Posted by Brad MacLachlan on Jun 06, 2019
 
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan
               
                Chase Devries of Spring Lake High School was named the Rotary Student of the Month for the month of May.  Chase is graduating with a 3.9 G.P.A., having participated in athletics in lacrosse and track, and a number of different school organizations, including the National Honor Society, and Boys State.  Chase gives back regularly to his community through serving at area food banks, and working through his church, Harvest Bible Chapel in Spring Lake.  He will attend Michigan State University this fall, entering the pre-med program there. 
 
                Jeannette Hoyer, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, was our speaker on Friday.  Jeannette joined Goodwill Industries in 2015 after working as an Executive Director with Pathways Michigan, a child and family services non-profit that focuses on child counseling and substance-abuse rehabilitation.  Jeannette also serves on the board of a number of area organizations.
 
                 When we think of Goodwill, the first thing that may come to mind are the Goodwill donation centers where we can leave our used and unwanted clothing and household items for Goodwill to sell at their retail stores.  Jeannette wanted us to know that in reality, the focus and main goal of Goodwill Industries is “Changing Lives Through the Power of Work”.  This happens in a number of different ways.  Goodwill does quite a bit of work with job development services and training for individuals that may not get that opportunity otherwise.  One story that Jeannette showed us via a video is Francisco, a local area man who was released from prison a couple years ago, without any job prospects to speak of, but with a daughter and family he needed to support.  Goodwill’s job-training program allowed Francisco to get training to become a truck driver for a company based in Greenville, and allows for him now to bring home a steady paycheck.  Goodwill’s job training programs cover a number of different areas of the workplace.  GIWM also trains and employs individuals to work in their retail stores across west Michigan, both stocking and selling the goods that are donated. 
               
                The donation cycle is how goods that are donated are turned into the programs that help to impact and enrich lives across west Michigan, and elsewhere in the world.  They cycle is: 1) Goods are donated 2) Retail stores sell some goods in stores or online 3) Remaining items are sold by the pound at the outlet center 4) Unsold items are disassembled and recycled 5) Revenue generated supports job training and placement programs 6) Support services are provided, eg. financial coaching, tax prep, etc. 7) People working strengthen our community. In 2017, nearly 900 ex-offenders got a seconds chance through Goodwill’s local programs.
 
                Jeannette explained that a lot of the goods they receive are clothing/fabric, which ultimately is not sold, or cannot be resold.  Goodwill is working on a way to recycle the fabric using a process that removes the dye and breaks down the fabrics to their most basic levels, which can then be reused/repurposed in a number of different ways.  The research and development around this idea is now at a national level, and will be a primary focus in the years to come.
 
 
50/50 Winner:  Gordon Gallagher