Longtime Goodwill & ABVI leader announces retirement

Sep 10, 2019

Gidget Hopf
Credit provided

There will be a new leader for Goodwill of the Finger Lakes and its affiliate, The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI)  in Rochester. The organization announced on Tuesday that longtime CEO Gidget Hopf will retire June 30, 2020 after nearly 34 years in the position.

Officials note that when Hopf joined the organization in 1986, ABVI was the only organization in a 7 county region providing comprehensive vision rehabilitation and employment for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Officials say the not-for-profit organization has grown into a $50 million social enterprise with 90 percent of its revenue self-generated by four employment creating businesses; Manufacturing, Food Service/Hospitality, Contact Center and Donated Goods/Retail. These businesses generate net profits to support the mission services of the organization as well as other organizational needs. Currently the organization has over 700 employees.

“Throughout my tenure, I’ve always challenged myself and others, asking what we can do to remove barriers so that we can achieve more and make greater impact in the lives of the people we serve,” said Hopf.

Hopf helped craft an affiliation with Goodwill Industries in 1994. Currently there are 10 retail stores, a Clearance Center and 10 donation centers in the Rochester and Syracuse areas.

Hopf will continue working to bring the first Excel Center to Rochester with the intention of providing adults who did not complete high school the opportunity to earn a regular high school diploma while gaining work credentials in high demand career fields.

William Barnecut-Kearns, Chair of the Board of Directors has announced that the Board has appointed Jennifer Lake, Vice President of Donated Goods/Retail and People Resources to the position of President effective October 21, 2019.

“Jennifer has proven that she is dedicated to the mission of our organization. She is a vibrant and fresh voice who is ready to build on our successes and take Goodwill of the Finger Lakes into the future,” said Barnecut-Kearns.

Lake, who joined Goodwill in 2007, serves on the Senior Leadership Team overseeing the People Resources and Donated Goods Retail Divisions. She is also the liaison to the Board of Directors for Strategic Planning. She consults on all organizational development, learning, and change management initiatives.