handout.”
Coble stated that the company is a cradle-to-grave organization, meaning it works to help everyone through all stages of life, from newborns to the elderly and everyone in between.
“We are working with first-time moms while they are pregnant and through their first years of life,” Coble said. “We have our Kids Excel and our high school for adults, where we operate youth programs for at-risk youth and for adults who have barriers because of their disabilities. These programs can also be for returning citizens, those that have gotten involved in the gang world and want to get out of it, all the way up to older adults who want to go back to work or want to enroll in a certain program. This year, we had our oldest graduate from our Excel Center. She was 84 years old, and she got her high school diploma.”
Giving Tuesday has become a crucial part of these programs’ successes. Through this event, Goodwill is able to further develop relationships within the community, resulting in additional opportunities, resources, and monetary donations to help the programs thrive. Cramer has been working hard on both fronts, and through his efforts, this year’s Giving Tuesday is expected to shine like never before.
“I think one of the best things for us was bringing Jim on board,” Coble said. “His focus is so much more on reaching out and developing those relationships with the communities so they have a really good understanding of when they give to Goodwill, what all that means, and how their donation goes straight to programming. It doesn't have to go to overhead, so we don't need that support. I think this year, and moving forward, it’s going to have a greater emphasis for us.”
Cramer, in return, appreciates just how much people are wanting to invest in Goodwill to make the area around them a better place.
“Anytime that you can have a day that is nationally recognized to get back to an organization in the community that people love - it's just an extra benefit for us because it allows it to be an easier tool for us to utilize to get the word out about what Goodwill is doing in such a big way,” he said. “It’s a day where everyone's already focused on what we can be doing to give back to the community, so it gives us a launching pad to be able to speak to people in the community about all that we're doing and how they can help benefit us in that way as well.”
To learn more about Goodwill Industries of Michiana and how to get involved with Giving Tuesday, visit https://www.goodwill-ni.org/.