Goodwill Central Texas Receives Funding from REDF




Contact: Valerie Swift, Senior Director, Community Engagement, Goodwill Central Texas, 512.574.4242

Goodwill Central Texas Receives Funding from Federal Government’s Social Innovation Fund and the Venture Philanthropy Organization REDF

Goodwill Central Texas Will Employ More People and Help Build the Evidence Base with New Funds
  • Following a rigorous national competition, Goodwill Central Texas, which provides education, career-readiness training, career certification training, and social services, has been selected for the new portfolio of California-based venture philanthropy organization REDF, joining a national initiative to scale up the social enterprise field across the U.S. supported by the federal Social Innovation Fund.

  • Goodwill Central Texas is part of a growing field of innovative businesses in the U.S. called social enterprises. These are mission-driven businesses that hire and assist people willing and able to work, but who face multiple obstacles to employment; reinvesting their revenue to create more jobs, and providing support to employees that increase their economic mobility and long-term employment.

  •  This grant is part of a nationwide initiative supported in part by the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF), which has to date committed an unprecedented $14.5 million to REDF’s initiative. This is the largest federal investment ever in U.S. employment-focused social enterprises. 

AUSTIN (February 8, 2016) – Goodwill Central Texas has joined the new portfolio of the venture philanthropy organization REDF, backed by the federal government’s Social Innovation Fund. Goodwill Central Texas will receive multi-year grant funding and business advisory services, contributing to their vision of empowering 100,000 Central Texans to transform their lives through work. This funding will help Goodwill connect their job-ready program participants with employers in Williamson and Hays Counties.

To select the grantees, REDF held a rigorous national competition for social enterprises to receive grants of at least $100,000 annually for up to five years. More than 200 social enterprises from across 36 states submitted proposals but only 22 were selected. REDF has more than 18 years of experience providing funding and capacity building to employment-focused social enterprises in California. This is the first year the organization is expanding nationally to serve seven new cities, including the Austin area, while growing the strong base of social enterprises in California.

The selected organizations will employ thousands of people nationally by investing these new resources for business growth. At the same time, REDF will foster deeper collaborations with small, medium and large employers, philanthropy and government to catalyze and accelerate the growth of social enterprises in order to catalyze thousands of additional job opportunities.   

The mission of Goodwill Central Texas is generating lifelong connections to work. By connecting career-ready individuals with local employers, they are fulfilling their potential for long-term careers, lifting themselves and their families out of poverty, and creating generational change that will affect the economy of all of Central Texas.

Last year, an independent study by Mathematica Policy Research of seven social enterprises funded by REDF showed the impact of these businesses:  

  • Every $1 social enterprises spend returns $2.23 in benefits to society.
  • One year after starting work in a social enterprise, the income of people employed increased 268%, income from government benefits dropped from 71% to 24%, and housing stability tripled. 
  • Before being hired by the social enterprise, 25% of participants had never had a job and 85% did not have stable housing the year prior; 70% had been convicted of a crime.
  • Six months after transitioning out of social enterprise employment, two-thirds were still gainfully employed.

“The Social Innovation Fund provides new pathways for people who have faced significant barriers to employment, said Damian Thorman, Director of the Social Innovation Fund. “We are excited this award to Goodwill Central Texas, a subgrantee of REDF, will transform people’s lives by creating jobs using social enterprise solutions with funding from us.” 

“We’re honored and excited to be a part of the REDF family,” said Gerald Davis, President and CEO of Goodwill Central Texas. “These funds will allow us to move closer to achieving our vision of empowering 100,000 Central Texans to transform their lives through work. We’re especially excited to be able to expand our presence in Williamson and Hays Counties, to serve more individuals who want to better their opportunities with a long-term career path.”

 “REDF is investing in social enterprise growth because we believe right now is the game-changing moment when we can and must open up new opportunities to people who want to work and just need the chance to do so,” said REDF President Carla Javits. “We aim to catalyze the business community, philanthropy, government and nonprofits to work together to create job opportunities and hire people who need them, while developing an even more rigorous evidence base so that we can all do more of ‘what works best’ while developing a vibrant ecosystem that will have long lasting impact. We are grateful to the Congress and the Administration for supporting the Social Innovation Fund, to private donors and foundations that are stepping up to match this support, to the nonprofits that are taking the risk to create new business models, and most of all to the courageous men and women who are overcoming the odds, going to work and transforming their lives.”    

“I know nothing can stop me from being successful!” --Kristina

Life circumstances led to Kristina making some big mistakes that landed her in prison. After serving her time and being released, returning to a normal life seemed impossible for her. She wanted something better for her future and wanted to be a part of the community. She knew her best opportunity was through work, but because of her need to explain her past to potential employers, she struggled to find a job.

“I was lost. Then I went to Goodwill. I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t been there for me.”

Kristina is a perfect example of the transformative power of work, thanks to Goodwill. She’s just one of 100,000 people in Central Texas that needs help. Indeed, coming to Goodwill changed everything for Kristina.

In one year’s time, Kristina has graduated from The Goodwill Career and Technical Academy, was promoted at work, and is now married and expecting a new addition to her little family. Best of all, Kristina is on a career path to becoming an Administrative Assistant.

“I’ve learned so much in a year,” says Kristina. “Goodwill has completely changed my life, but you have to want to succeed. With work, I will always keep moving ahead.”

About Goodwill Central Texas:

Goodwill Central Texas is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to generating lifelong connections to work. Revenue generated through the sale of donated goods is used to fund education opportunities, career-readiness training, and placement services for Central Texans. For more information about Goodwill Central Texas or to learn more about The Goodwill Excel Center, a public  charter high school for adult students from 17-50, go to

Social Innovation Fund LogoThe Social Innovation Fund is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve.

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is a powerful approach to transforming lives and communities, an approach that positions the federal government to be a catalyst for impact – mobilizing private resources to find and grow community solutions with evidence of results. As part of the SIF program, REDF must match the federal funds dollar-for-dollar and again by the organizations they select to receive grants. To date, REDF has received Social Innovation Fund matching investments from private funders including Bank of America, the Kresge, Weingart, Annie E. Casey, Woodcock, California Wellness, F.B. Heron, Kellogg, San Francisco and California Community Foundations, The California Endowment, JP Morgan Chase, and many other foundations and individual donors. 

REDF logoREDF creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work – like young people who are disconnected from school or work, people who’ve been homeless or in prison, and people with mental health disabilities. Founded in 1997 by George R. Roberts (KKR), REDF provides funding and business expertise to mission-driven organizations to launch and grow social enterprises, which are businesses with a “double bottom line” that make money in order to employ people with multiple barriers to employment. REDF has helped over 10,000 people in California get jobs and find hope. Now REDF is taking best practices learned from 18 years of experience to grow their impact nationally and help thousands more people work, advance, and create a more stable future. For more information, visit To learn more about REDF’s portfolio organizations visit



No tags for this blog post.


Leave a Comment

Read our commenting policy

Name is required.
An email address is required.
Your comment is required.

Your comment will post upon approval.