The mission of Goodwill Industries of the Kanawha Valley, Inc . is to assist people with disabilities or those who are otherwise vocationally disadvantaged to achieve full participation and integration into society.
Goodwill International was founded at the turn of the century in Boston by Rev. Edgar Helms, a Methodist minister seeking ways to help residents in the city’s impoverished South End. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city; then trained and hired poor people and immigrants 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 hand out” was born.
The organization was formally incorporated in 1910. Known, at the time, as Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores, Inc. (a reflection of its headquarters in Boston’s Morgan Memorial Chapel), it provided job skills training programs, and even a rudimentary placement service. The name Goodwill Industries was later adopted after a Brooklyn, NY workshop coined the phrase.
Dr. Helms’ vision set an early course for what would one day become a $5.59 billion nonprofit organization. Helms described Goodwill Industries as both 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 is a network of 161 independent, local Goodwill agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Our client base has expanded to include people with developmental, physical, mental and emotional disabilities, as well as individuals with barriers such as: illiteracy, homelessness, advanced age, past substance abuse, lack of work experience or criminal history.