A large local nonprofit has hit the halfway point on a fundraising goal that will allow it to help thousands of Richmonders find work.
Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia is in the midst of a $3.5 million capital campaign for an expansion of its Richmond employment center on the Southside.
It recently hit the $1.7 million mark in the campaign, which was launched in 2014 and has been spurred along by a $300,000 challenge grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation and, most recently, a $250,000 donation from TowneBank in June.
The employment center is located within the organization’s 135,000-square-foot headquarters at 6301 Midlothian Turnpike, which it purchased after a 1997 capital campaign. The employment center currently takes up 16,000 square feet, and the renovation plans will increase that to 24,000 square feet, replacing space that is currently underutilized, CEO Charles Layman said.
“Goodwill is about providing employment and getting people into the workforce, and these funds are going to provide expansion and increased capacity (in the employment center),” Layman said.
Goodwill runs 32 retail stores in Central Virginia and Hampton Roads, selling donated clothing and other household items. The revenue from those stores funds its job training and career development programs at the employment centers. The programs include instruction on building resumes and helping participants get their GEDs.
“We find out what their needs are, what their plans are, and then really work with them on a plan to meet those needs,” Layman said. “That’s when we identify whether there are some skills gaps, educational gaps or other things that need to be addressed, and we begin to engage with the individual.”
In 2014, Goodwill served about 12,000 individuals in the Richmond area through its employment center. The expanded space and programing will give it capacity to serve an additional 8,500 people looking for work or job skills, which should translate to about 1,000 more trained Richmonders in the local workforce, Layman said.
Thomas Tullidge, a member of Goodwill’s advisory board, said there’s still plenty of demand for the organization’s services, despite the improving economy.
“Fortunately, we’re not in 2008 anymore, but there are still a lot of people looking for jobs, people who are unemployed or those who have given up the job search, so the opportunity to serve is still there, and the demand is still high,” he said.
Goodwill will hire seven or eight additional employees to work in the expanded Richmond employment center. The funds from the capital campaign will also be used to launch an employment center in Hampton.
Layman said the organization should secure enough funds by the fall to put together a timeline for the renovations and select a general contractor.
Other donations to the capital campaign have so far come from individuals that Layman declined to name. The nonprofit’s employees raised a significant amount for the cause, as did its board of directors and advisory board. It is currently accepting donations from the public.
“These employment services have a great impact on the economy, both directly and indirectly,” Tullidge said. “It gets people employed so they can have pride and be self-sufficient and gives the employers well-trained, productive workers.”
Goodwill is able to sustain its annual operation costs through its retail services, Tullidge said. Its most recently available financials show that in 2013 the organization had $51.6 million in revenue and $47.7 million in expenses, according to Guidestar.com.