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A letter to our communities

Goodwill NCW has been serving 35 counties throughout Wisconsin since 1971, using donations and shopping purchases to fund job training and more for neighbors in our communities through our mission of Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment.

We exist to provide opportunity to people with disabilities and disadvantages in the communities we serve, and we know that the lasting impact of the COVID-19 crisis will disproportionately affect those who have limited resources, options and access. Our commitment is to stand by and with the people who need us most.

The impact of the temporary shutdown of our retail stores and training centers will be substantial, and community-based human service organizations like Goodwill will be essential to our response to this crisis and the challenges we face locally and statewide. We are bracing for an increase in individuals needing services and are pressing ahead to meet those needs.

Hold onto those donations

As we all stay home and do our part to keep our communities safe, please remember how important donations are to Goodwill. The average donation creates more than three hours of job training and opportunity. As people clean and organize homes, please remember we need donations – but not just yet. We will be back open soon and will appreciate that support as we anticipate the need to be even greater when we emerge from this temporary shutdown.

Mission at work

Our mission starts at home, and Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment is what we do every day in our retail stores and training centers. Because of the temporary closure of our 27 retail stores and training centers, donation drop-offs and Outlet Store, the opportunity to elevate people within the stores also is paused. But our mission is still at work. We currently are focusing on what we can do right now to help the people we serve by providing:

  • Cyber counseling to help consumers with creating a spending plan that matches household income, developing financial capabilities like paying bills on time and spending less through our Financial Information and Service Center program that provides financial and debt solutions.
  • Digital and social skills training as well as assisting with interview practice, application and resume completion, and job searches through our Employment and Training Program that supports people with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining employment in the community.
  • Emergency assistance through the distribution of gift cards to agency clients through our GoodNeighbor program that provides free merchandise to people in need.
  • Representative payee and bill-paying services for people of all ages who receive Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits or pensions and who find themselves unable to manage their finances through our Payment Partner program.
  • Victim-offender restorative conferencing, accountability workshops, mentoring, and restitution services through our Restorative Justice programs in Eau Claire, Barron and Marathon counties as a way to help adults and youth make healthier choices to become more productive and successful at home, in the workplace and at school.

Our Goodwill family

These are unprecedented times — a time of uncertainty and a new situation for us at Goodwill NCW as well. We’ve had to make heart-wrenching decisions in the short term to protect the long-term financial health and future sustainability of the organization.

As a mission-based nonprofit, we care about the well-being of our team members who help individuals in our community every day. We continue to care for our people during these challenging times. We are committed to the well-being of our team and continue to work hard to identify the options, resources and support our valued team members need.

Many people are depending on us to keep them healthy and safe while at the same time supporting them to sustain their families. It’s a responsibility we take seriously.

Part of our Goodwill family is continuing to work remotely around the state on building recovery plans, and we have team members with an unwavering commitment to the people we serve who are working on the front lines, providing on-site coaching to individuals who are working at businesses deemed essential. They have our profound respect and admiration.

Moving forward

At an appropriate time, we will resume our normal operations and work together to rebuild stronger communities. By improving lives, we improve communities. It’s at the very heart of what we do.

I firmly believe we will come out of this unprecedented time stronger than ever and that we only will get there together. We encourage others across north central Wisconsin to join us in celebrating the possible and thank you for your support as we continue to move forward to help those who need us the most. We have much work to do.

With gratitude,

Chris Hess
President/CEO
Goodwill NCW

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