The holidays bring out the best in most, but scams are rampant. With #GiveGoodwill, Goodwill encourages smart giving this season and all year-round.

The holiday season inspires generous giving. In fact, most charitable donations and volunteer hours are contributed in the last three months of the year. But while the air of peace, faith and hope brings out the best in most, it can bring out the worst in some in the form of scams and rip-offs.

A 10-year-old email resurfaces annually during the holidays, making erroneous statements about several charitable organizations, including Goodwill. It stands as a firm reminder that everyone considering making a monetary gift or donation should do so wisely. Goodwill reminds donors to be diligent about charitable giving, to research organizations using sites like CharityWatch, and to make sure they’re donating to authentic bins.

“We always encourage those generous enough to give to give wisely;” said Amanda Hamilton, Communications Director of Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. “Do your research and educate yourself about the recipient’s goals, financials and efficiency. At Goodwill, we’re completely transparent and proud of our consistently high ratings among all charity watchdog groups.”

Those who choose to give to Goodwill can be confident that their financial gift and donated goods provide exponential benefits throughout the Lincoln and York communities. Monetary gifts can be given safely and securely through Goodwill’s website or , and they go directly to helping members of our community. A donation of clothing or household items gives belongings a second life and reduces waste. Goodwill shoppers benefit from the opportunity to find the perfect gift or holiday ensemble, and all donations give hope to those seeking work by funding vital training and employment services. Goodwill’s donation impact calculator provides detailed feedback on the effect even the smallest donations can have.

For more information about how your financial gift, donated goods and store purchases support efforts in the local community, visit our website at Share your Goodwill donations on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #GiveGoodwill.

Give smart this holiday season. #GiveGoodwill.



Every holiday season, it seems there’s a new toy, game or device that has parents making a mad dash to the mall. While some of those holiday favorites live on for years, others fall by the wayside faster than you can say “Happy New Year!” Luckily, for 83 years, Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. has been available to turn the items in your land of forgotten toys (formerly known as your basement or garage) into job training and employment services for the Lincoln community.

Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable and sought-after holiday toys of the last 20 years and how they can make a difference today.

Beanie Babies (1995): In the mid-‘90s, Beanie Babies were all the rage, and shoppers scrambled to find just the right ones to complete their collections. Beanie Babies had been around for years before they hit the big time, but it was a marketing strategy built around retiring certain popular Babies that drove the toys to the next level. This “manufactured scarcity” sent collectors scurrying, and by the end of 1996, more than 100 million Beanie Babies had been sold. Where are they now? Even though their heady heyday has passed, new Beanie Babies are still widely available today.

Tickle Me Elmo (1996): This stuffed, interactive Sesame Street character caused mass hysteria and literal stampedes when production didn’t meet demand for Christmas 1996. Stories of Elmos selling for 50 times the retail price, or more, were not unheard of. Where are they now? Elmo’s no one-hit wonder! Several new editions have been released over the years, including Tickle Me Elmo Extreme, Elmo Live and Let’s Rock Elmo.

Holiday Donation Tip: Goodwill is happy to accept donations of clean plush toys in good condition. Make another child’s holiday season brighter by donating stuffed toys that are no longer played with in your home. Find your nearest donation site here or schedule a pick up of large items here.

Tamagotchi (1997): These key-fob-sized, egg-shaped digital pets required around-the-clock care and feeding. Even though Tamagotchi disrupted classrooms and gave children unexpected lessons in death when their digital pets died from neglect, consumers couldn’t get enough of them. Japanese toy maker Bandai reported a whopping $150 million in Tamagotchi sales in 1996 alone. Where are they now? Tamagotchi devices have experienced a recent resurgence as Tamagotchi Friends, and apps emulating the original devices are a hit on smartphones.

Furby (1998): The care and feeding of inanimate objects continued the following year with the success of Furby. Beloved by children and despised by family pets, these Gremlin-lookalikes demanded your attention in their own Furbish language. More than 15 million were sold in 1998 and 1999. Where are they now? Furby has been going strong in recent years with new smartphone-connected editions that Gizmodo says possess “…an unconscionable degree of loud, bright and wiggly.”

Razor Scooters (2000): Whether you were a kid in the suburbs or a junior executive in midtown Manhattan at the turn of the century, you may have transported yourself from A to B with the ubiquitous Razor scooter. More than 5 million of the original model sold in its first six months on the market, earning Razor the 2000 Toy of the Year award. Where are they now? With a number of models for kids and grown-ups, including motorized scooters, Razor is still going strong today.

