About Us

History

In 1902 Reverend Edgar J. Helms, a Boston minister, conceived the idea
of collecting unwanted household goods and employing jobless men and women to refurbish them. Income from the resold goods paid the worker’s wages. The system worked and Goodwill’s method of self-help was born. Today Reverend Helm’s philosophy flourishes among more than 166 independent, community-based Goodwill agencies in the United States and Canada, as well as 14 international affiliates in 13 other countries.

The Fort Wayne Goodwill can trace its roots back to 1936, when Reverend Helms proposed a federation of Goodwill Industries across northern Indiana. The Methodist Church agreed to provide the services of Gerald L. Clore as the executive director of the developing operations in Gary, Hammond, South Bend and Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Goodwill was incorporated with the Indiana Secretary of State in 1937 and opened its doors on January 3, 1938 at 112 East Columbia Street. Reverend Harley Davis of Monroeville served as the Goodwill’s business manager.

Goodwill provides employment, job training and other community-based programs for people with disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, and others facing employment challenges. We believe that work creates the economic energy that builds strong families and strong communities. Work helps build self-confidence, friendships and independence. Everyone deserves a chance to have those things in life. Goodwill provides that chance.

National watchdog groups and publications including Smart Money consistently
give Goodwill high ratings for the prudent and innovative use of funds.

 
Reverend Edgar J Helms

“Giving a chance, 
not charity”