A Message from the Goodwill Community

In light of the recent closure of Goodwill Toronto, many of our donors and supporters have been asking for additional information on the health of the Goodwill network across Canada. Below is a message from Goodwill Industries, Ontario Great Lakes. 


Goodwill Industries – More Than a “Thrift Store”

In light of the sad and unfortunate situation happening with Goodwill Industries of Toronto, Eastern, Central and Northern Ontario region, it is important to note that this is a rare occurrence in the Goodwill® enterprise. Goodwill Industries International and its membership is a vibrant entity that has a more than 110 year history as a successful nonprofit organization in North America.

The Goodwill Enterprise

Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston 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. Dr. Helms’ vision set an early course for what today has become a successful multi-national non-profit organization.

Today, Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 14 other countries. We are a registered nonprofit in both Canada and the United States, using the revenue generated through our social enterprise model to fund job training programs, employment placement services, and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,000 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill organizations are independently incorporated and operated so as to be able to respond to the needs of our local communities.

Not a Charity, but A Chance

There are many terrific organizations that we partner and collaborate with to provide emergency assistance. Once people start to stabilize by accessing food and housing supports, Goodwill is the next step in the process – our philosophy is to provide “not a charity, but a chance.” By providing jobs, training, and employment coaching, and supportive service, such as childcare, financial assistance and transportation, we’re a key component in finding long-term solutions to chronic social problems such as ending poverty.

We primarily generate revenue through the sale of donated goods to fuel our mission of “changing lives and communities through the power of work.” We fulfill our mission first and foremost by being an employer and providing much needed jobs and training for people who face challenges to finding employment such as physical and mental disabilities, and also the chronically unemployed, youth at risk, and new immigrants. Across the organization, Goodwill places someone in a good job every 28 seconds of every business day.

We believe in providing opportunity. Each of our success stories begins with your donation of funds and goods. We take pride in turning your donations into jobs, homes, hope and success for less fortunate friends and neighbours. Through your donation, you extend a helping hand to another and you help us change a life.

Goodwill Good for the Environment

We’re also good for the environment – Goodwill is a triple bottom line organization committed to people, planet and prosperity. The Canadian Goodwill organizations collectively diverted more than 90 million pounds of goods from landfills last year alone. We embrace smart growth principles, revitalize declining neighbourhoods, and engage in brownfield development. Across North America, we participate in the Goodwill “Energy Challenge” where we track and reduce our energy consumption.

Work the Lifeblood of Healthy Communities

Goodwill’s mission is as relevant today as it has been at any other time in its history. Work is the lifeblood of healthy, vibrant communities. Unemployment creates financial hardships, increased health risks and social isolation.

Globalization, technological change, deregulation, the incorporation of contingent labour into the work force, and a growing emphasis on competitiveness at all cost have changed the landscape of work and further increased barriers for those who are marginalized. This lack of stable, sustainable work is threatening the well-being of our neighbourhoods and straining the social fabric of our communities.

Goodwill believes that work is a cornerstone of people’s lives and can be transformational as it is central to economic self-sufficiency and the ability to support one’s family. We believe that when people are working, communities are working. Work helps people to belong, to matter, and to connect to each other, making their communities stronger and healthier.





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One Response to “A Message from the Goodwill Community”

  1. W. Manning

    Just curious as I have been a long time donator to Good Will, I was wondering if there is a plan in place to send Fort McMurray a generous portion of the free donated clothes and items that are constantly dropped off by others. Helping out our fellow Canadians that have lost everything should be # 1? I see that the Salvation Army has assisted. Just curious if this is part of a plan with a large place such as yours? I think the more that come together the better life becomes for all. Just a concerned citizen.

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