How Goodwill Got Its Start

Goodwill has been providing opportunities to those who face difficult obstacles in their lives for more than 100 years. Ever since our organization was founded by the Rev. Edgar Helms in Boston back in 1902, we’ve worked to follow our organizational mission – to give people with barriers to employment job skills training through a positive work experience.

Helms started Goodwill by gathering unwanted used goods from Boston’s wealthy and taking those goods to poor parts of town to train and hire laborers to repair the goods and clothing. Little did the reverend know that his successful outreach would soon become one of the world’s largest and most successful not-for-profit organizations.

Today, Goodwill trains and employs workers on five continents, and more than 165 independent member organizations operate in North America alone. Almost 1 million people benefit from Goodwill’s employment programs.