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Goodwill Testimonials

Testimonials "Why We Give"

Kevin and his wife Marilyn have been donors to Goodwill for many years and believe strongly in the mission of equipping people with the skills and resources to be independent and self-sufficient. We sat down with them to get their thoughts about Goodwill, why they donate to the stores, and make financial gifts to support the programs. Here are some of their thoughts on giving back to the community and how they decide on organizations to support.
We both come from families where giving was and is important so it was a value we grew up with. It’s important to us to help where it is needed in the community. As they say, “bread cast upon the waters returns more than what is given" – sometimes in a material sense, sometimes in an emotional or spiritual sense. Since we took a tour of your operations we’ve learned so much more about your mission and the people you help. Before that, the stores were all we knew about – now we’d say the Laundry, the Cafeteria and Culinary program, the Work Services production, the Day Services program, and job search resources for people who are unemployed or underemployed are all important aspects of the Goodwill mission. And we really appreciate the strong focus on recycling, reusing, reducing! We were glad to learn that you use DNR approved vendors for reselling items that don’t sell in your stores – items are processed appropriately without going to landfill. The customer service we’ve experienced in your stores is the greatest — whether staff is working the floor, at the checkout, or helping to unload donations.
We like to give once a year to organizations on our list and we are also very committed to supporting environmental causes and organizations in the Milwaukee area. Marilyn and I came to your outreach event last October at the Urban Ecology Center to hear more about the mission and we were fortunate to meet several Goodwill participants, hear more about their experiences in your programs, and what their goals are in terms of working in the community. We both look forward to updates from you on what you are doing in the community – in between our various activities that keep us busy, our work, and visiting our sons and grandchildren. Keep up the good work!


Ken Cook has been a loyal donor to Goodwill for many years. During a facility tour to see Goodwill’s mission in action, a conversation started around a data entry project that Ken’s company was looking for help with. Goodwill took on the project and provided 10 individuals who performed data entry on over 200,000 files that made it possible to search for information by computer rather than going through microfiche cards.

One of the individuals who worked on this project was Becca. Becca struggled with reading, writing, and retaining information.  At Goodwill, she was taking Microsoft Office classes such as Word and Excel when asked to participate in the data entry project. Becca worked hard and was the fastest worker on the project.  Both Becca and Ken benefited from the partnership and according to Ken, “Having Goodwill take on this project allowed us to keep the work local rather than outsourcing it. Thank you for a job well done!”

Roger J. retired after 28 years working for a local municipality. Now 82, he maintains an amazingly positive outlook despite numerous health issues and losing his wife LuAnn to cancer five years ago. “I have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the area so they keep me going and I have my little dog Buddy, to keep me company. It helps if you can find a silver lining, I am just grateful that I can give back and help others who aren’t so fortunate.  I like to give back to the community and I believe in what Goodwill does to help people help themselves.”

A long time donor to Goodwill, in 2009 he decided to make his contributions every month and signed up as a Partner of Hope. “With the economic downturn of the past few years my pension took a hit, but it’s now slowly coming back up.  I give to a number of groups and so it’s easier for me to give an amount each month and to keep track of it and budget for it. Doing it this way I don’t forget to make my contributions, it’s taken care of. Then at the end of the year I review what contributions I’ve made and decide who I want to give to in the New Year.”

Roger says friends and family have asked him if he’d consider moving to somewhere warmer – especially during the Wisconsin winters – but he says no, “I like the change of seasons and I’m a part of this community. This is home to me.”

The Development department at Goodwill would like to share with you the story of one of our donors who made the decision to designate Goodwill as a beneficiary in her will. Sally S. passed away this year at the age of 93 after a long, respected, and accomplished life. Born in Milwaukee, Sally was a nurse and career military woman, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and serving as a Nurse Administrator during WWII, the Korean War, and later based at Okinawa. Known for her exceptional attention to detail, work ethic, and adopting innovative sterilization methods to lessen rates of infection, Sally was the recipient of numerous commendations for her work including a certificate of achievement while serving in the 98th General Hospital in Neubrucke, Germany.  

Serving as personal representative of her estate, family friend Ken K. shared with us more about Sally’s extraordinary commitment to helping people in need, which was further demonstrated by her decision to include Goodwill in her will. “Sally was very outspoken and didn’t hesitate to speak her mind. She really cared about people and felt that she could be her best by helping others, including simple gestures to ease someone’s discomfort like bringing them water to drink. Sally was an avid reader and liked to do family genealogy research until her eyesight began to fail due to glaucoma. I think she would be very pleased to see the mission of Goodwill carried out and that her gift would help so many individuals needing resources.  The fact that you have medical departments at several Goodwill locations that help participants and employees with basic health care needs during the day would really please Sally.”

Besides Goodwill, Sally also supported Milwaukee School of Engineering, where she got her degree in Nursing, the Salvation Army, and other organizations helping people challenged with declining eyesight. Says Ken, “Sally was a very proud and interesting lady, I was honored that she asked me and my uncle to be the personal representatives of her estate. It’s a privilege to carry out her wishes and I know she would be happy that she is impacting so many lives.”

 Ernest Ulrich

Ernie Ulrich will soon donate more than $1.5 million to Chicago-area charities and Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago is one of the lucky recipents. But there is a twist to this story. Click here to read more


Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

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Tel: (414) 353-6400

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Tel: (312) 994-1440