A merger between Discover Goodwill of Southern & Western Colorado and Goodwill Industries of Denver has gone into effect, allowing the two groups to increase the sustainability of their two organizations, according to a news release.
The most important aspect of the merger is for sustainability’s sake, said Bradd Hafer, director of marketing and communications for Discover Goodwill, in an interview with The Durango Herald.
“Combining all those operations will create a lot more efficiencies for us, and when you’re more efficient as a nonprofit in particular, that helps with your sustainability, longevity. We want to be in this for the long haul,” Hafer said.
Goodwill operates thrift stores and donation centers worldwide. There are 159 independent Goodwill agencies across the U.S. under the Goodwill Industries International umbrella, but all operate autonomously and are independent of each other.
The nonprofit uses proceeds to help people overcome challenges and build skills, find jobs, and grow their careers, according to Goodwill Industries International Inc. Goodwill was founded in Boston by the Rev. Edgar J. Helms with the philosophy of giving “a hand up, not a hand out,” according to its website.
Combining the two groups will not have an effect on the day-to-day operations of the Goodwill store in Durango, said Tammie Burke, a manager at the local Goodwill. The local store opened in February 2018. According to the local store’s website, it helps people in the community through the sales at the store to provide job training and placement to those experiencing employment barriers.
Discover Goodwill of Southern & Western Colorado and Goodwill Industries of Denver have similar characteristics in both longevity and in how they operate in terms of their retail and donation centers.
The combined organization will serve all 64 counties in Colorado with 43 retail stores, four outlets and 12 stand-alone donation centers providing jobs for over 2,700 workers across the state, according to a news release from Goodwill.
Under the merger, there will be one governing body with one president and board of directors rather than having two governing bodies as before.
Although the merger recently took effect, the discussions of a merger began in June 2018.
Karla Grazier, president and CEO of Discover Goodwill, has served as interim president since September 2018 and will lead the newly combined organization, according to a news release from Discover Goodwill. She was voted into office by the board of directors of both agencies and Goodwill Industries International in March.
“This merger makes sense on so many levels,” Grazier said in the release. “We will be stronger together and will create a better Goodwill for all of Colorado.”
Combining the two agencies existing in Colorado into one organization will allow the organization to operate without having to go through a process to determine which “side of the house” will oversee different programs or services offered, Hafer said.
Discover Goodwill of Southern & Western Colorado and Goodwill Industries of Denver were a combined organization up until 1961 when Goodwill Industries of Denver became its own entity. Hafer said the two groups have had common ground for decades so the merger “was pretty intuitive.”
The new name had not been fully determined as of Monday, but the name “Goodwill of Colorado” has taken a foothold and has already been approved by Goodwill Industries International. There is not a definitive date for when the use of that name or another name will start. Hafer said there are many operational and due-diligence issues that have to be addressed before it can move into that arena. Until the process is complete, the organizations will continue to operate as Discover Goodwill of Southern & Western Colorado and Goodwill Industries of Denver while having one president and CEO.
In 2018, both groups in Colorado served a combined 100,000 people within the state; Hafer is unsure how the merger will affect, if at all, the number of people served through the organization’s services.