Holiday Donation Tip: Donations of scooters, bikes and skateboards are always welcome at Goodwill. These donations provide opportunities for healthy, active fun for the buyers and employment opportunities for those who benefit from your generous Goodwill donations.

Bratz Dolls (2001): Although the brash Bratz dolls debuted to meager numbers in the summer of 2001, by Christmas of that year they’d built up momentum to become a hit. In their first five years, 125 million Bratz Dolls were sold, and they’d managed to capture 40 percent of the fashion doll market, giving stalwart Barbie a run for her money. Where are they now? After an 11-year legal battle with Barbie’s maker Mattel, Bratz are making a comeback in 2015 with, of course, a smartphone app tie-in and modern tech accessories.

Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo (2005-2006): – The mid-aughts were a great time for gamers with giant leaps in technology leading to the release of the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii consoles within a 12-month period. These so-called seventh-generation consoles included never-before-seen advances like high-definition graphics, 3D Blu-ray capabilities and wireless motion-sensing controllers. Where are they now? All three manufacturers — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — are going strong with new editions Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U, respectively.

Holiday Donation Tip: Goodwill accepts donations of gaming consoles, handhelds and video games. Review our Annual Report to visualize the importance of your donation to the local community.

Zhu Zhu Pets (2009) and Squinkies (2010): In a time dominated by a growing recession and popular but expensive electronics offerings, leave it to two decidedly low-tech toys to give iPads and iPods a run for their money. At under $10 each, Zhu Zhu Pets — small, battery-operated hamsters — flew off the shelves in 2009, selling 10 million units that season. The following year, Squinkies — tiny collectible figurines sold in packs of 16 — debuted at the same price point. Squinkies’ popularity was driven by a then-novel approach of encouraging mom bloggers to promote the toy. The strategy worked, and Squinkies sold out at Walmart and Target stores nationwide.

If any of these once-popular toys are cluttering your home, consider making a donation to Goodwill this holiday season. Engage your kids in the process by having them gather clothes, toys and other items for donation. The Donation Match Game is a fun way for kids and parents alike to learn about which items are best for donation versus recycling. By donating, you can give toys a second life, safely re-home outdated electronics and become a job creator in our community. And don’t forget to browse our store for your holiday gift-giving needs.

Each and every donation to and purchase from Goodwill helps support programs that provide employment assistance to those in need — including people with disabilities, military families, single parents and more. It’s good for you and good for our community.

Click here to learn more.
What popular toy of the past 20 years will you be donating this holiday season?


Community Justice Center is excited to share with the public news about its continued expansion working with more incarcerated persons and individuals on probation throughout Nebraska.

Jim Jones, Executive Director of Community Justice Center, is excited about the future of the program that now has expanded to all twelve Nebraska Probation Districts, recently adding Broken Bow and O’Neill, Nebraska. CJC also provides incarcerated persons and individuals under community supervision a powerful and effective “Crime Victims Impact Class” holding them directly accountable while reducing re-arrest rates. The classes require the individuals to take a leading role in their recovery addressing their behavioral health needs. The program results are clear: safer communities (less crime), reduced prison populations and saved tax dollars. The cost of the prison program is solely covered by Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc.

In addition to the successes, growth and impact of CJC, a recent Tech Asst. grant from the US Justice Department, with the help of Tom Cassidy, Lincoln Public Safety Director, will be utilized to deliver the CJC curriculum online nationwide. Dennis E. McChargue, Ph.D. Associate Professor; University of Nebraska Department of Psychology added “From our evaluation, the CJC’s Crime Victim Impact Class is highly impactful for those on probation. I am very excited to be a part of developing an online version of this group that is specifically structured to increase motivation for pro-social behavior.” of this group that is specifically structured to increase motivation for prosocial behavior.”

5625 O Street Suite 114,
Lincoln, NE. 68510

Contact Information:
Jim Jones
Community Justice Center
(402) 429-1050


Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. is pleased to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October and embraces this year’s theme: ‘My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am’

This October, Goodwill Industries International will join the nation in acknowledging the importance of employees with disabilities — a vital component of the U.S. labor force — during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s celebration marks 70 years since President Truman authorized Congress to officially recognize workers with disabilities.

