Stanton’s Goodwill goes a long way
Stanton, a native of Omena, became involved in Goodwill when she and her husband, Steve, moved back to Leelanau County after several years in Farmington.
“My niece was doing some volunteering at the old Goodwill Inn, near Tom’s on Fourteenth Street. They were trying to fix the place up and my husband and I decided that we’d like to help. So we ‘adopted’ the kitchen,” she said. “That was our introduction to the Goodwill family.”
The goal of the organization is to “help people overcome barriers to independence.”
After that introduction Stanton and niece Heidi Hallett Treece followed up by organizing a party as a fundraiser for the non-profit, which moved into its new 80-plus bed homeless shelter in Traverse City in December 2006. But it wasn’t a successful endeavor.
“Our first fundraiser made $100 maybe,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘We have to be doing something wrong.’”
Whatever was wrong has been corrected. For in the years since, Stanton has been on the ground floor of planning numerous fundraisers that have resulted in thousands of dollars raised for Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan.
These include the Reinvention Convention in which participants create “art” entirely from items purchased at the Goodwill store. Teams then compete by getting votes at $1 each for their item.
In total, the “convention” raised $13,000 which went to Goodwill’s Workers on Wheels program, which provides the needy with transportation to get to and from work.
Another party cooked up by Stanton and niece raised $50,000 for Goodwill. The events have developed a reputation of not only being productive financially, but also producing a lot of laughs.
“I’ve always been fun and I want the events to be fun too,” she said.
Stanton, who has served nine years on the Goodwill board of directors, said part of the strategy is getting the word out about the need in the community.
“People will always give. They just need to be asked and told what the need is,” she said.
Stanton, who also organizes Goodwill’s “holiday needs” program both in Leelanau and Grand Traverse County, will no longer be on the board because of term limits. But she won’t be walking away.
“I’ll still be working with Goodwill. I’ll be doing the holiday needs program and I’m also working with Leelanau Christian Neighbors, which my husband is more involved in,” Stanton added.
One can see that volunteers play a huge role in supporting Goodwill. But the same is true for the county’s largest non-profit, the Leelanau Conservancy.
The group’s largest fundraiser, its annual picnic held earlier this month, raised $181,000.
“Volunteers are involved in every aspect of our picnic,” said Ann Shoup, Conservancy director of charitable giving.
She has a cadre of volunteers who are at the ready to respond when called upon. Like Stanton’s observation that people have to know about the need, Shoup has volunteers who help spread the word when funds are needed to complete a project, such as the Clay Cliffs property purchase north of Leland.
“When we have a lot of money to raise, I call upon a committee comprised entirely of volunteers, an action team,” Shoup said.
But asking is just part of the effort.
“We have volunteers who come in and make ‘thank you’ calls to our donors and ask if they have any questions about our project,” she said.
“There is no way I could do all this work by myself. I really couldn’t do it without volunteers.”