What Is Goodwill?

Home, Home & Family
on March 3, 2012

Goodwill Industries International Inc. is an international charitable organization. For more than 100 years, Goodwill has provided education, training and job placement opportunities for people who need help. This may include people with disabilities, a limited work history, someone who has experienced corporate downsizing or anyone on a government support program, states Goodwill.

History. The Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister, founded Goodwill Industries in 1902 in Boston. He believed that “the way out of poverty is productive work. People deserve to be able to work. People need a chance, not charity.” The reverend employed this philosophy by creating a social program where the disadvantaged were trained and given jobs instead of gifts. Goodwill Industries has not changed much in its 100-plus years of helping people. It still collects gently used items and sells them in their thrift stores at a reduced price, while helping people develop work skills necessary to survive and thrive.

Membership. In 2010, Goodwill Industries helped more than 170,000 people earn jobs. Jobs can include retail experience working in a Goodwill Thrift Shop, as well as work in the fields of food service, manufacturing, health care, banking and more. Goodwill works with area businesses to help individuals develop specific job skills and then secure job placement. Goodwill has served more than 2.4 million people with its employment and training programs. The organization serves people who need help, including people with disabilities or criminal backgrounds, senior citizens, youth, immigrants, and veterans and military families.

Training. Individuals received personalized training and guidance through the Goodwill job placement programs. At a Goodwill career center, you can receive help creating a resume, practicing for job interviews and other tips for successful job placement. Goodwill provides training for individuals in need of job skills. You can even earn a paycheck while training by working in a Goodwill temporary job. The organization helps individuals connect with prospective employers for long-term employment as well.

Funding. Goodwill has more than 2,500 thrift shops as well as an online auction site. In 2010, its revenue equaled $4 billion. It also tallied 74 million donations. In that same year, Goodwill spent 84 percent of its total revenue directly on its programs.

Locations. To find a Goodwill store in your area, visit the home page of Goodwill Industries at Goodwill.org. On the right side of the page, you will find a box titled “Find Your Local Goodwill.” Simply type in your ZIP code and click enter.

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