Monday, May 12, 2008

A Zoo Goodwill Partnership

I am often asked how a non-profit can thrive under in the challenging economic environment we now face. An important part of the answer is collaboration.

We can accomplish even better things when two different non-profits work together in helping others while helping each other.

Recently, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit and the Detroit Zoological Society have done just that! The Detroit Zoological Society has contracted with our organization to provide janitorial services for the upkeep of the buildings at the Detroit Zoo. We just started on April 21st and it is going very well.

Half of the 12 positions created by the contract will be filled on a full-time basis. Many of these individuals who will be working previously experienced barriers to employment. We also plan to fill the remaining five or six positions on a transitional basis to provide 90 to 180 days of paid work experience before those people are moved into other permanent jobs.

Ron Kagan, executive director of the Detroit Zoological Society, recently said that our Clean Downtown initiative, in which people in our training programs earn a living by maintaining a clean environment in Downtown Detroit, showed the zoo we had the experience to get the job done efficiently and cost effectively. We are very excited about this opportunity to collaborate with the Zoo, keeping the buildings Disney-like clean and providing jobs for those who need and want to work.

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