Michael Elder is retiring as president and CEO of Charlotte’s Goodwill on June 30.
He has led the nonprofit for more than 40 years.
Goodwill’s executive board will conduct a search for the next president & CEO with the assistance of local search firm Anderson & Associates and Goodwill Industries International Inc.
Elder began his career at Goodwill Industries of Charlotte in December 1976 – 11 years after its inception in 1965 – and soon changed its name to Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont to reflect the breath of its mission and scope of services to a region spanning North Carolina and South Carolina.
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Since that time, Elder has grown the organization from 61 employees to nearly 800, and expanded operations from two counties in North Carolina (Mecklenburg and Gaston) to operations in eight counties of North and South Carolina (Mecklenburg, Gaston, Lincoln, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Union, York, Lancaster).
Goodwill expanded its retail footprint from three stores in 1976 to 24 stores in 2017, and it grew from a $532,000 annual operating budget to more than $60 million annually.
In addition to its retail stores, the organization also launched five new business enterprises during Elder’s tenure to support the mission by generating revenue, creating jobs and offering job training.
He is among Charlotte’s highest paid nonprofit leaders, with annual salary and compensation of $370,490 in 2015, according to the most recently available 990 filed by Goodwill with the IRS
“Michael has been a remarkable servant leader in the region over the past 40 years, and we’re forever grateful for his service to our community,” said a statement from Sara Garces Roselli, chair of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.
“By dedicating his career to the mission of Goodwill, the organization has experienced tremendous growth, and in turn given hope to thousands of individuals living in poverty, who are working to achieve greater personal and economic independence.”
Perhaps the most significant achievement of Elder’s career with Goodwill came during the summer of 2016, when the organization opened the new Goodwill Opportunity Campus in west Charlotte.
The $22 million campus features the 160,000-square-foot Leon Levine Opportunity Center housing Goodwill’s resources, plus on-site nonprofit community partners – including Charlotte Metro Credit Union, Charlotte Community Health Clinic-West, Common Wealth Charlotte and The Center for Community Transitions – to provide wraparound services for clients under one roof.
Goodwill and its partner agencies address client barriers in health care, banking, financial literacy and transitional support services for individuals with criminal backgrounds. They work collaboratively to help clients achieve overall stability and self-sufficiency.
Currently, 81 percent of individuals seeking services at Goodwill had an average household income of less than $20,000, and 71 percent of those had an average household income of less than $10,000.
During Elder’s tenure, he was honored with a Diversity in Business Award as a “catalyst for change” by the Charlotte Business Journal in 2006.