CSUF dignitaries at Orange County Goodwill

From left to right, Dean Sri Sundaram, Nicole Suydam, Mike Daniel and Chris Swarat at Goodwill of Orange County.

Nicole Suydam, president and CEO of Goodwill of Orange County, needed funding to keep a staff of 1,400 employed during the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While Goodwill’s mission of job training and employment-placement services for the underprivileged is more relevant than ever, the Santa Ana-based chapter of the national organization, like many nonprofits and social enterprises, was facing funding pressures wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Suydam reached out to U.S. Congressman and Titan alumnus Lou Correa ’80 (economics) after having been turned down for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Correa in turn referred Goodwill of Orange County to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), an on-campus center housed within the CSUF College of Business and Economics. Experts at access to capital and specifically on federal disaster funding options such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and PPP, the SBDC utilized their resources to help Goodwill OC access $10 million in PPP funding. This funding has allowed Goodwill of Orange County to keep its pre-COVID staff of almost 1,400, employed during the pandemic.

“Our Centers of Excellence, which includes the SBDC, does great work to provide positive impact in the community. This is another wonderful example of how our SBDC was able to provide Goodwill of OC with timely support to secure the PPP funding,” says Sri Sundaram, dean of the College of Business and Economics.

Expanding a Legacy of Support to the Nonprofit Sector

Mike Daniel, regional director of SBDC, says the resources and connections the center assisted Goodwill of Orange County with is part of its efforts to bolster the nonprofit sector during the recent crisis. “We were mostly known for our support of for-profit startups and small businesses, but during the pandemic, we’ve been at the forefront of helping nonprofits access federal and state capital, which has been a critical need,” says Daniel. “Programs like the SBDC exist at Cal State Fullerton to assist the community with resources, such as access to the Paycheck Protection Program. When businesses and nonprofits needed assistance the most, CSUF and its Centers of Excellence have been here to support them.”

Resilience has been essential for nonprofits in these uncertain times, and Daniel notes that Goodwill of Orange County has been a leader and role model. “They have continued their business operations as a reseller during COVID, but they’ve also been able to pivot during the pandemic and create new sales channels such as, they started selling items online,” he notes. “Their model is ever-changing and they continue to adapt to meet the needs of their community.”

A Firsthand Look at the Goodwill Impact

In appreciation for the support, Suydam invited Daniel, Dean Sridhar Sundaram and Associate Dean, Chris Swarat to a behind-the-scenes tour of Goodwill’s Santa Ana facilities on Aug. 16.

Highlights included touring the nonprofit’s technology store, featuring high-quality and gently used devices, such as PlayStations, gaming consoles and computers, and the open auction.

Daniel particularly noted Goodwill’s impact on those less fortunate and the nonprofit’s wide reach.  “We got a chance to see some of their workforce development programs in person and it was amazing to experience. One program that was highlighted during the tour was a program between Goodwill OC and the Department of Corrections that utilizes Goodwill workers with disabilities, who were preparing packaged foods for some of the local jails. It was part of a contract Goodwill OC has with the Department of Corrections,” says Daniel.

For More Information

Whether you’re planning to open a small business, have an enterprise that has served the Southern California community for generations, or are a nonprofit or social enterprise, the SBDC may provide mentoring, advice, strategic planning and access to capital.

Learn more about SBDC online. Or read more of our articles on SBDC and its mission and impact.