GOODWILL® CELEBRATES 115 YEARS OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Goodwill has been popping tags and changing lives since 1902. Watch the story now on YouTube.
ROCKVILLE, MD, May 11, 2017 — In 1902, a Methodist minister with a burlap sack had a bold new idea about how to help people find jobs and provide for their families. More than a century later, that idea has evolved into a more than $5 billion social enterprise that has radically transformed the way we think about helping people to help themselves. Goodwill is thrilled to celebrate this rich history with the release of a new online video marking the nonprofit’s 115-year anniversary.
Using historical footage spanning decades since its humble beginnings, juxtaposed with images of modern-day Goodwill program participants, “115 Years of Goodwill,” demonstrates how one of the world’s foremost nonprofit organizations has grown while providing opportunity for millions of people to find jobs, earn paychecks and build their careers.
The Goodwill Timeline
Boston-based Reverend Edgar J. Helms is appalled by conditions facing new immigrants, and how little is being done to help them find jobs. Going door to door with a burlap sack, he asks Boston’s wealthiest residents to donate clothes in need of repair. He then employs people to mend the clothes for a daily wage, and sells the items back to the community. Goodwill’s mission is born.
The Instituto de Buena Voluntad, Goodwill's first international affiliate organization, was founded in Uruguay to cope with the problem of seasonal unemployment in the leading industry - livestock. Like its American predecessors, they handed out bags for the locals to fill with clothing and other used items that were then fixed and sold to create jobs and support the organization.
After successfully expanding to communities nationwide, when the stock market crashes, local Goodwill organizations across the country step in to provide clothing and other goods to thousands of people in need.
During WWII, local Goodwill organizations assist the war effort by putting people to work at home, and by collecting donations and goods that can be turned into equipment for the Army.
As many injured servicemen and women return home and experience trouble transitioning back to civilian life, community-based Goodwill organizations help these men and women find gainful employment. Goodwill’s commitment to helping veterans find work remains a vital part of the organization’s mission to this day.
The now-iconic “Smiling G” logo is designed by Joseph Selame to represent the Goodwill name and the smiles that come from helping people to help themselves.
The first Goodwill drop-off donation center opens, as millions of people become accustomed to bringing their household goods and clothing to Goodwill.
Goodwill launches shopgoodwill.com®, an online auction site featuring items donated to Goodwill, which brings Reverend Helms’ mission into the digital age.
Every year, millions of people donate to Goodwill and each local organization uses those donations to fuel a social enterprise that connected more than 313,000 people across the United States and Canada with employment just last year.
“It’s important to never forget how powerful and impactful a simple idea can be,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “It’s been 115 years since Reverend Helms went door to door with a burlap sack in Boston, but his vision of helping people reach their full potential through the power of work has never been more relevant.”
Respect the burlap sack. How a minister with a bag and a bold idea created @GoodwillIntl 115 years ago. Tweet
About Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 162 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. GII is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the organization’s highest rating for charities. GII was also ranked by Enso as the #1 brand doing the most good in the world, and was the only nonprofit brand rated in Forbes’ 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years. Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that create job training programs, employment placement and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,200 stores collectively and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Local Goodwill organizations also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding.
Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed more than 313,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 34 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills, and more than 2 million people received in person services. To learn more, visit goodwill.org.
For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at Goodwill.org or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl or Instagram: GoodwillIntl.
Senior Director, Public Relations
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5266