Operating in the Oklahoma City area for nearly 75 years, Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma has made its mission putting people to work and improving lives. Now, however, the organization needs its own helping hand.
Goodwill is trying to raise $300,000 through public donations to fund its ongoing relocation, made necessary by the city's "Core to Shore" project, which will realign Interstate 40. In preparation for the interstate moving south, the current location, 410 S.W. Third, has been purchased by the city and will become part of the new park, said Jennifer Bradford, Goodwill spokeswoman.
As such, the organization is packing up and moving to a new facility about a mile west " near Reno and Blackwelder " but donations are needed to cover the costs of renovation as well as a growing demand for services. Goodwill aims to raise $3 million total for its "Good Move" campaign, most of which will come from the corporate sector.
Since November 2009, Oklahoma City corporations and industries, including the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation and Chesapeake Energy, have contributed close to $1.4 million, but there's still a long way to go.
"We're in definite need of public support right now, so anything anyone can afford to send us is very, very welcome," Bradford said.
Shoppers at Goodwill stores can donate at the register, and donation envelopes have been sent out. And, of course, people can visit www.okgoodwill.org to make a secure, online donation.
Regardless of the need for funds, the change is a positive one. The campaign received the moniker "Good Move" for a reason: The old facility had been losing its functionality rapidly, and it was time for a change. Core to Shore just hastened the pace.
"The timing and everything about it has just been really wonderful for us," Bradford said. "We've sort of served everything we can and served the purpose of this building and outgrown it."
Convenience is the biggest upgrade with the new digs. The new warehouse space is double the size of the old one " 133,000 square feet in total " and it's on one level, for the most part. Ten dock doors will also make moving donations in and out much easier. In fact, it's so spacious that this new location will become the flagship superstore, planned to open in September.
Goodwill's warehouse, which contains all donations that don't end up in stores, has been operating out of the facility since the beginning of the year. Offices and training programs will follow suit in November, Bradford said.
The bigger space will allow Goodwill to expand programs, including a bigger jobs center and more programs dedicated to youth services, mentoring and occupational training, among other things. "Nicole Hill
above Jennifer Bradford of Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma examines construction progress inside the Goodwill superstore.