S.O. Goodwill using $5M donation from Mackenzie Scott to create new intern, employment program

MEDFORD, Ore. — Good things are in the works at Goodwill, literally. They’re about to launch a new program called GoodWorks, that will allow underserved people to join a 2-month paid internship that will allow them to gain work experience.

Last December, the non-profit received its largest gift in history from Mackenzie Scott – a $5,000,000 donation.

“Over the course of the last year, we spent a good chunk of time meeting with our board of directors to figure out how is that best going to serve our organization and the people we serve?” said Chief People Officer for Southern Oregon Goodwill, Lisa Mandell, says the program the non-profit came up with is GoodWorks.

“That internship will provide a limited time paid on-the-job training with Southern Oregon Goodwill.”

Mandell says the opportunities will be provided to people facing barriers. Those barriers could include people experiencing homelessness, a history with the criminal justice system, or people recovering from addiction.

“They’ll be paired with a job coach, as well as a really detailed training program, so they’ll learn how to work for Southern Oregon Goodwill, with a chance of employment once they graduate from the intern program,” said Mandell.

Mandell says if people choose not to work for Goodwill following the GoodWorks program, the non-profit will help them get hired on with their many partners or other employers in the area.

“The other part of that [the program] is to provide learning, development, and career skill building for our current associates,” she added.

She says the donation last year was a last-minute surprise, and because of it, it helps fulfill what the organization sets out to do.

“It serves our mission. Our mission is to enable employment by providing opportunities for personal and professional growth, and Miss Scott’s gift has really allowed to us expand that and we couldn’t be happier.”

Southern Oregon Goodwill says it currently employs 300 people, but with the launch of this program it’s hoping that will change soon. The program won’t launch until January 2022.

If you’re interested in getting involved with it, Mandell says you can visit Goodwill’s Job Connections Centers located in Yreka, Klamath Falls, and Medford.

You can also call Mandell directly at 541-772-3300.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.