Alabama Goodwill Industries, Inc. is a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a member of Goodwill Industries International, Inc.® Our partner organizations include: United Way of Central Alabama, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, AbilityOne, SourceAmerica, CARF International, and the Birmingham Business Alliance.
Our organization operates nine retail stores and nine federal contracts. The revenue from these stores and contracts provides job training, job placement, sheltered employment, and job readiness classes for individuals in our community that are disabled and disadvantaged. Additional revenue for these programs comes from foundation grants, United Way allocations, and rehabilitation fees.
History of Alabama Goodwill Industries, Inc.
In 1927, a wood yard was established at the St. John’s Methodist Episcopal Church South on Birmingham’s Southside. This operation hired men from the community to chop wood, served them a bowl of soup for lunch, and paid them $1 and a loaf of bread each day.
The next year, the church sent several members to St. Louis, Missouri to study the Goodwill operation in that city. They brought the ideas and practices of the Goodwill Method back to Birmingham and established a Goodwill operation in this city. The operation grew and moved to another Southside location. In February of 1936, the organization was incorporated and became Alabama Goodwill Industries, Inc. The facilities were moved to Ensley in 1941. In 1959, Alabama Goodwill purchased the old Chevrolet parts division building on Birmingham’s 26th Street and remained in this location until 1985 at which time we moved to our present location.
History of Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
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. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.
Dr. Helms’ vision set an early course for what today has become a $4 billion nonprofit organization. Helms described Goodwill Industries as an “industrial program as well as a social service enterprise…a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted.”
Times have changed, but Helms’ vision remains constant: “We have courage and are unafraid. With the prayerful cooperation of millions of our bag contributors and of our workers, we will press on till the curse of poverty and exploitation is banished from mankind.”