Fund-raising milestone for Tacoma Goodwill Work Center

Tacoma Goodwill announced last week that longtime supporter Hugh S. Ferguson has given a $1 million gift to the organization for its new Work Opportunity Center. It’s the fourth $1 million-plus gift Goodwill has received toward the $20 million project. Tacoma Goodwill now has 70 percent of the funds needed for the building — up from 50 percent since unveiling plans in December 2007.
Ferguson was owner of Ferguson Construction, a Seattle-based construction company, and has previously donated the Goodwill store locations in Port Townsend and on 38th Street in Tacoma.
The 63,000-square-foot center will be located on Goodwill’s 6-acre campus at the corner of Tacoma Avenue and South 27th Street. The centerpiece of the project will be a Youth Career Development Center, involving 10 youth career and service agencies from across the area.
Goodwill’s approach to reach the $20 million project total includes a three-pronged strategy: $10 million from individuals, corporations and foundations; $4 million from government sources; and $6 million from the nonprofit agency’s own accumulated savings.
Of the $14 million target, Goodwill has received $8 million through the campaign’s lead gift phase. Ferguson’s gift adds to grants from the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as $1.5 million from the state of Washington.
According to Tacoma Goodwill CEO Terry A. Hayes, the project is on schedule for a summer groundbreaking. An update on programming in the building will take place May 6 at Goodwill’s Annual Awards Breakfast, celebrating the lives of clients and community partners.
The building will open in 2009 and immediately support Goodwill’s initiative to double the number of people served and increase by twice the number of people placed in jobs.
The new facility will be a LEED Silver certified “green” building and include a distance learning center with the ability to broadcast training programs across Goodwill’s 15-county service area. The facility will provide five times the space for training classrooms and nearly three times the space for an adaptive technology lab, teaching computer skills to people with disabilities.
“We’ve made our current building work for more than 40 years,” Hayes said. “The challenge now is to significantly expand our ability to provide job training services to the significant number of people with disabilities or disadvantages who need help going to work.”
The last capital campaign for Goodwill took place when its existing building was constructed in the mid-1960s. Tacoma Goodwill was founded in 1921 and has located its facilities in the Hilltop neighborhood since that time.