Last week Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia dedicated our newly renovated, flagship Community Employment Center in Richmond. We’ve expanded our training and service capacity by about 30 percent and created a high-tech, high-touch space for our job seekers to learn new skills and prepare to get on and up their career ladders.
The many partners and supporters who joined us for this event inspired me to reflect on and how their work matters in supporting Goodwill’s mission of changing lives…helping people help themselves through the power of work.
In addition to empowering individuals and strengthening families, Goodwill helps communities prosper, and we are grateful to partner with local governments in this shared vision. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney gave remarks and cut the ribbon, and he underscored the importance of workforce development and affordable housing to our City’s economic vitality.
Goodwill President and CEO Charles Layman recognized former City Councilman Anthony Jones who was in office when we moved to the site in 1998. Mr. Jones worked tirelessly to secure federal dollars that helped improve the corridor, yet he credits Goodwill for being a catalyst of revitalization for the area.
TowneBank and SunTrust, our bankers and philanthropic supporters of the project, were there, as was Wells Fargo and CapitalOne, longtime philanthropic supporters and sources of dedicated volunteers. Our banks partner to keep Goodwill financially healthy – no small task with our $73M operating budget.
Other philanthropic supporters present included United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg and the Bob and Anna Lou Schaberg Fund at VNHC. Their support enables Goodwill to innovate, to serve more people, and to create greater impact.
Several employers also attended including Dominion Energy (also a philanthropic supporter) and Transitional Adult Residential Care. Employers are critical players in the workforce development chain by hiring job-ready candidates who are among the thousands of job seekers that Goodwill serves each year.
Goodwill’s Board chair Maria Rasmussen gave remarks and greeted our donors and partners. Our immediate past chair, Chris Rouzie, and several other Board and Advisory Board members joined us. The Board of Directors has championed the renovation and capacity-building project from a mission and operational standpoint, and many of them provided generous personal financial support to make it possible. Their work is especially important, as they set the strategic vision for Goodwill in an effort to meet the needs of the communities we serve.
Workforce development partners who joined us included Dr. Megan Healy, workforce advisor to the Governor; the Dept. of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, ChamberRVA, Communities in Schools, the Sacred Heart Center, Chesterfield County Social Services, Better Housing Coalition, Junior Achievement and others. We work with many of them to develop a workforce System of Care that ensures access to and delivery of services. Our job seekers represent a wide variety of populations, from individuals with disabilities and disadvantages to immigrants and youth who have limited access to opportunities, and there’s never a one-size-fits-all solution to serving them.
I met a man from Mercer, our employee benefits consultant, whose late uncle, Alex Kay, Jr., served as Board Chair and in other volunteer roles with Goodwill for more than 30 years.
Several of my team’s vendors were there, including 903 Creative and Worth Higgins who designed, fabricated and installed the signage and branding that makes the new space feel uplifting. Lewis Media Partners, the guiding force behind our digital advertising, and The Hodges Partnership, our communications counsel, also joined the celebration, as did RTS Labs, which redesigned and helps maintain our website.
It takes quite a network to propel Goodwill’s mission, and the dedication event served as a sobering reminder that we cannot do this work alone.
After the festivities died down, we received a special delivery from another vendor, Doug Sinclair, who has been our auctioneer for 30 years. Doug could not attend because he was running our Wednesday morning auction – a social enterprise that supports our mission – at the same time.
Work partnerships matter.
Vice President, Mission Advancement