Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 in Boston by Reverend Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms started Goodwill with the idea that people could earn a living repairing and selling donated goods. His business model was rooted in the philosophy that a job was better than a handout. “Not charity, but a chance,” he always said.
Helms began his mission going door to door with burlap bags asking wealthy Boston residents to donate clothing. He then hired and trained people in need—many of whom were considered unemployable because they had disabilities—to repair, mend and clean the donated items so that they could be sold in thrift stores. The movement flourished and the Goodwill method of helping people earn employment was born.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont opened its doors in 1965 as an independent Goodwill affiliate agency with fewer than 20 employees. Today we are proud to be a 21st century leader in regional workforce development and employer of more than 900 people. Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont is a nonproﬁt organization that connects people to opportunities to ﬁnd gainful employment and meaningful work. Through its 25+ retail stores, the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, and partnerships with employers and other organizations, Goodwill builds pathways for members of the community to uncover their passions, enhance their skill sets, and achieve more for themselves and their families—creating a brighter future for all.