Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc.

aka Goodwill SWFL   |   Fort Myers, FL   |


Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by offering life-changing opportunities to achieve independence. Services are provided in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry and Glades counties in Southwest Florida.

Ruling year info



Mr John Nadeau

Main address

5100 Tice Street

Fort Myers, FL 33905-5203 USA

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NTEE code info

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

Employment Procurement Assistance and Job Training (J20)

Independent Housing for People with Disabilities (L24)

IRS filing requirement

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. is committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by offering life-changing opportunities to achieve independence. Goodwill SWFL serves those in Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry and Glades counties.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

MicroEnterprise Institute

Each year since 2010, the MicroEnterprise Institute has helped more than 100 aspiring entrepreneurs who have limited means by providing them with the skills to succeed in business and become self-sufficient. Using curriculum from the Kauffman Foundation designed for people with low to moderate incomes, a team of entrepreneurs are facilitators and coaches for participants as they create feasibility plans for their business ideas. The team’s commitment to graduates continues with mentoring and workshops. A bilingual team and resources help those who speak Spanish who also receive support to improve their English. Because of COVID-19, some course in 2020 were offered remotely and class size was restricted. The program will continue to modify its delivery to best serve those with limited incomes during and due to the pandemic. Courses offered in 2021 will be offered remotely until CDC guidance determines it is safe for groups to meet in person.

From 2010 to 2020, 869 participants have graduated from the 92 technical assistance courses delivered. For graduates from 2016 on, 70% are still in business and creating employment opportunities for an additional 110 individuals. Historically, the majority of participants (70 percent) have low, very low, or extremely-low incomes as defined by HUD.

Graduates of the MicroEnterprise Institute typically do not qualify and are not ready to apply for loans. Through partnerships with others, financial support is provided to some graduates to help with business development. From 2017 to 2020, as a trustee of the Kiva Zip nonprofit that provides crowdfunding loans, seven graduates have successfully raised $18,000. Goodwill SWFL provided a match of $1,125. (Until 2016, microloan guarantees of $71,000 was provided to 13 graduates.) Since 2016, the nonprofit MicroGrants has awarded 62 graduates with up to $1,500. These grants are awarded to those with low incomes for business development. Since 2018, Zonta Foundation of Sanibel-Captiva has provided $7,350 to support 12 women in Lee County with $500 in 2018 and $650 since then. (Zonta awards a grant that Goodwill SWFL then distributes.) In 2020, Truist provided $5,00 to award to five graduates with low incomes.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Pathways to Opportunity is a day training program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. PTO helps adults with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their outcomes of self-sufficiency and independence and experience new opportunities. The overall goal is for participants to gain and retain daily living skills, independence, confidence, and to be integrated into their community. Day training programs for adults with disabilities is a model that is nationally recognized as effective to accomplish individual outcomes. The class environment encourages the achievement of participants’ individual outcomes through class participation, peer support, friendship, and structured activities combined with opportunities for independent work and spontaneity.

The program emphasizes individualized, person-centered outcomes aimed at achieving and maintaining integrated lives in the community. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities should be able to live, work, and play in their local neighborhoods and communities. To this end, PTO is outcome-driven, focused on ensuring that training results in progress and achievement of the outcomes identified by program participants.

In response to the pandemic, PTO-2-GO was launched to allow people who wished to virtually participate in the program.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Pathways to Work offers job-focused options to receive training, increase job skills and abilities, and earn a paycheck. Trained job coaches work with youth (14-22) and adults (18+) to provide the support needed for success on the job. The services for youths and adults are provided through the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).

Coaching can include building job-specific skills, meeting productivity requirements, resume building, on-the-job training, career exploration, and social skill development in the workplace.

