Who We Are
|Easter Seals-Goodwill Newsroom||
This page is your source for Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountains news stories and media releases from across our four-state region of Montana, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming,
For all media inquires please contact:
MISSOULA GOODWILL TO RELOCATE
The Missoula Goodwill store announces its new home in the old Armory Building on South Reserve Street, across from Shopko.
At 28,000 square feet, the new building will consolidate the store’s retail space and processing warehouse. The current warehouse is separated from the store on North Avenue. Even after combining the two facilities, the new location will provide 5,000 square feet of added retail space.
Customers of the Missoula Goodwill are most excited to hear that the move will mean more parking for shoppers. “We have to circle the block over and over to find a spot here,” one Presidents' Day shopper told KECI. “So I think that will be an awesome benefit for that location.”
The store plans to make the move sometime in late summer. When it does, all merchandise in the old location will be liquidated, and the new location will be freshly stocked with more recent donations.
EASTER SEALS-GOODWILL TO OPEN SECOND SALT LAKE CITY GOODWILL STORE ON MARCH 14, 2013
Easter Seals-Goodwill invites the public to the Grand Opening of its second Utah Goodwill store on Thursday, March 14th at 6042 South State Street in Murray. There will be a ribbon cutting at 8:45 a.m. with doors opening at 9:00 a.m. The new location offers Salt Lake shoppers a new source for affordable, gently used clothing and brings 32 new full- and part-time jobs to Salt Lake City. The 23,600 square foot facility will have approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space with the remaining space used for processing and storing donations.
Adam Wooley, store manager, and his staff have been working feverishly since December, processing donated goods to fill the store’s shelves and racks. “We’re really looking forward to a successful Grand Opening.” Goodwill’s doors open to shoppers at 9 a.m. March 14th. The first 500 shoppers through the door will receive a free canvas shopping bag. All shoppers can enter to win an iPad Mini as well as Goodwill gift cards and other prizes on opening day.
“In this economy where people don’t have as much disposable income, Goodwill really is meeting some needs from a shopping perspective,” says store manager Adam Wooley. “More people are becoming Goodwill shoppers. It’s a smart thing to do, to recycle and look good at the same time.”
Perhaps most importantly, shoppers will be supporting Easter Seals-Goodwill’s mission in Utah: proceeds from Goodwill store sales help us start new programs and enhance our existing programs, such as our senior community service employment program, Provo early intervention program, pediatric therapy, and The P.L.A.Y. Project autism services for young children.
Donors may think they’re just cleaning out their closet, but by giving gently used items to Goodwill, you’re giving someone else a chance to change their life. Goodwill employees learn valuable skills like customer service, cashiering, truck driving, large equipment operation, time management, teamwork, and setting goals – skills that help them in their job at Goodwill and during their entire working career.
The store is located at 6042 South State Street in Murray. The hours will be Monday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, people can call the store directly at (801) 268-0404.
Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Inc. is a non-profit human services organization that serves over 25,500 people in more than 58 different programs in 50 locations across Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. Its staff of over 1,300 professionals is dedicated to creating solutions that change lives.
EASTER SEALS-GOODWILL LECTURE SERIES TO FOCUS ON CAREGIVERS
Feist said the series aims to meet a need in the area.“We hear about people not knowing where to look (for services),” Feist said. “We thought, ‘How can we get the word out about how to take care of your loved one and what services there are.’”
The series begins with talks given by Laura Walker, of Browning Kaleczyk Berry and Hoven, and Vicki Robinson, director of Benefis Peace Hospice. Walker will speak about powers of attorney, and Robinson will address end-of-life care.
That theme will continue into February, when Keith Tokerud, of Scott, Tokerud and McCarty, and Karen Bishop, of DA Davidson, discuss the legal and financial aspects of estate planning and wills. Feist explained the talks are geared both toward people planning their estates and end-of-life care as well as their caregivers and family members.
In March, rights of disabled people and rights for those receiving care will be discussed. Speakers for that session will be Karla Egan of Home and Community Based Services at the State of Montana and Bernie Franks-Ongoy from Disability Rights of Montana.
April and May will be a two-part lecture looking at opportunities available for caregivers.
“There are so many things out there we want people to know about,” Feist said, including alert systems, adult day programs, medical equipment rentals and nursing and home health options.
While Easter Seals-Goodwill offers home health and adult day options, among others things, Feist is quick to point out the programs are not meant to be sales pitches for her organization or any other. The goal is simply to educate people who need help finding resources. “We just want people to know what services are available,” she explained.
