Local Goodwill is merging with larger regional agency

Officials say 'Goodwill Industries Ontario Great Lakes' will set stage for future expansion

Dave Watson, the volunteer chair of the board at Goodwill EKL, has been providing leadership to the organization following the retirement of CEO Kevin Smith last July. A merger of the organization with the larger Goodwill Ontario Great Lakes has been announced.

Goodwill Industries Essex Kent Lambton, the organization with headquarters in Sarnia-Lambton, is merging with its neighbour to the east—Goodwill Ontario Great Lakes—in an organizational move that has been approved by both boards.

Early discussions around what became the merger began at least 10 months ago, after the faltering of the Toronto Goodwill, according to Michelle Quintyn, the combined organization’s chief executive. The Toronto operation was absorbed into the Goodwill Ontario Great Lakes organization, a trajectory that may include Ottawa, which leadership is eyeing for next year.

Goodwill EKL’s executive, Kevin Smith, had retired in July 2018 after 18 years with the agency. Since then, Dave Watson, Goodwill’s volunteer board chair, has been providing leadership. He was named the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce “Member of the Year” for 2018.

Quintyn has said the size of Goodwill EKL, about a $15 million operation, will help with scale, which makes the larger organization “more sustainable and prosperous.”

Goodwill’s mission is to help people overcome employment barriers and enter the workforce, using a network of community makes the merger that much more “sustainable and prosperous,” said Quintyn.

The Goodwill organizations operate a network of community stores, donation and career centres, and social enterprises. In London, those take shape with Edgar and Joe’s Cafe and Goodwill Commercial Solutions, a warehousing and production facility.

The combined organizations have a workforce of about 1,000 but there ar3 hopes for the creation of 900 new jobs and an increase of annual revenue from the current $47 million to $80 million over the next five years.

Watson says new opportunities are on the horizon for the larger organization, with the former Goodwill EKL leveraging its “larger voice when talking to government.”

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