Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister, founded Goodwill Industries in 1902 in Boston’s South End. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired the area's poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold and the proceeds paid the workers' wages. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of "a hand up, not a hand out" was born.
The organization, formally incorporated in 1910 and housed in Boston's Morgan Memorial Chapel, became known as Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores, Inc. It provided job skills training programs and even a rudimentary placement service. The name "Goodwill Industries" was later adopted after a Brooklyn, NY, workshop coined the phrase.
Helms described Goodwill Industries as an "industrial program as well as a social service enterprise ... a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted."
Helms pioneered an organization that gave people hope, dignity and independence. His social innovation set in motion a worldwide movement that would transform more than 5 million lives over the course of a century - all through the power of work.
Locally, Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire, Inc. was established in 1974 through the committed efforts of a group of community leaders who recognized the need for vocational training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Throughout the decades, Goodwill has stayed focused on this mission, while expanding and improving services to meet the new and emerging needs of the diverse people and communities now served by the agency.
Today there are over 200 autonomous Goodwill Industries located throughout the United States, Canada, and 23 other countries.
For more information about Goodwill Industries International Inc., visit www.goodwill.org
"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others,