Youth Service Options (14-22 yrs):
Giving youth an opportunity to succeed ensures a better future for everyone. Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida provides vocational services to high school students with disabilities through VR On-the-Job Training opportunities.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Community Resource Centers (CRC, aka Job-Links) provide free hands-on assistance to all clients, no matter their skill to access the resources they require or their income. Training and coaching is also provided to increase the client’s ability to access these resources in the future. Computers and Internet access are provided.

The experienced Coordinator assists clients develop their resume, complete printed and online job applications, develop interviewing skills, and with job coaching. The Coordinator establishes relationships with local employers and searches for open positions then provide clients with information on these openings.

Family strengthening includes assisting in accessing Affordable Care (health insurance), SNAP (food stamps), Safe Link (phones), VITA (United Way’s tax preparation service), and many more. A small food bank of nonperishable items is located in some of the Centers. Goodwill store vouchers are provided to those who may, for example, need clothing for a job interview.

The Centers also provide opportunities to improve clients’ skills including obtaining certificates that improve their ability to obtain jobs or promotions. This training includes starting or strengthening a microenterprise, increasing digital literacy, culinary, auto repair, home-care companion, and other vocations through Career Campus (CNA, Adobe). The offerings are being increased to improve clients' employability.

Many social services both refer their clients and provide services to the clients who use the Center’s services. Other services that may be offered include job fairs, GED classes, English classes, home energy assistance (LLIHEAP), etc. Assistance to veterans is provided through a collaborative with many agencies and organizations.

Population(s) Served
Unemployed people

According to the 2019 Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey, adults without a postsecondary degree who hold a certificate or certification have higher full-time employment rates and have a higher median annual income than their peers with no credential. Many people seeking assistance from Goodwill SWFL were limited in their job opportunities due to a lack of credentials or certifications. The following programs were developed to address some of this barrier.
• 2010: MicroEnterprise Institute for aspiring entrepreneurs with limited incomes (described separately)
• 2015: Culinary Training with Kitchen Training and SafeStaff® Food Handler's Certification
• 2015: Automotive Service Excellence General Automotive and HVAC/Refrigerant Certification
• 2015: NEVCO Healthcare Education Home-Care Companion Certification
• 2018: Goodwill Digital Training Center with 12 certificates from NorthStar added in 2019
• 2020: CareerCampus and others

Community Resource Centers (Job-Links) provide one-on-one job assistance, family strengthening services, and digital and vocational training. Resources are available to those who can work independently but need access to a computer with Internet. Goodwill SWFL values and strongly relies on collaborative partnerships in the communities we serve. Community partnerships have created an ease of access and referral for individuals, thereby connecting them with the services they need for sustainable long-term solutions.

The following programs were developed to help those who lack credentials or certifications.

Culinary Training with Kitchen Training and SafeStaff® Food Handler’s Certification prepares participants for careers in the food industry. The training is held in the community center of Pine Manor, a neighborhood in Fort Myers. The center has a commercial kitchen (dedicated in April 2013) that accommodates ten students. An additional five students may take the one-day training for the Food Handler’s Certification. (Florida law requires the Food Handler’s Certification as a prerequisite for all food-industry employees.) A local chef teaches the courses, incorporating fresh produce from the Pine Manor community garden. The training includes soups and stocks; poaching, frying, braising and roasting chickens; making pasta; salads and dressings; sauces and emulsification; kitchen etiquette and lingo, portioning, sanitation, knife skills, food handling, professionalism and resume preparation. The training ends with the preparation of lunch for 20 people.

The hospitality and leisure industry, including food service, offers high demand employment opportunities for those who don’t have advanced degrees or who may have other barriers to employment. The industry also provides many opportunities for advancement, often within a year and within two years for management responsibilities.