Feist invites people from outside Great Falls to come to the talks, too. Legal issues are the same throughout the state, and many agencies offer home health and other services to rural areas as well.
The lecture series will take a break during the summer and pick up in the fall with talks on nutrition, pharmaceuticals, distance care and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. Times and locations will be announced.
Feist hopes the series will mark a partnership of the many health care agencies in Great Falls. The need for more awareness of services for the elderly and people with disabilities is great, she said. “We all have or will have this person in our lives” (who needs care), she said.
In 1947, the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs in Helena incorporated the Montana chapter of the Society for Crippled Children and Adults. The organization offered services for people with cerebral palsy, speech therapy and audiology services.
"The annual revenue that (first) year was $18,000," said Michelle Belknap, president and CEO of Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Inc. "For $18,000 they did a lot."
Sixty-five years later, that small organization transformed into Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Inc. Last year the Great Falls-based organization saw nearly $50 million in annual revenues and served some 23,000 people. Easter Seals-Goodwill covers a four-state region offering services for children and adults with disabilities and other disadvantages, such as supported employment, pediatric therapy, clinical services and a wide range of other programs. The organization also operates Goodwill retail stores in Montana and Idaho and is soon to add a store in Utah. With most of the administration for the four-state region based in Great Falls, Easter Seals-Goodwill is the city's fifth largest employer, with about 380 employees, 122 of whom are the organization's clients. Belknap and long-time board member Pat Rice, who was named national volunteer of the year in 2009 for Easter Seals, recently discussed Easter Seals-Goodwill's history and future.
Question: Pat, how long have you served on Easter Seals-Goodwill's board?
Rice:But for one year, 22 years.
Q: How did you originally get started with the organization?
Rice:My late brother Mike was involved with Easter Seals-Goodwill for a number of years. He left the board, and I essentially succeeded him on the board. That was back in 1990.
Q: Michelle, how long have you been with Easter Seals-Goodwill?
Belknap: Twenty-three years
Q: How did you originally start there?
Belknap: When Sally Cerny, (former president and CEO of Easter Seals-Goodwill), was promoted to president, her position became available, concentrating on budget and financing. It was more what I wanted to do. I was a marketing officer at First Interstate Bank at the time, and a friend told me about the position so I applied. It's just been exciting and challenging ever since.
Q: Pat, what has kept you involved in Easter Seals-Goodwill for so long?
Rice:I really believe in the mission of Easter Seals. It's an organization that's dedicated to people, and in my volunteer work I like to be involved in organizations that serve people. The whole focus of Easter Seals-Goodwill is people.
Q: What do you both see as Easter Seals' role in the communities it serves?
Belknap: I think what we've tried to do is look at the needs that are out there and then look at what we can do to fill the needs within our mission, focusing on people with disabilities or disadvantaged conditions. Our mission is broad. We can serve children from the early stages of life, with our Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters program, all the way up to end of life in our hospice.
We don't want to go in and necessarily compete with another organization, but we want to go in and fill any gaps or add any additional services that we can. We look for needs and try to fill them.
Rice: I think that's very important to point out that Easter Seals-Goodwill serves a populous that is underserved in many cases. We try to find people who need assistance and fill that gap.
If there's another organization that can do the work, we will either not go into the area of activity or we'll withdraw if we are certain that the people who need services are adequately served. But there doesn't ever seem to be any shortage of people who need services.
I think that one big difference with Easter Seals-Goodwill is there's a huge gamut of services but a lot of them focus on work. Work's such an important part of everybody's lives. If we can get people into work, it makes a huge difference in the quality of their life.
Q: How have you seen Easter Seals-Goodwill change and evolve during your time with the organization?
Rice: I've seen many, many changes. The one constant that I've seen is the absolute dedication of the staff at Easter Seals-Goodwill to the mission. That is unchanged. The level of integrity is unchanged.
The big difference is the flexibility I see in providing services. We provide lots of different services to each person who receives our services. It's not just getting the person a job. It's finding the job that's right for them.
We have participants who have very severe disabilities and they can't work in an ordinary employment setting, so we provide them work to do. It's meaningful work. Even if it's just putting a piece of paper in a shredder and then you get a pay check, it's meaningful work. It's not play, although we do a lot of that too.
Belknap: With the organization growing and evolving, we've been able to stretch in areas because we've grown as an organization and have been able to serve different populations.
