What Is Goodwill?

Goodwill is a donation and resale store that accepts new or gently used items such a clothing, glassware, furniture and jewelry. The revenue made from the resale or auctioning of these goods goes towards Goodwill Industries International's educational and support services. Each store stocks approximately 2,000 goods on its shelves each day and additionally sells goods via its shopping website, ShopGoodwill.com.

Goodwill stores are part of Goodwill Industries International, a non-profit organization that offers programs and assistance for job seekers who have specialized needs, such as veterans, seniors, people with a criminal history, people with disabilities and young people. The organization offers services such as donated goods stores, English language training, educational programs, transportation and child care.

In 1902, Reverend Edgar J. Helms founded Goodwill in Boston, Massachusetts. The Methodist minister organized used goods and clothing from wealthy city residents and hired poor residents to mend and repair the goods. Those residents who didn't know how to make the repairs received training. After repair, Helms resold the goods or in some cases gave them to those residents who fixed them.

Goodwill Industries International's infrastructure includes 165 independent, community-based Goodwill chapters and features over 3,000 Goodwill stores across the United States and Canada. Each local independent Goodwill must apply for membership and receive accreditation among the criteria needed to operate.