Goodwill was founded in 1902 by Rev. Edgar Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of "a hand up, not a handout," was born.
Dr. Helms' vision set an early course for what today has become a $5 billion nonprofit organization. Helms described Goodwill Industries as an "industrial program as well as a social service enterprise…a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted."
Today, Goodwill continues the legacy begun by Rev. Helms – offering employment services in communities across the United States through a network of Retail Stores and Donation Xpress Centers.