Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota

Mission

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides job training and career navigation services to eliminate barriers to work and independence. Revenue from nearly 50 retail stores ― along with grants and financial contributions ― supports Minnesotans with digital literacy skills, resume development, understanding government benefits and more. Shopping and donating helps divert over 65 million pounds from landfills annually and have helped us connect people to jobs since 1919.

       

      Our mission

      To eliminate barriers to work and independence.

      Our Vision

      A world where everyone experiences the power of work.

      Our services

      We prepare people for work to address labor disparities in Minnesota.

        EQUITY STATEMENT

        Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota believes that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are central to our mission to eliminate barriers to work and independence, and our vision of a world where everyone experiences the power of work. We strive to reflect the communities we serve and strengthen partnerships, while making a solid case for the importance of this work. We will bring diversity, equity and inclusion to the forefront internally and externally and speak out against overt and systemic racism, oppressions and inequities.
         

        • As an employer we will build on employee engagement and inclusion efforts.
        • As a community member we will reflect our service communities and actively learn together.
        • As a service provider we will create equitable opportunities.
        • As an advocate we will influence systems change.

        Community Need

        Over 100,000 Minnesotans are currently unemployed, and many will need specialized support to return to the workforce.   

        Our response: 

        • We can help people improve digital literacy skills, develop resumes for career advancement and we offer free, job-specific training like construction or automotive, to help people train for new careers.
        • We are prepared to help; our participants experience an average of 5x wage growth, over 70% retain work for 365 days or more and nearly 80% of job training graduates earn industry credentials.
        • We advance workforce-related public policy by regularly engaging with the Minnesota state legislature.

         ​​The unemployment rate in Minnesota is 60% higher for people with disabilities, and the poverty rate for families of color is up to three times the poverty rate of white families.

        Our response:

        • Our individualized services — like employment readiness, career navigation and job training — support job applicants from marginalized cultural groups and people with disabilities because these disparities are unacceptable.
        • With thousands of Minnesotans experiencing job loss, our dislocated worker program can help people get back on their feet.
        • Minnesota has a 10.5% racial disparity employment gap* and reducing this inequity by removing barriers to work can help reduce labor shortages.

        Each of Minnesota’s nearly 6 million residents generate an average of 1,600 pounds of trash every year.

        Our response: 

        • Shopping and donating helps us divert over 65 million pounds from landfills annually, and reselling thousands of donated items promotes reuse.

        • Reselling donated items promotes reuse and we partner with others for a greener Minnesota: picking up clothing from the Twin Cities Marathon, donating winter coats to sheriff’s offices for people leaving detention centers and more.

        Advocacy

        Every year we make progress in advancing workforce-related public policy, engaging with hundreds of elected officials on public policy objectives. Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a member of the MN Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities and the MN Second Chance Coalition.

        Contact Director of Public Affairs Deanna Smiley Gulliford or call 651-379-5940 with questions.

        Certifications and Accreditations

        Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota (GESMN) holds many certifications and accreditations to ensure transparency with donors and the highest level of service to our program participants. Nationally, Goodwill is rated an "A" grade by Charity Watch, and GESMN has earned nine consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, a distinction obtained by only 2% of charities nationwide.

        Americans told the World Value Index that Goodwill is the brand they trust more than any other. The World Value Index is based on a nationally representative, comprehensive survey of 3,000 Americans on perception, awareness and behaviors in response to the purpose and mission of organizations and brands.

        Leadership

        executive team

        Photo of Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Brent Babcock

        Brent Babcock
        Chief Sales &
        Marketing Officer

        Photo of Chief Human Resources and Risk Officer Jinah Chernivec

        Jinah Chernivec
        Chief Human Resources
        & Risk Officer

        Photo of Mary Jones, Chief Philanthropy Officer

        Mary Jones
        Chief Philanthropy Officer

        Photo of Chief Services and Programs & Philanthropy Officer, Shiela Olson

        Sheila Olson
        Chief Services &
        Programs Officer

        Photo of Chief Finance Officer Jeff Uecher

        Jeff Uecker
        Chief Financial Officer

        Photo of President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Wirth-Davis, D.P.A.

        Michael Wirth-Davis,
        DPA

        President &
        Chief Executive Officer


        Board Members

        Joseph M. Barsky III, MBA (ex-officio)

        Chair, Goodwill-Easter Seals Foundation

        Margaret Camp, MBA, JD ('23)

        Vice President, Business Unit Operations,
        Wolters Kluwer

        Kortney Cartwright ('24)

        District Branch Manager, BCForward

        Marcella de la Torre, EdD (’24)

        Director, AACSB Administration/Health Care Outreach, Opus College of Business,
        University of St. Thomas

        Sonjia Erickson ('23)

        Design Director, Product Design & Development, Target Corporation

        Andrew Feikema ('25)

        Senior Vice President/Relationship Manager,
        US Bank Corporate Banking

        Mike Finger, MA ('22)

        Founder, ExitOasis.com

        Peggy L. Kadlec ('24)

        Chief Human Resources Officer/Executive,
        Cadré Incorporated

        Rachel Lockett ('24) Vice Chair

        Chief Information Officer,
        Pohlad Companies /Marquette Companies

        Wendy Mahling, JD, ('22) Chair

        Senior Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Managing Attorney, Xcel Energy

        Sita Morantz ('23) Secretary

        President and Chief Administrative Officer, Marsden Holding L.L.C.

