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Our History

Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire was founded in 1974. We are one of the largest non-profit organizations in the North Bay Region encompassing Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Trinity counties.

Our mission is changing lives and strengthening communities through the dignity and power of work. Each year we serve over 2,000 clients in a variety of job training, recovery and life-skills programs for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

We rely on government funding and revenue generated from our retail stores to help support programs. When you make a donation or shop at Goodwill, feel good knowing you are helping put people to work.  


Goodwill History

Goodwill Industries has been working to provide people in need with a “chance, not charity” since being founded in 1902 by Reverend Edgar J. Helms in Boston’s South End. Helms collected used goods and clothing in wealthier parts of the city, then trained and hired the area’s poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold and proceeds paid the workers’ wages. Goodwill’s philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.

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.”

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