Goodwill Industries of Arkansas
City: Little Rock
Category: Nonprofit Executive of the Year
Brian Itzkowitz has overseen the expansion of Goodwill’s presence around the state and its mission services since arriving in Arkansas in 2008. More education and employment training accompanied the additional facilities.
The number of people served by Goodwill Industries of Arkansas grew from 1,060 in 2008 to more than 5,000 in 2011. Since 2008, the organization created more than 200 jobs and job placement for more than 1,000.
“Job development and job training have always been at the heart of our mission,” Itzkowitz said.
Helping people exiting the prison system successfully transition into the job market is a point of pride for the organization.
“Our failure rate is under 10 percent, whereas the state average is over 40 percent,” he said. “We’re able to make a big impact in these people’s lives and their communities.”
He was drawn to the Goodwill model of giving people a hand up, not a handout, and helping them overcome barriers to independence.
Itzkowitz didn’t have any trouble making the management move from for-profit retail operations to nonprofit enterprise.
Prior to joining Goodwill, he worked for three retail chains (Rite Aid drugstore, Blockbuster and Hollywood Video) after graduating from the University of Miami in 1989 with an international finance and marketing degree.
“I’m doing what I did in the for-profit world, but I’m able to help people in the community and see the fruits of our labors,” Itzkowitz said.
Before coming to Arkansas, he served with Goodwill as director of retail operations in Baltimore in 1998-2003 and vice president of retail operations in Fort Myers, Fla., 2003-08.
Itzkowitz thrives on individual Goodwill stories of helping people get their financial legs beneath them and get their lives in order. “I could not imagine doing anything else,” he said.
2012 marks the 85th anniversary of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas.