The board of directors of Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries has hired Boardman native, Jim Freeze, to replace longtime executive director Mike McBride who is set to retire at the end of April. “I am pleased that the board has chosen someone like Jim who has the desire to be in our community and to continue with the tradition of helping people in our community through Goodwill’s programs and services,” says McBride. After a long and extensive search, Freeze was selected amongst a vast pool of candidates by Goodwill’s board of directors. Freeze officially began his new position with Goodwill on Wednesday, March 22. He will work alongside McBride, learning about his role and the organization, ensuring a smooth transition through Goodwill’s upcoming CARF accreditation process.
Freeze is a West Point graduate where he majored in psychology and minored in computer science. Upon graduation, he served in the United States Army for six years and completed two tours in Iraq. He settled in Raleigh, North Carolina where he worked at a recruiting firm, helping military veterans find jobs. Freeze later went on to help create Carroll’s Kitchen, a restaurant that employed women from various shelters in the Raleigh area. “Being a part of that organization, I grew an appreciation for how work and gaining employment can change a person’s life,” says Freeze.
With a desire to come back home, Freeze began looking for opportunities in the Valley. He moved back to Boardman with his wife Grace, also a West Point graduate and two sons. “I came back first because of family and second because I was hearing and reading about a lot of exciting things that were taking part in Youngstown that weren’t happening when I was here before, and I wanted to be a part of it,” says Freeze.
While looking at opportunities in the area, Freeze was drawn to the mission of Goodwill. “Goodwill appealed to me because it is a nonprofit that provides vocational training and employment opportunities. I had developed a firm appreciation for the value of work, the intangible and tangible skills that are developed through employment, and how it can provide hope and dignity to individuals,” says Freeze.
During his short time with Goodwill, Freeze has been spending time familiarizing himself with Goodwill’s operation, its staff, board and volunteers, as well as meeting community partners. “I am eager to apply my leadership skills and nonprofit experience to an established organization with a great reputation,” says Freeze.