Goodwill Big Bend
Goodwill Industries–Big Bend, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to provide job training,education, and employment to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, helping them to reach their fullest potential in supporting themselves and their families. Goodwill also provides barrier-free apartment complexes in which people with disabilities can live independently.
On June 5, 2014, the newly renovated Goodwill Big Bend (GIBB) facility housing the Fred G. Shelfer Jr.Prosperity Center opened at 300 Mabry Street in Tallahassee,FL. The concept came as a response to GIBB realizing a need to help reverse the increasing poverty in its service area. In partnership with the City of Tallahassee along with several area social service providers, GIBB provides Tallahassee families with services to help lead healthy, financially sound and productive lives and to assist in living above poverty levels. The project provided an innovative new facility for the community where residents are able to utilize activities and services that include music classes,youth mentoring, finance and budgeting classes,career searching and training as well as personal fitness and wellness programs.
UDF utilized $9,000,000 in FL state NMTC $7,500,000 in federal NMTC to finance the rehabilitation and expansion of Goodwill Big Bend’s Mabry St. facilities. UDF provided two loans totaling $9,000,000 that provide the following better-than-market rates and terms: lower than standard interest rate, higher than standard loan-to-value, interest only for the term of the loan and lower than standard origination fees.
Goodwill Big Bend is located in a severely distressed census tract with a 58.04% poverty rate, median family income only 23.8% of the benchmark and unemployment greater than 1.5x the national average.The census tract is also designated a Hot Zone by the CDFI Fund.
The Prosperity Center frees up space in Goodwill’s other area facilities which increases the number of people that are able to benefit from Goodwill’s training and education programs. Goodwill Big Bend Prosperity Center provides a variety of services to the surrounding low income communities. Some of their programs include:
Career Express Lab which helps users gain access to job leads and professional development opportunities. This lab provides walk-in career search coaching on a walk-in basis without having to schedule an appointment in advance. This allows for assistance on job search strategies, resume and cover letter critiques; interview skills practice,information and question and answer opportunities about job current job openings.The center also provides Youth Career Services for children between 12-17 years of age where participants can attend workshops to learn more about career exploration and interest.
Music Hall, a state of the art hall and music practice rooms which brings a higher quality of music education to people of all levels. A shared love of music connects people of all ages, all income levels and all abilities. Beginners, whether youth or adult, are able to learn how to play Brass, Wind and Percussion instruments which are all provided by the center with the flexibility to learn at their own pace. Intermediate players can join with the practicing intermediate band to further their skills in a group setting and music masters can participate in the publicly performing band aptly named The Spirit of Goodwill Community Band.
Career Campus offers onsite and online courses and certification (where required) in 12 areas of industry including Food Service and Hospitality,Entrepreneurship, Coding and Web Design, Bookkeeping, Healthcare and Housekeeping.
Financial Strengthening involves helping those in need get solid financial footing. Financial mentors are available to help in managing debt and expenses which betters the financial situations of program participants. The Prosperity Center focuses on breaking down barriers that can hamper individuals from being successful in reaching a goal of financial independence. The Prosperity Center offers Tallahassee a one-stop source of financial stability services, including: Free Income Tax Preparation, Credit Counseling & Financial Education, Money Management & Budget Development, Educational & Career Counseling, First-time Homebuyer Education, Micro-Enterprise Education, Asset Building through savings and banking basics, Foreclosure Mitigation (intake); and Benefits Screening & Enrollment (access to food stamps, Kidcare, Medicare,Medicaid, etc.)