Goodwill Celebrating Its Centennial

November 21, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Today at the Frederik Meijer Gardens — with its closest family and friends — Goodwill will celebrate 100 years of service.

Past and current board members, major donors and corporate supporters will be on hand to wish Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids a happy 100 years and celebrate its centennial.

Thanks to the financial contributions and partnerships from several local families and businesses, Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids has helped thousands of people overcome their employment barriers and find jobs, becoming more self-sufficient.

“Over the years, we’ve given many individuals in the Grand Rapids area the opportunity to change their lives, to feel that sense of self-esteem that comes from a paycheck, impacting not only their own lives but their families and the community,” said Tina Hartley, president of Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids.

“We couldn’t have done this, and cannot continue to do this for another 100 years, without our business partners, donors and volunteers.”

Goodwill provides short-term, occupational skills training programs in retail, janitorial, manufacturing and clerical along with employability skills training in punctuality, attendance and working with others. Ninety percent of the revenues from Goodwill stores fund Goodwill’s employment and training programs.

Honorees at the centennial gala include Fred and Lena Meijer and Bill and Bea Idema. Fred Meijer was one of several ad-hoc businessmen in the 1960s to start Goodwill locally because of the lack of rehabilitation services in the area.

Since then Meijer continually supports the organization, providing everything from the store fixtures that enabled Goodwill stores to get up and running, to still providing a Meijer representative to sit on Goodwill’s board. Meijer himself sat on the first board of directors.

Business partners honored include Cascade Engineering, Lacks Enterprises, Steelcase and Meijer Inc. Fred Keller, CEO of Cascade Engineering, is a pioneer in workforce development issues in the state of Michigan and strong supporter of Goodwill.

Cascade has hired more than 220 Goodwill graduates and houses an on-the-job training program. This year Cascade won the “Large Employer of the Year” award from Goodwill Industries International for its contributions to Goodwill’s mission.           

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