After 25 years, David Miller says his passion for changing lives – the “Goodwill Burn’’ – motivates him every day
HARRISBURG, PA – For David Miller, the new CEO of Goodwill Keystone Area who devoted the last 25 years of his life to helping those with disabilities get the job skills they need to lead independent lives, the “Goodwill Burn’’ he felt from day one remains hot.
“It’s the Goodwill Burn in your heart to help people with disabilities and disadvantages and see the life-changing effect our organization has on people,’’ said Miller, who became CEO in June. Goodwill Keystone, a $63 million nonprofit, serves and employs more than 6,000 people over 22 Southeast and Central Pennsylvania counties.
“When we sell donated items in our thrift stores or online, 92 percent of that money goes to fund programs and services that help people in our community,’’ Miller said. “We say we offer a triple bottom line: we provide a social return for our donors; we’re a self-sustaining organization that helps people find work; and through our job training we offer high-quality services to individuals and businesses.’’
Goodwill’s business solutions include custodial services and work crews for light manufacturing or packaging and assembly. Goodwill provides on-site training specialists to ensure all tasks are completed and meet standards.
Since June, Miller has been on a listening tour visiting all 47 retail stores, outlets, donation centers and offices that serve more than 3 million shoppers in Southeast and Central Pennsylvania each year. During that time, he has met with mission team staff, store managers, sales associates, material handlers, custodial team members and clients.
“We want to offer even more paychecks, benefits and career paths for people who have disabilities and disadvantages,’’ Miller said. “Goodwill’s growing online auction shopping platform, shopgoodwill.com, is another way the organization is always looking to provide relevant training and raise money to support its mission,” he said.
“As the world of retail changes, we are looking at how we can best take advantage of technology,’’ Miller said. “The world of work now includes e-commerce, which means we need to train our workers for that environment as well as in our brick-and-mortar stores.’’
Drawn to the mission of Goodwill to help people become self-sufficient, Miller was the CEO for fourteen years at Goodwill Industries of the San Joaquin Valley in Stockton, California. He served in the same leadership capacity at Goodwills in Waterloo, Iowa and Flagstaff, Arizona. Miller holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Rehabilitation from the University of Arizona.
When Miller started his Rehabilitation Major at the University of Arizona, he minored in sign language interpreting. Eventually, Miller served as an Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University where he instructed and developed an American Sign Language curriculum and has continued to use signing in his own career. In addition, Miller’s Southwest upbringing naturally connects him to the Latino culture and Spanish language.