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Mission, Vision & History

Our MissionAdrian Headquarters
Goodwill provides exceptional opportunities for people facing barriers. 

Our Vision
People prosper through the efforts of Goodwill and the community.

Our History
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Michigan, Inc. (Local)
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Michigan began in 1957 when a group of concerned citizens approached the Adrian Chamber of Commerce (now Lenawee) about the number of individuals with disabilities in the community. Arrangements were made to have the Detroit Goodwill sponsor a satellite operation in the former pickle factory on James Street. In 1960, Goodwill Industries became an independent operation.

In 1971, the Lenawee Association of Retarded Children (later Citizens) established an activities program for the developmentally disabled. On January 1,1974, the LARC Activity Center was incorporated and in April of 1975 they merged with Goodwill Industries to become known as Goodwill-LARC.

In 1999, Goodwill LARC’s Board of Directors unanimously supported a name change back to Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Michigan, Inc.

From its early beginnings of seeking donations to process and offer for sale, to the current operation of four stores in Adrian, Monroe, Lambertville and Saline, doing industrial work for local industries and providing a wide range of training and employment services, Goodwill Industries continues to assist persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment. In serving more than 2,000 people annually, Goodwill always seeks collaboration where possible, and has established several strong relationships with local government authorities, school systems, non-profit organizations and businesses.

Since 1976, Goodwill’s services have been certified by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and in 2011 was ISO Certified 9001-2008 without design. Goodwill Industries is run by a 21-member Board of Directors under the direction of an executive director, and a staff of more than 120 employees.

Goodwill Industries International (Global)
In the late 1890s, Methodist minister Edgar J. Helms, pastor of Morgan Chapel in Boston's South End, found innovative ways to help his community's jobless, immigrant population. He conceived the idea of collecting unwanted household goods and employing men and women who were impoverished to repair and refurbish them. Income from the resold goods paid the workers' wages. The system worked and the Goodwill method of self-help was born.

Edgar Helms

Goodwill Industries was formally incorporated in 1902, with job-skills training programs and even a rudimentary job-placement service operating out of Boston's Morgan Memorial Chapel. Initially named "Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores, Inc." the organization later adopted the name "Goodwill Industries," a catchy phrase fIrst used by a workshop in Brooklyn, N.Y.

With Helms as the driving force, the Goodwill concept spread across the United States. By 1926, Helms was traveling the world, telling the Goodwill Industries story and laying the groundwork for an international movement. Today Goodwill has 165 member organizations in the United States and Canada, and 14 Goodwill affiliated organizations in other countries around the world.

During the 1930s, Goodwill Industries, noting a lack of services for people with disabilities, redirected its mission toward that population. Although people with disabilities had never been excluded from Goodwill Industries programs, they had not previously been the focus of the organization's efforts.Today, Goodwill's client population includes people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities, as well as those who face such barriers to employment as illiteracy, advanced age, lack of work experience or dependence on public support.

Goodwill Industries strives to achieve the full participation in society of people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Opportunities and occupational capabilities are expanded through a network of nonprofit, community-based organizations. Each Goodwill organization in the United States and Canada provides vocational evaluation, training, employment and job-placement services.

Revenue for Goodwill Industries organizations comes from a variety of sources. The sale of donated goods in nearly 2,500 retail stores remains the greatest source of funding for the programs Goodwill provides. Other major sources of funding include industrial and service contract work, rehabilitation service fees and government grants, public support and salvage sales. Cash gifts and bequests are also accepted.Volunteers lead the boards of directors at the international office and all member Goodwill organizations, and fund-raising activities at many Goodwills.