Goodwill’s Bold Vision to Change Poverty and Dependence in our Region
Goodwill Opportunity Campus to serve as a catalyst for change in the workforce development industry in the Charlotte-metro area.
There has been an increase in poverty levels in our region in recent years. In fact, there are close to 160,000 Mecklenburg residents living in poverty and more than 300,000 in our region living below the poverty line. In addition, according to a Harvard study, it will be extremely hard for those in our state to move out of poverty. Today, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, a leader in the workforce development industry for the region, announced its bold vision to change the trajectory of poverty and dependence in the area during a Growing Opportunity Celebration.
The celebration included the organization’s public announcement of their vision and the capital campaign to assist with building a new 160,000 square foot campus on 18-acres of land located off of Wilkinson Boulevard. This facility, the Goodwill Opportunity Campus (GOC), will provide a comprehensive collection of resources and opportunities for job training, job placement and job creation for individuals facing multiple barriers to employment. Construction will start in the beginning of 2015 with occupancy in the new building anticipated to occur in 2016.
Making the Goodwill Opportunity Campus a reality will require an investment of $20 million. Goodwill has committed $12 million of its own funds and has embarked on a capital campaign to raise $8 million from the community. In the quiet phase of the campaign, which began at the end of last year, $4.5 million has been raised including a $1.2 million grant challenge from the Leon Levine Foundation and a $500,000 investment from Bank of America, which is the largest corporate donor to date.
“Bank of America and Goodwill have shared a common mission of advancing Charlotte’s workforce and ultimately our local economy,” said Charles Bowman, Charlotte and North Carolina president, Bank of America. “Goodwill has a proven track record of providing career, educational, and critical services for our region. We’re proud to support our longtime partner’s campaign as the Campus will benefit thousands of individuals each year facing barriers to employment opportunities.”
“The Goodwill Opportunity Campus is a unique approach to address the issues of poverty and dependence in our community,” said president & CEO, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont Michael Elder. “Through our continued work in the community we know that it takes more than providing disadvantaged job seekers with job skills and training, we have to also provide them with services to help overcome the barriers they face that keep them in the cycle of un and underemployment.”
The Goodwill Opportunity Campus will provide a central location for coordinated services. Through the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, Goodwill’s strategic partners will be able to meet clients’ basic needs and they will be able to expand the organization’s job resource center and offer increased access to career coaching. The facility will also help Goodwill to expand its services to provide long-term support for clients to help them continue to develop so they can earn a family-sustaining wage.
“We project that in the first full year of operation, the Goodwill Opportunity Campus will serve more than 10,400 individuals with multiple barriers to employment,” said Elder. “This number represents an increase of 23% from the current number served at their career development center on Freedom Drive.”
“The Leon Levine Foundation and Goodwill share the same values and we are proud supporters of Goodwill’s vision,” said Tom Lawrence, executive director of the Leon Levine Foundation. “The Leon Levine Foundation seeks to create permanent, measurable, life-changing impact and we support Goodwill because of the organization’s highly effective leadership, track record of success and a focus on sustainability. The vision Goodwill has to expand its education and training, provide healthcare services and human services to job seekers in one location will make a positive impact on our region.”
Goodwill is inviting the public to contribute the remaining dollars needed to achieve the $8 million campaign goal. This is the first time in more than 30 years Goodwill has asked for public support on a capital project. To assist in raising the remaining funds, the Leon Levine Foundation has pledged to match every dollar donated from April 2014 to April 2015 up to $1.2 million. Individuals can visit www.goodwillopportunitycampus.org to learn more and to donate.
Melinda Wilshire | PR & Social Media Manager | Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont | Phone: 704.916.1616 | E-Mail: email@example.com