Photo of MacKenzie Scott, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
We made it to the last month of 2020. While it was often a challenging, difficult year for millions of Hoosiers and Americans, there was also an ongoing, palpable spirit of gratitude and generosity coursing through our communities that should not be overlooked.
All over the world this year, we heard stories about people helping others — whether they knew each other or not. Random acts of kindness and the “pay it forward” movement seem to have regained popularity amid a politically-charged year filled with social change and wrapped in a deadly pandemic. Helping each other through difficult times is how we will continue to move forward and thrive in the years ahead.
Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is no stranger to helping others. Its mission is to change lives every day by empowering people to increase their independence and reach their potential through education, health and employment. In 2020, Goodwill® continued serving central and southern Indiana communities in a multitude of ways, including employing more than 4,000 individuals in 39 counties — nearly two-thirds of whom face challenges to finding employment due to lack of education, being impacted by the criminal justice system or a disability.
“At Goodwill, we believe everybody deserves an opportunity to thrive,” said Kent A. Kramer, president and CEO of Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. “The sobering impact that 2020 has had on Hoosiers motivates us even more to accelerate our mission and address growing workforce needs through our proven education, health and employment programs.”
With the help of donors and shoppers in 2020, Goodwill has continued to close the skills gap and eliminate the associated challenges created by systemic inequities. The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, is just one example of how the organization responds to people’s most pressing needs by providing the opportunity to earn an Indiana Core 40 high school diploma, industry-recognized certifications and college credits at no cost.
“Goodwill has the unique footprint, collective know-how and local relationships to bridge the opportunity gap experienced by so many individuals and families,” said Kramer. “Thanks to the generosity of Hoosiers who donate and shop at Goodwill, during this pandemic we have been able to continue helping those most vulnerable in our communities.”
This week, MacKenzie Scott announced that she invested more than $4 billion dollars into 384 nonprofits and organizations who reach similar populations to Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s employees, program participants and students. Beneficiaries also included Goodwill Industries International and 46 local, nonprofit organizations across the U.S. Scott's donations come at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has left more than 10 million Americans unemployed, with job losses particularly affecting women and people of color, deepening poverty and social inequality across the country - populations that Goodwill serves.
“A rising tide will lift all boats. The donations to the Goodwill network will help community members get the skills and supports they need to find meaningful and sustainable career paths.While we were not a beneficiary, we are grateful for the recognition for the need for Goodwill skills training to equip job seekers, especially those with low educational attainment and low wage workers, so they can be marketable in today’s labor market,” said Kramer. “Stories like MacKenzie’s are inspiring, and we hope her generosity inspires others to consider making similar gestures to not only Goodwill, but also to any organization directly addressing the challenges that 2020 has brought into focus.”
Contributions from advocates, supporters and partners help to fuel our mission at Goodwill and make measurable impact in the lives of Hoosiers. To make a financial gift to Goodwill, please visit goodwillindy.org/donatenow.