Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston’s South End by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister.
Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired the poor and immigrants to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them.
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. Dr. Helms’ vision set an early course for what would one day become a .2 billion nonprofit organization, an industrial program as well as a social service enterprise, and a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability.
Visit Goodwill Insdustries International, Inc. for more information.