Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina recently marked its 90th anniversary, and its mission now is the same as it was in 1926.
“Back then, a small group of individuals in the John Wesley Clay Sunday School Class of Centenary United Methodist Church raised $500 to buy a Ford Model T and a three room building on East Fifth Street, according to church documents. Their goal was to help people with employment barriers become more self-sufficient, so they collected unwanted items from the community and then persons with disabilities and disadvantages repaired and resold the items,” said Jaymie Eichorn, Goodwill Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “Goodwill’s philosophy of ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ started with the first Goodwill in Boston in 1902. Goodwill began in Winston-Salem using that same philosophy and 90 years later, we still hold true to that mission.”
Over the years, Goodwill has weathered the Great Depression, several major recessions, and two World Wars. Yet through it all, Goodwill has remained strong, thanks to community support and strategic partnerships with other nonprofit agencies and local employers.
Today, Goodwill serves 31 counties in which residents can donate items at over 50 attended donation centers and shop at 48 stores. The revenue generated through Goodwill’s retail and recycling operations funds 18 workforce development centers that serve more than 35,000 people each year. Goodwill itself employs more than 1,100 people at its corporate headquarters, stores, donation centers, and career centers.
“For more than nine decades, Goodwill has advocated for persons with disabilities,” said Goodwill President and CEO Art Gibel. “But today, our job training and workforce development services extend to every population, including youth, veterans, former offenders, displaced professionals, and other individuals seeking education and training to create a better future for themselves and their families.”
“Goodwill started in a small building in downtown Winston-Salem with a big goal,” said Eichorn. “Since then, we’ve expanded our services and grown our mission to meet the changing needs of the communities we serve, but we remain true to our founders’ goal of helping people reach self-sufficiency through education and employment.”