        Leslie Olson, MBA ('23) Treasurer

        Director – Strategic Performance Analytics,
        Thrivent Financial

        Elizabeth Ortloff (’24)

        Community Representative

        Valerie Krzywkowski Snyder, JD ('22)

        Supervising Attorney, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services

        Richard Tepe, MBA, CFA ('22)

        Sr. Director – Corporate Financial Planning & Strategy,
        Target Corp.

        Morgan Truscott (’24)

        Executive Director, JP Morgan Private Bank

        Michael Wirth-Davis, DPA (ex-officio)

        President & CEO, Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota


        key contacts

        Melissa Becker
        Marketing & Communications Director

        Nick Adams
        Retail Stores Senior Director

        Ann Marie Courchene
        Retail Operations & Logistics Senior Director

        Christine Bronson
        Services & Programs Senior Director

        Deanna Smiley Gulliford
        Public Affairs Director

        Shannon Schaaf
        Philanthropy Director

        Inclusion

        Image of colored sillouttes of individuals with blue text on the right that states "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion"

        Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota's mission to eliminate barriers to work and independence is deeply rooted in inclusion.  We help connect people to jobs who are often overlooked or underrepresented in the workforce. 

        The unemployment rate in Minnesota is 60% higher for people with disabilities; the poverty rate for families of color is up to three times that of white families. We support job applicants with employment readiness, career navigation and job training because these disparities are unacceptable to us.

        illustration with line drawings of individuals in blue, green and orange colors

        EQUITY STATEMENT

        Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota believes that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are central to our mission to eliminate barriers to work and independence, and our vision of a world where everyone experiences the power of work. We strive to reflect the communities we serve and strengthen partnerships, while making a solid case for the importance of this work. We will bring diversity, equity and inclusion to the forefront internally and externally and speak out against overt and systemic racism, oppressions and inequities.

        • As an employer we will build on employee engagement and inclusion efforts.
        • As a community member we will reflect our service communities and actively learn together.
        • As a service provider we will create equitable opportunities.
        • As an advocate we will influence systems change.

        DEI COUNCIL

        Our employees help build a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion that permeates all areas of our work. A DEI Council with staff members from across the organization shares educational opportunities, conducts listening sessions and hosts spaces for people to be their authentic selves.  We also have a staff team that proactively discusses accessibility/identifies areas to  improve.

        OUR ACTIONS

        We believe in action-oriented DEI efforts, which are always evolving and will be updated here:

        • Calling on employees to source vendors, partners and support businesses that are women and minority-owned.
        • We link arms with other nonprofits to speak out against racial injustice, economic disparities and discrimination. Get details.
        • We actively work to recruit and retain people of color, people from diverse backgrounds and we recognize the intersectionality in every individual that interacts with us.
        • Women are strong leaders at GESMN! Three of our five chief executive officers are female, as well as women in leadership roles across the entire organization. 
        • We seek out and speak to diverse audiences, ensuring our marketing and communications efforts are accessible and inclusive.

        We will aways have work to do.  We will listen with open, honest minds.  We will get uncomfortable in our efforts to increase understanding, and work to create a more fair playing field for all.

         

        FAQ

        Photo of an adult and a child drawing the Goodwill logo in chalk on asphalt

        FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


        FACTS AND MYTHS

        Goodwill is widely known and respected as a nonprofit that funds job training and employment services through the sales of donated items. Because of that, we sometimes stand in the line of fire from individuals and organizations who are misinformed and/or misrepresent us to the public.

        Next time you see a friend perpetuating this old hoax, share this page with them (or send them to Snopes).

        Donate. Shop. Support Our Mission.

        • “Why do you sell things that you get for free?” Donations stock stores to support our mission, but there are many costs to get that lamp from your trunk onto a shelf.
        • We employ over 2,000 people and everyone earns more than the MN minimum wage.
        • In 2019, our stores handled over 2.5 million donations, using proceeds to fund our services.

        Leading by Example

        • Your aunt’s Facebook feed is great, but her facts on Goodwill might only be so-so. We have nine 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator and meet all Charities Review Council standards.
        • CEO Michael Wirth-Davis, DPA has led the organization for 30 years. He teaches and volunteers his time speaking to various groups (he doesn’t have a yacht or get paid millions of dollars).

        Download the pdf here.

        Resources

        Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the Federal Tax ID: 41-0706171.