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Goodwill® - Leader of Global Learning Initiative Recognized

Dennis McLain Receives Watkins Award for Mission Advancement

DURHAM, N.C., July 10, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Dennis McLain, president, and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina (GIENC) and the Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF) was named the recipient of the 2019 Watkins Award for Mission Advancement.

McLain and GIENC spearheaded the development of the GCF Global Learning Initiative in 1992. GCFLearnFree.org® provides free computer, adult literacy and life skills training to anyone seeking to grow their knowledge and improve their qualifications. The online learning portal serves the people of eastern North Carolina and has expanded to 78 other local Goodwill's in North America, and many other organizations around the globe.

"I'm passionate about elevating the lives of people," says McLain. "I believe that education plays a great role in shaping our future and provides the knowledge and skills that everyone deserves. I literally wanted to create opportunities for a better life, and I moved beyond words to be recognized for this initiative."

Last year, the program served more than 24 million people through lessons, videos, and apps in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Specific topics include English, basic math, technology, financial literacy and life skills in areas like nutrition, transportation, and safety.

"This innovative service is changing the game for millions of people trying to build better lives for themselves and their families," said Steven C. Preston, president, and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Dennis has demonstrated the vision, leadership, and commitment to create and expand a unique model of service that brings learning and digital literacy to people around the globe."

When McLain came to GIENC in 1982, the organization was struggling financially and served only a small portion of the state. Today there are more than 40 employment centers throughout the region and the operation is expanding.

"Anyone who knows Dennis knows that he has never met an obstacle he cannot surmount, go around or simply push through. He is tenacious, to say the least," said John Stump, board chair of Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina. "Many of the people we serve face serious obstacles to employment, and they have an advocate and a friend in Dennis McLain."

Goodwill Industries International presents the Watkins Award annually to a Goodwill leader — CEO, staff or volunteer — who has made an innovative contribution to the advancement of the organization's mission.

About Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF®)

Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF®) continues to be a leader in an era of change by providing the training required for the emerging world where technology is integrated into everyday life. The mission of GCF® is to create and provide education, employment and life enrichment opportunities regionally, nationally and internationally for people who desire to improve the quality of their lives.

A Durham-based tax-exempt organization, GCF® provides employment, fresh produce and volunteer opportunities, family services for parents with children with disabilities and free accounting services to youth programs across eastern North Carolina. GCFLearnFree.org and GCFAprendeLibre.org have provided free lessons for people in North Carolina since 2010 to improve their technology, math and English skills.

All GCF programs are funded through revenue generated from the value of donated items to 40 Goodwill Community Foundation stores throughout eastern North Carolina. GCF employs more than 400 people who earn an average of $20 per hour with benefits at these stores. For more information on GCF®, visit http://www.GCFGlobal.org.