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What is Goodwill Industries?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 July 2014
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Goodwill Industries is a charitable organization based in the United States. Hundreds of community-based Goodwill affiliates all over the world provide a variety of services to clients of the organization, and Goodwill Industries has become internationally respected for its work. The primary goal of Goodwill Industries is the offering of job training services which are designed to empower clients, giving them “a hand up, not a hand out.”

This organization was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1902 by Reverend Edgar J. Helms. Originally, Goodwill collected damaged household goods like shoes, clothing, and furniture, hiring people with disadvantages to repair these goods and then selling them to the public or offering them to the people who had repaired them. Clients of Goodwill could get sales experience in Goodwill stores, or experience with repairs by working in Goodwill shops. As the organization grew and expanded, so did its mission and job training opportunities.

Clients of Goodwill Industries are generally people who are disadvantaged in some way. People with mental and physical disabilities benefit from training and assistance through Goodwill, as do people who have had limited access to education, individuals who are dependent on government assistance, older adults, and homeless people. By training people to work, Goodwill Industries hopes to reduce their reliance on charity, allowing clients to live independent lives.

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The organization receives much of its funding through donations and sales to Goodwill stores. These stores continue to offer retail training opportunities to Goodwill clients, along with an assortment of discounted goods to shoppers. Goodwill Industries also delivers and picks up donations with fleets of trucks emblazoned with the Goodwill logo, and the organization uses the funds it collects to help clients who need job training, job placement, and other assistance.

In the 1990s, Goodwill Industries also developed a contract work program, training clients to do filing, copying, and other routine tasks so that businesses with temporary employee shortages could use Goodwill clients. These contract and relief employees provide needed assistance to businesses while getting additional job experience, and in some cases, their work can develop into full-time positions.

Donating to Goodwill Industries is usually very easy in major cities, as Goodwill collection sites and stores are often established in multiple sites. Big donations can be picked up by truck, and people can also choose to donate cash to Goodwill. Goodwill stores offer a variety of goods at very affordable prices, and the organization also has an online auction site for people who prefer to do their shopping on the Internet.

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Discuss this Article

anon68852
Post 2

I totally agree with anon55653, having a child who has been their client for the last ten years off and on, and not a lot of success going on there in the employment field.

anon55653
Post 1

The article about Goodwill sounds like it was written by Goodwill staff. How about someone taking a hard look at what they do?

In my years of working with charities all over the northeast US, I have not seen any services provided by Goodwill. I'm not saying they don't do some service, but I don't see much result to warrant the millions upon millions I know they make from their recycling operations. Someone should take a hard look at where that money really goes.

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