The Opportunity Gala: An Evening of Miracles

On Saturday, September 10, 2016, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont celebrated the opening of the new Leon Levine Opportunity Center at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus with an evening gala.

It was an evening filled with gratitude, music, dinner and hors d’oeuvres prepared by Community Table Bistro, as well as a very special announcement. Emcee Francene Marie Morris, Public Affairs Director of Beasley Media Group and Host & Producer of “The Francene Marie Show,” introduced the speakers and shared her passion for the Goodwill mission.

During the course of the program, Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown of Novant Health lead the invocation, while Goodwill board member Helen Eggers of Bank of America and Goodwill’s President & CEO Michael Elder extended warm welcomes and expressions of gratitude.

The theme of Michael’s message was one of “miracles.” The team members, partnerships, clients we serve, volunteers and support from our community have all provided the foundation for miracles as the vision for the Goodwill Opportunity Campus was evolving.

As Michael stated, “While miracles have brought the campus to life, it is the miracle of lives transformed that inspired the original vision and will continue to be our North Star. There is no one client story that defines the Opportunity Campus. Rather it is a tapestry of lives woven together…those of our clients, our team members and our volunteers…all giving testament to the words of Marcus West, “To turn a dream into reality requires a moment in the present when the hope of the future becomes greater than the fears of the past.”

Board member Reggie Isaac, Director of the Charlotte Campus for Microsoft Corporation, accentuated Michael’s words and the joy in the room when he made a special announcement that Microsoft was awarding a software grant valued at $4.2 million to Goodwill. The software will outfit more than 60 meeting spaces, classrooms and workspaces at our job resource centers in Charlotte, Gastonia and Rock Hill with up-to-date software, allowing us to bridge the digital divide in the region.

After the announcement, Shell Richardson, owner of Elegant Connexions, 2006 Goodwill Hospitality & Tourism skills training course graduate and current Goodwill board member; as well as Demarcus Johnson, a participant in our Career Leadership Academy for Youth (CLAY) program, shared their experiences with Goodwill. Their words illustrated the power of Goodwill’s mission and the impact our team members have in Changing Lives Through the Power of Work! 

Beautiful music then filled the room in tribute as the C.N. Jenkins Presbyterian Church Choir sang a “Song of Gratitude,” penned by LaRita Barber, Senior Vice President of Community Engagement at Goodwill. The celebration culminated with desserts, dancing, and entertainment provided by the Voltage Brothers.

Thank you to everyone whose generous support makes a difference in our mission and the lives of those we serve. You are continuing to cultivate miracles, and our community is reaping the benefits. As we approach 2017 together, we are looking forward to more ways to cultivate, inspire and celebrate the wonderful miracles to come.

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