This year’s theme, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor — “My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am” — underscores the fact that employees with disabilities bring a wide variety of skills to the table. They make up nearly 20 percent of America’s workforce, yet their unemployment rate is more than twice that of workers without disabilities. It is crucial that American employers continue to make efforts to hire workers of all backgrounds and abilities.

For 113 years, Goodwill has worked tirelessly to support job seekers with disabilities and specialized circumstances through training, placement and employment efforts. The Goodwill 2015 Achiever of the Year and Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year award recipients exemplify the benefits of Goodwill’s employment programs and highlight the achievements of both those currently enrolled and those who have gone on to independent success.

The Goodwill Industries International Achiever of the Year, Steve Hennessey, is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment. Hennessey lost his father at a young age and was placed in a home for people with intellectual disabilities after his mother was no longer able to care for him. Today, he lives independently and is known for his hard work and infectious smile at a federal building, part of a Goodwill Omaha, Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, custodial program, where he’s worked since the age of 20. “I just like to work,” said Hennessey. “I want to work a long time.” Click here to view a video about Steve.

The Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year award honors a person who has completed a Goodwill career program and found success with a non-Goodwill employer. Archie Gibbs, the 2015 honoree, couldn’t be more worthy of the designation. After experiencing profound hearing loss as a child and enduring an abusive family situation and life in the foster care system, he arrived at Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia (Macon) in 1998 to receive career training. There, he rose through the ranks of the Goodwill’s custodial service training program, and today he and his wife, Chericah, own and operate Coleman Cleaning Service, providing residential and office cleaning. “I never thought I [would] be where I am today if I didn’t have faith, God and Goodwill in my life,” said Gibbs. Click here to view a video about Archie.

“Supporting the needs of job seekers of varying needs and abilities is at the core of what we do at Goodwill every day,” said Aubry Worrall, Employment Specialist of Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. “We are so pleased to celebrate the achievements of Goodwill program participants, and all employees with disabilities, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

For more information about how your donations help us support employees with disabilities in obtaining meaningful employment, visit our website at


Be Your Own Monster, Shop Goodwill to Help Neighbors Earn Employment

Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. has teamed up with Sony Pictures Entertainment for the release of the animated film, “Hotel Transylvania 2,” to encourage people across the United States and Canada to do their Halloween shopping at one of Goodwill’s more than 3,000 stores throughout North America, including one of 7 stores in southeast Nebraska or online at®. Goodwill and Sony Pictures unite with the message “Be Your Own Monster,” urging consumers in southeast Nebraska to make Goodwill their Halloween Headquarters for creating unique, affordable costumes —- even costumes based on one of the movie’s characters, such as Dracula, Mavis or Frank. When costume seekers shop at Goodwill, they help people in southeast Nebraska get job training, earn jobs and access other community-based services. Sony Pictures Animation’s “Hotel Transylvania 2” is in theaters now.

“The Goodwill partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment for the release of ‘Hotel Transylvania 2,’ is innovative, and an amazing opportunity to use the characters from the film to help consumers in southeast Nebraska know that Goodwill is the place to go to build unique and one-of-a-kind costumes,” said Amanda Hamilton, Communications Director for Goodwill. “When people shop at Goodwill, they are supporting Goodwill’s mission of putting people back to work. Last year, more than 2,400 people were served by Goodwill in southeast Nebraska.”

George Leon, executive vice president, Sony Pictures Consumer Marketing, added, “By partnering with Goodwill as a key Halloween destination for ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’, we’re going to see families and kids expressing their natural creativity as they bring their favorite characters to life for trick-or-treating. Not only will they be creating the kind of memories that money can’t buy, they’ll also be doing good in their own communities by funding Goodwill’s mission.”

About Hotel Transylvania 2

In Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Hotel Transylvania 2” from Sony Pictures Animation, Drac’s pack is back for an all-new monster comedy adventure! Everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania. Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. So while Mavis is busy visiting her human in-laws with Johnny – and in for a major cultural shock of her own – “Vampa” Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old school dad Vlad is about to pay a family visit to the hotel. And when Vlad finds out that his great-grandson is not a pure blood – and humans are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania – things are going to get batty! The film is directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, written by Robert Smigel & Adam Sandler, and produced by Michelle Murdocca.


Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. kicked off the start of summer once again with the third annual Neighborhood Challenge, which began May 1 and continues through September 19. The five month long event is a friendly competition between the neighborhoods of Lincoln, NE and promotes community involvement through neighborhood cleanups and garage sales. The Challenge is divided into two rounds. The top two neighborhoods in each round that collect the most items to be donated to Goodwill receive cash prizes to invest back into the community projects of their choosing.

