Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts by Rev. Edgar J. 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 hand out" was born. Since then, Goodwill Industries International has expanded to more than 182 cities in the United States and 34 foreign countries.
Although every Goodwill shares a common philosophy of assisting people with disabilities or other critical needs in their efforts to work, each Goodwill is autonomous, allowing the individual agencies to respond to the needs of their particular communities.
Established in Austin in 1958, Goodwill Central Texas, a private, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, has become a multi-dimensional non-profit deeply entwined with business and job growth, the environment, and the overall spirit of Central Texas. Goodwill empowers more than 13,000 people each year, helping them fulfill their potential, improve the lives of their families, and contribute to the growth of the community. Goodwill, in collaboration with an extensive network of practical, thoughtful assistance-providers, actively strives to broaden its scope of education, job training, and business services in alignment with the core mission of generating lifelong connections to work.