Goodwill NYNJ Raises $200,000 at 2nd “Evening of Treasures”

Goodwill NYNJ Raises $200,000 at 2nd "Evening of Treasures"
(L-R) Goodwill’s Evening of Treasures host supermodel Paulina Porizkova and guest designer Gigi Burris.

Goodwill Industries® of Greater NY and Northern NJ (Goodwill NYNJ) through its second, and 1st in-person, annual “Evening of Treasures” event raised $200,000 to provide employment and behavioral health services for thousands of people with disabilities and other barriers in the New York City metropolitan region. The event, which celebrates sustainable fashion and the power of work, was hosted by legendary supermodel Paulina Porizkova, at the Tapestry Building in Hudson Yards in NYC on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Evening of Treasures included a festive thrift cocktail reception and fashion show of one-of-a-kind upcycled Goodwill creations by the Tommy Hilfiger brand, and designers Gigi Burris Millinery, Maxwell Osborne of anOnlyChild, and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School, as well as Design student Monica Palucci from SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). All garments featured in the fashion show, which were upcycled using textiles donated to Goodwill stores, were auctioned to benefit Goodwill services. In addition, the auction included a one-of-a-kind bag designed by designer Heron Preston as part of the HeronPreston x Mercedes collection. Experiences included Stylist session with Jacqui Stafford.

Revenue from the Goodwill Evening of Treasures, Goodwill stores and supports Goodwill NYNJ’s placement, training, on-the-job coaching, and retention services that support individuals with disabilities and other barriers on their journey to employment. Goodwill NYNJ also helps individuals with mental health conditions stay healthy and on the job.

In 2021, Goodwill NYNJ provided employment services for nearly 10,000 people who are unemployed or underemployed, almost half of them people with disabilities. Also last year, Goodwill NYNJ placed 821 people in jobs, including 549 individuals with disabilities, a 17% increase from the previous year, outside its stores at hospitals and health care centers, tech and accounting firms, the warehousing and manufacturing sectors, and NYC agencies.

The event’s upcycled red carpet featured, in addition to host Paulina Porizkova, Leonello Borghi and Sarah Hand of the Tommy Hilfiger brand, and guest designers, bold-faced named attendees in upcycled and second hand styled outfits including designers Willy Chaviarria, Calvin Klein; Yeohlee Teng; Shawn Pean, June79; Felita Harris and Aja McCoy, Harlem’s Fashion Row; Rinat Brobach; and Suzanne McKinsey, ABLEmade, as well as fashion industry insiders Steven Kolb and CaSandra Diggs, CFDA; Josh Peskowitz, #menswear; Fern Mallis; Linda Levy, The Fragrance Foundation; Lauren Singer, environmental activist, entrepreneur, and blogger; and Maria Torres-Springer, NYC Deputy Mayor among others.

The event feature stories of people with disabilities and other employment barriers who Goodwill NYNJ has supported on their journey to employment and independence for years or even decades. Individuals like Chshone, a 49-year-old man with an intellectual disability, who came to Goodwill at age 21, and thanks to the nonprofit’s services, got his first job and 3 decades later, continues to support him in his career.

Goodwill NYNJ’s environmental impact: In 2021, Goodwill NYNJ helped people re-purpose more than 40 million pounds of pre-loved clothing and home goods, successfully diverting them from the landfills. Its sustainable retail operations saved nearly 59k metric tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

According to The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) – a charity that works with governments, businesses and communities to improve resource efficiency – approximately 140m worth of clothing goes into landfill each year. Alice Wilby, a sustainable fashion consultant and spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion tells The Independent that this kind of reliance on landfill results in “wasting perfectly usable textiles, slowly leaking toxins into the earth and microfibers into the waterways” and contributes to methane emissions.

“At Gigi Burris Millinery, local, sustainable craftsmanship is the heart of our brand. With Goodwill NYNJ’s efforts to pour into their local community with employment opportunities and to foster sustainability by giving fashion items a second life, the partnership made perfect sense. It’s been a fun creative challenge to create a ready-to-wear look in addition to a hat – with the full ensemble created from upcycled Goodwill items,” said Gigi Burris.

“We were excited to join Goodwill’s Evening of Treasures since this is exactly what we do in our business. The process was quite fun, having access to the Goodwill stores to source the materials for these creations. We created these looks using needle punch, taking apart shirts to create new fabrics along with deconstructing. We wanted to push the envelope a bit with the items that we selected—all the shirtings, fleece, French Terry—to create looks that are true to both brands. It was a fun experience,” says Maxwell Osborne, co-founder & designer of Public School and founder of anOnlyChild.

“Goodwill’s Double Impact means that our stores have a positive impact on the environment and our community. Goodwill gives people the training and resources needed to get jobs and lead independent lives,” said Don Huber, chair of the Goodwill NYNJ Board of Directors. “‘What do you do?’ We ask this question because while our jobs may not define us, they can tell you about a person’s interests and passions. We don’t often think of the basic feelings of empowerment and self-worth that come from employment, unless and until we become unemployed. We think about that question all the time at Goodwill and we work to include an ever-growing number of New Yorkers who can answer the ‘what do you do?’ question with pride that Goodwill believed in them.”

“Goodwill offers programs that help people with disabilities like autism, people living with mental illness, and our many friends and neighbors who are unemployed or underemployed to receive training and assistance to find, get, and keep jobs,” said Katy Gaul-Stigge, president and CEO of Goodwill NYNJ. “Our retail stores help support these programs, but the fact is, we could not carry out our mission without philanthropic contributions from institutions and individual donors like you. Thank you for your time tonight, you all did such an amazing job of bringing the fun of thrift, the beauty of upcycling, with the meaning of social impact.”