Five neighborhoods participated in the First Round, which ended July 11, and collectively donated over 18,000 pounds of miscellaneous clothing, furniture, and household items to Goodwill. The first and second place winners of this round were the Highlands Neighborhood Association and the Meadowlane Area Residents’ Association, respectively.

Each of the five neighborhoods that participated collected over 3,000 pounds of donations, which made this competition the closest it has ever been. Because all the neighborhoods were within a few hundred pounds of each other, a small cash prize was awarded to each for their efforts and hard work.

The donations made to Goodwill help fund employment based programs operated by Goodwill and also help fund other organizations’ employment programs, including Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lincoln Literacy, Community Justice Center, and YWCA Job Outfitters.

“Goodwill continually strives to strengthen the Lincoln community through our programming, support of other local non-profits, and our recycling efforts,” said Amanda Hamilton, Communications Director for Goodwill. “This is a unique way for Goodwill to share its mission and promote community while supporting individual neighborhoods’ visions of their own stronger community.”

The Second Round began July 12 and continues through September 19. Neighborhoods interested in more information or would like to have Goodwill present at their neighborhood cleanups and/or garage sales can register at


For school supplies and clothes, it’s out with the old, in with the new

As families gear up for the new school year, Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. is urging shoppers in Lincoln to think about incorporating a donation strategy into their back-to-school shopping plans. By donating used household goods, clothing and school supplies from last year, families can make room for the new, and help put people in our community back to work at the same time.

“Take a holistic approach to your back-to-school shopping this year by donating your items and also getting some new things for you and your family at Goodwill” said Amanda Hamilton, Communications Director for Goodwill. “For busy families this back-to-school season, Goodwill is a one-stop shop that saves you money and benefits the community.”

Families can rummage through their closets and dressers for all the clothes, shoes and accessories their kids have outgrown, round up these items and donate them to Goodwill. After donating, don’t forget to take a walk through the store for affordable new finds! Whether it’s picking up furnishings for their college dorm or a backpack for the first day of kindergarten, you’ll find it at Goodwill. Not only will you send your kids back to school in style, you’ll do so while slashing your seasonal shopping budget in half.

With the simple act of donating (and clearing out the clutter that seems to be continuously growing in our homes), you’ll help create jobs in your community. The sales from your donations will help fund employment placement, job training, and services to individuals with barriers to employment. You’ll be joining more than 90 million donors across the country who contributed to Goodwill, making lives better for millions of individuals and families.


Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. has been informed by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF) that it has been accredited for a period of three years for its Organizational Employment Services program. “The ROE program demonstrates the embodiment of person-centered and customized employment principles…” stated the survey report compiled by CARF.

This accreditation outcome, which represents the highest level of accreditation, is awarded to organizations that show substantial fulfillment of the standards established by CARF. In addition, Goodwill was commended for its efforts to identify and address the social service needs of the area it serves and efficiently and effectively uses revenue generated by its retail stores to enhance those efforts to meet the needs of the community. An organization receiving a three-year Accreditation outcome has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable. Further, an organization accredited for three years clearly indicates that present conditions represent an established pattern of total operations that is likely to be maintained or improved in the foreseeable future.

The latest action marks the eighth consecutive three-year Accreditation outcomes awarded to Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. by CARF, an international accrediting body.


For the last 10 years every Spring students who are preparing to move out of the resident halls at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln have been given the option to leave behind items they do not wish to move back home by leaving them in carts set up throughout UNL’s resident halls. The carts, marked as donations for Goodwill, remain at the resident halls for 2 weeks at the end of the Spring semester. This May, hundreds of students donated nearly 20,000 pounds of clothing, housewares and small furniture items to Goodwill.

Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. would like to thank the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, for offering their students an ecological outlet for disposing of their unwanted items and for supporting Goodwill’s mission of willing workers employed and community resources maximized. Because of UNL’s support over the last decade, tens of thousands of pounds of materials have been diverted from the Lincoln landfill.

“Goodwill’s relationship with UNL has been so important to us, not only because of all the items we collectively are able to keep from the landfill, but because the revenue made from donations Goodwill is able to sell help support our organization and allow us to serve individuals in Lincoln who struggle to find employment” said Amanda Hamilton, Communications Director for Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc. “We look forward to continuing this relationship with UNL and serving the Lincoln community together.”