The unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic created chaos for many nonprofits — disturbing not only their revenue streams but also their missions. Serving nearly half of Wisconsin’s counties, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin’s mission “Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment” may have paused, but quickly regrouped to help those it serves overcome barriers created by the pandemic.

In this episode of the First Business Bank podcast, Chris Hess, President & CEO of Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, discusses how the formidable nonprofit, which serves 35 Wisconsin counties and encompasses 28 retail stores, evolved to continue to carry out its mission despite the challenges. He also discusses:

  • Navigating a 10-week shutdown and how that impacted their nonprofit
  • How training took on new meaning as they worked to help people they serve acquire skills to navigate online ordering, connect to loved ones, and overcome obstacles created by the pandemic
  • Adapting retail operations to online shopping and incorporating curbside pickup in some locations
  • How preparations paid off for the Delta and Omicron variant waves
  • Strategizing how to deploy funds to best fulfill their mission in 2022 and beyond

“Our mission lived on and never really stopped,” Hess said. “That’s why we exist.” A story of perseverance and generosity, this podcast episode holds inspiration for any business or organization leader facing seemingly insurmountable difficulties to ultimately achieve a unifying goal.