From 2015 to 2019, 25 courses have been offered: 18 for adults and seven for teenagers. The trainings for adults have been offered for varying lengths of time but are now two weeks. In 2020, due to the pandemic, two one-day courses were offered at a larger venue with 25 people receiving SafeStaff® Food Handler’s Certification. The commitment to the participants doesn’t end with the training. They often use the services of the Resident Coordinator to find employment, advancements, and to start their own business. The goal is to raise funds to continue to offer three culinary trainings a year and possibly two additional trainings for the food handler’s certificate (culinary training) and one training for the manager’s food safe certificate.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and General Automotive HVAC/Refrigerant (G1) Certification Credentialing Course has been taught by Pam Oakes, nationally syndicated radio host of the popular radio program Car Care for the Clueless. She partners with Goodwill SWFL to provide 15 people in each course with training in oil, lube, and filter change basics, automatic transmission, manual transmission, steering gear and suspension, brakes, auto HVAC, electrical, and a final ASE review. ASE Certification is a national standard, designed to protect the automotive service consumers and shop owners by producing highly qualified and skilled automotive technicians. The course had been offered seven times from 2015 to 2017 and were offered three times in 2019 and 2020 as three-hour classes held once a week for five weeks. Due to COVID-19, the courses were offered remotely with 12 obtaining ASE certificates. Two courses are planned for 2021. Additional auto service courses are in development.

NEVCO, a recognized nationwide provider of healthcare education, donated a home-care companion education program to Goodwill SWFL in 2015. The six-part training, taken independently, covers client relations, effective communication skills, cultural diversity, healthcare competency, interactive skills, cognitively impaired clients, household administration, strategy, safety and caregiver proficiency, Alzheimer’s Disease, OHSA Standards, and blood-borne pathogens. In 2020, 12 certificates were awarded. Those who complete the certificate have an advantage when applying for jobs in the health care industry.

Goodwill SWFL began offering digital training at the Community Resource Centers in July 2018 by offering free access to computers, the Internet, training, and proctoring for those seeking certificates. This program addresses the Digital Divide, ensuring that those with limited or no access to equipment and training are provided an opportunity to learn and enhance digital skills to increase digital skill literacy required for their lives (health records, banking, etc.) and for careers. Goodwill SWFL also offers online digital training with gcflearnfree, which offers training in skills essential to living and working in the 21st century, and Skills to Succeed Academy, an innovative online employability learning solution.

In 2019, Goodwill SWFL became a certified assessment center for the Northstar Digital Literacy Project. Through online, self-guided modules, this project assesses basic skills needed to perform tasks on computers and online with up to 12 certificates in basic computers, productivity software, and Internet use. In 2020, training was provided in one or more levels to 3,969 individuals with 72 receiving certificates. Of these, 526 either obtained a job or career advancement following the training.

According to a recent Pew study, only 70% of the households in Southwest Florida had a computer, and only 29% had a broadband Internet subscription. According to the American Community Survey 2014-2018, across the five-county region, 31.7% of the households don’t have Internet. According to a study by the University of Kansas titled Barriers to Technology Adoption, socioeconomic status, age, and ethnicity are contributing factors to the Digital Divide. It is critical Goodwill SWFL provide free access and training to reduce this divide. Jobs requiring digital skills command higher wages, on average paying more than $20 per hour, which is sufficient to move many families above household survival budget threshold and toward economic self-sufficiency.

Even for the employed, across all industries, according to New Digital Landscape, data show that 31 percent of workers lack digital skills with 13 percent having no digital skills and 18 percent have limited skills.

Career Campus is a vocational training platform that provides comprehensive online training in several fields of study to help prepare for national certifications. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, Goodwill SWFL purchased a license (Jan. to Dec. 2020) with Career Campus to expand certification programs offered, including Adobe software, healthcare (CNA), hospitality, housekeeping, QuickBooks, coding/web design, and more. Additional partnerships will be created to provide hands-on experience. One partnership already formalized with Marantha Home Care will provide work experience for CNAs. In 2020, 316 vocational certificates were awarded.

According to another Gallup survey, 49% of U.S. workers with a high school education and a professional certification—but no other postsecondary education—are most likely to be in a “good job.”

