Reflecting on 2023: A Year of Mission Growth

    [fa icon="calendar"] Jan 26, 2024 1:32:26 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff

    Jenny Kakasuleff


    Last year was a big year for Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana as we educated, employed and served more individuals than ever before. Since launching our new Strategic Plan two years ago, we’ve made significant progress on our objectives and goals.


    Social Enterprise 

    In terms of our first Strategic Plan objective – growing viable businesses that provide the funding needed to sustain and build on current and future initiatives, while continuing to execute on the mission – we have made considerable strides. 

    For example, last year, our Goodwill was selected by Goodwill Industries International to bring mission services to the territory of Puerto Rico. Goodwill’s evidence-based mission programs address many of the same barriers faced by individuals in Puerto Rico. Planning for this development is proceeding in earnest, with the site of our first retail store already selected. 

    In addition, we recently opened two new retail stores – in Winchester and Westfield – and added Jay County to our territory, allowing us to bring mission services to a county that currently has no Goodwill presence.

    Collectively, our efforts led to a third straight record-breaking year in terms of revenue, which means it was also a record-breaking year in terms of the individuals we educated, employed and served: nearly 8,000 students enrolled at our schools last year; nearly 9,000 employees and students worked with one of Goodwill’s life and career coaches; and 5,000 Hoosiers were employed across central and southern Indiana – nearly two-thirds of whom reported a barrier to employment, like a disability, criminal history, or limited education. Tens-of-thousands of individuals are served each day through our stores, schools and mission programs.



    Generational Impact

    Another objective driving Goodwill’s Strategic Plan is fostering an environment of support and learning that results in skills attainment and knowledge. Last year, we opened The Excel Center® on Indy’s southeast side, growing our adult high school network to 41 schools across nine states plus the District of Columbia. Three Indianapolis Excel Centers received the “Enduring Excellence” distinction from the Office of Education Innovation and 15-year charter renewals. This is the first time this distinction has been awarded, illustrating that The Excel Center model is making a real impact in our communities. 

    We proudly celebrated Katie Reigelsperger, a graduate of The Excel Center, who was recognized in 2023 as Goodwill Industries International’s Graduate of the Year – an award that is open to more than 150 independent Goodwills across North America. We also launched GoodwillNext, which connects individuals of any age who have a high school diploma with opportunities to earn an industry-recognized job certification at no cost, putting them on a path to a fulfilling career.

    In addition, our continued rollout of Goodwill Nurse-Family Partnership® from 35-61 counties continues apace, allowing our nurses to serve more families than ever before – more than 2,000 in 2023 alone.




    Engaging community partners has been another focus of Goodwill’s Strategic Plan. Beginning last year, we partnered with Per Scholas, a technical training program for students who traditionally lack access to these in-demand skills. Not only is the program free, but it also covers the cost for various IT certification tests. Importantly, the program serves students with no prior experience in IT and connects them with a fulfilling career, like J’Shon Zeigler, who, in a matter of months, transitioned from a retail job to a position on Goodwill’s IT support team. 

    Through generous support from our donors, the Goodwill Foundation of Central & Southern Indiana has also been busy empowering our communities. Donor support was demonstrated through the highest Annual Fund donations to date, a record number of attendees at the second annual UNBOXED event, and impactful grant support. All of this means even more opportunities for the people we employ, educate, and serve, like Lacee McCorkle



    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

    In an effort to create a culture and workplace of acceptance and belonging that reflects the change we want to see in our communities, Goodwill’s Strategic Plan details several DEI-driven initiatives. First and foremost, we intentionally create opportunities for our co-workers to have a voice and an active role in what equity looks like at Goodwill. This includes interactive activities like town halls and surveys as well as a DEI task force that is responsible for coordinating activities.

    This work is being executed at both the departmental and organizational levels. For example, in addition to actively working to remove bias from our hiring practices, as well as ensuring that our candidate pool is filled with diverse candidates, the Human Resources team deployed Unconscious Bias training for employees to learn how to be more aware of the biases we all carry with us and how to identify them. The DEI task force also hosted Chris Singleton, a former baseball player and inspirational speaker, who came to Indianapolis to speak to Goodwill’s employees about resilience, unity and race in America. 


    DEI speaker

    Outside of Goodwill, we developed partnerships with organizations like 100 Black Men of Indianapolis to provide mentorship to our students and Per Scholas, as detailed above. We’re also actively seeking more diverse vendors for our business needs. 



    At Goodwill, people are the essence of our mission, and that includes the people we directly employ. It’s our goal to help each person identify the path that is going to propel them into the life they envision for themselves and support them along the way. First, we focus on stabilization, which is ensuring an individual’s basic needs are met; then we can move on to professional development. 

    Our Strategic Plan addresses both basic and advanced needs in a number of ways: comprehensive and affordable health care, a retirement match up to 6%, life and disability insurance, generous PTO and much more. 

    We learned through surveys and direct employee feedback that mental health services were a need, so in 2023, we added TAVA Health to our benefits package. This benefit provides all Goodwill employees, their spouse and dependents with 15 free sessions each year with a qualified mental health counselor of their choosing – regardless of whether or not they are part of Goodwill’s health care plan. More than 400 employees have taken advantage of this benefit so far. 

    We’re proud of the progress that has been achieved on Goodwill’s Strategic Plan, but new additions to the roadmap necessitate an extension to the timeline, which was recently increased by 18 months through June 2026, ensuring this important work will continue. We’re excited for 2024, which includes new store openings, school openings and more!



    None of this would be possible without people like you who shop and donate to Goodwill, so THANK YOU!

    Make a donation today and change more lives in your community.


    Topics: Community Partners, Employment, Nurse-Family Partnership, The Excel Center, Education, Foundation, Retail, mental health, Multi-gen impact, Strategic Plan, Goodwill Education, DEI

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