When I came we weren't serving the welfare work recipients and now we work with them to get jobs. We work with people coming out of the prison system. We didn't do that before.
We've had the ability to stretch and grow over the years. Flexibility, as Pat said, is a huge part of it.
We have 58 different programs and that's helped the diversity of the organization.
Growing our Goodwill side has helped with the financial stability of the organization.
Rice: One big change I've seen too over the last 20 years is the tremendous increase in the Goodwill operation.
People sometimes don't realize the scope of what Goodwill does. They think of it as retail, but really it's an employment-based operation, where the retail is there to support employment for people with disabilities and disadvantages. That's an aspect of Goodwill a lot of people don't understand. They just think it's a thrift shop.
When I started there were only three stores.
Belknap: The first store was in Missoula, and then we had one in Billings, and then Great Falls. We'll have 13 by June.
The revenue from Goodwill stores gives us dollars that are undesignated. It gives us money for wrap-around services... It does start up for new programs, it does capital expenses.
Donated dollars do the very same thing for us. Those are undesignated, usually, and they're very important to this organization because it gives us that flexibility to make those programs successful.
Q: Why does Easter Seals-Goodwill place such an emphasis on its own financial stability?
Belknap: When we start programs we are telling people these are the services that you are going to have, and we don't want to pull those away unless there's a reason we have to. It's very important when you start a program that people can rely on you and that they know that you'll be there for the future, and we try to do that.
Rice: Our participants are just too important for us to be cavalier about finances. It's critical that we be financially stable because we can't put our people at risk. That would be just plain irresponsible.
Q: Only 6.2 percent of the organization's expenses go to management. How does Easter Seals-Goodwill keep its management expenses so low and why is this important to the organization?
Belknap: It's important for a number of reasons. It gives us more money to use for programs. Ninety-three percent of our expenses go to program expenses.
It's important that we are able to do that so that if a funder or donor is going to give to our organization they know that it is going to fund programs, not management.
We do that through having the efficiency of almost all of (our management) located here in Great Falls. Our IT is here, most of our HR and accounting is all here. That way we don't duplicate it, so we don't have another IT person and another HR person in every outlying center.
We saw that efficiency start once we started to take over the other states. In 1988, our administration expenses were 14 percent. Now it's down to 6.2 and that's through adding economies of scale and being able to spread that over more people and more programs.
Rice: I have to point out that the management works really hard. They produce a tremendous amount of work. You couldn't, in many organizations, get by with twice the amount of staff we have. But our staff is smart and the people work really hard.
Q: What are the economic impacts of having clients living and working in the community as opposed to the old model where they were institutionalized?
Belknap: From the human aspect, it's so much better obviously. They are part of society and are able to come and live and work and play in our communities like we are.
From a financial perspective, us serving them in a day program or being out there getting a job, that's then contributing to what they want to do and what needs to be done in the community. It's a huge impact. Instead of them sitting in some place, not being out in the community, they're out there just as anyone else, conducting their lives as any of us want to.
Rice: I think it's just wonderful to see people who are working, paying taxes, shopping, riding the bus. People are part of the community and they are truly productive. They are not a drag on the community.
Q: What do you both see as Easter Seals' goals for the future?
Belknap: Our strategic goal is to just continue to serve more people under our mission. We have some pretty hefty goals in that area because we know there are a lot of people out there with additional needs.
We want to grow Goodwill and we want to grow our development department because, again, those undesignated dollars help those programs be even more successful.
Serving more people is a top priority. Maintaining financial stability is a top priority. Making sure we develop our donor base and our Goodwill market share is really important.
Rice: Over the last 20 years, we've seen our program participants grow so much that they need more services. They're better consumers than they have been, so we have to expand the scope of what we do. Not just do more of what we do now, but do more different things.
Q: Anything else either of you would like to add?
Belknap: Obviously the volunteers are very important. That's been really helpful to have the volunteer board of directors.
Our donors are so important. They've helped us get where we are, and the people that we serve are very much an inspiration.
The staff, I admire them and just so appreciate their dedication to what we do and their professionalism.
Rice: Most people don't understand what a large employer Easter Seals-Goodwill is particularly in Great Falls, but also in other communities such as Boise.
Belknap: We're in the top 100 for the state of Montana for employment. We employ over 1,000 people in our four states and serve 23,000. We're one of the largest Easter Seals in that nation. We're the largest geographically in the United States for Easter Seals and Goodwill.