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Thousands of residents in SWFL experienced total devastation because of hurricane Ian, with demolished and/or flooded homes, causing mold and all their personal belongings left in ruins. Many people are left homeless and without basic necessities. Immediately following the hurricane, Goodwill SWFL began issuing vouchers to people in critical need, who lost everything due to the storm. People did not even have any clothes to wear to work or school in the following weeks. Starting over, those severely affected by the hurricane need to acquire new personal and household items. As people transition out of friends/family members’ homes and/or shelters into their own place of residences again, Goodwill SWFL is committed to helping people begin rebuilding their lives. Community members who are displaced and/or have lost their belongings are selected to receive vouchers for $25, up to $100 per family. Vouchers are distributed in partnership with local and state agencies.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Victims of disaster
Children and youth
Unemployed people

The Mobile Center brings access to community resources, employment assistance and soft skills training to vulnerable populations. Since June 2014, it has been driven to neighborhoods and events almost daily, helping people overcome significant barriers to self-sufficiency by removing transportation obstacles. The Mobile Center has played a crucial role in assisting individuals affected by the devastating impacts of hurricanes and the global pandemic.

The Mobile CRC can provide help with:
Employment services and placements
College FAFSA
Application assistance
- Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)- College financial aid
- Automated Community Connection to Economic Self Sufficiency - (ACCESS) - Florida benefits
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)- Food Stamps
- Affordable Care (health insurance)
- Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) -free cell phone and reduced service
- Volunteer Income Tax

Population(s) Served
Multiracial people
People of African descent
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) 2017

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) 2020

Affiliations & memberships

Qlarant 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, People with disabilities, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Goodwill SWFL Digital and Vocational Training and Certificates

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

33165 unique individuals with disabilities or disadvantages served through two core programs: employment and work skills training and services for persons with disabilities.

Number of participants who gain employment

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Goodwill SWFL takes the exhortation of Goodwill Founder Dr. Edgar J. Helms to heart: "be dissatisfied with your work until every person in your community has an opportunity to develop to his fullest usefulness and enjoy a maximum of abundant things."

According to United Way’s ALICE Report, nearly half of the population live paycheck to paycheck. According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, nearly a third of all Americans also cycle in and out of poverty. Poverty harms individuals, families, communities, and the economy. The path to addressing poverty requires an individualized plan to meet each client where they are, tackling their most critical needs first (e.g., food, shelter) and preparing them for an improved future (e.g., training and certificates).

Our broad strategy is to value the contribution of individuals with disabilities and disadvantages by investing in their skills being developed for life enrichment and success with self-sufficiency.

Goodwill SWFL mission programs are committed to helping people achieve financial independence.
-Maintained Highest Standards through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) Accreditation (three-year accreditation awarded to March 2023). Twice we have been awarded the highest level of accreditation for a period of three years. Achieving accreditation requires a service provider to commit to quality improvement, focus on the unique needs of each person the provider serves, and monitor the results of services.
-More than 33,165 unique individuals were served in 2022.

We have experienced substantial growth providing Goodwill services across Southwest Florida. In the founding year of 1966, we started in Lee County with one store manager and three employees. Since that time, our services expanded into the five counties of Southwest Florida, Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry.

In 2022, Goodwill SWFL Community Support Services assisted 33,165 people in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades counties by providing life-changing opportunities to prepare for and locate employment, access essential social services, and to connect with resources to attain self-sufficiency and independence.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Goodwill SWFL primarily serves adults with disadvantages and disabilities in Southwest Florida.

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.)

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve


Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/09/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr Michael Sullivan

Gargiulo Inc.

Board co-chair

Ms. Catherine Speer


Daniel Adams

Robert Arnall

Bernardo Barnhart

Sharlene Dozier

George T. Mann


Michael McKinley

Chico Rivera

Joseph Spielman

William McDaniel

John Meyer

Michael Sullivan

Juan Bendeck

Catherine M Speer

Hugh Kinsey

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/12/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/11/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.