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 seven 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.

Edgar Helms

In 1902, the Rev. Edgar J. Helms founded Goodwill in the South End of Boston. Helms, a Methodist minister, early social innovator and entrepreneur, collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city.  He hired and trained people who needed work to mend and repair the goods. The items were then resold or distributed to the employees. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of “not charity but a chance” was born. From these humble beginnings, Goodwill has witnessed the power of work in people’s lives for 116 years. Goodwill is now a secular nonprofit organization with no ties to any religious institutions.

“When you give a man a job, you are not dealing with a pauper.  He is not an applicant for charity. He wants to give something for what he receives…” — Dr. Edgar J. Helms, 1924.

What is Goodwill and what does it do? Goodwill is a network of 160 autonomous organizations that generate opportunities for people to achieve economic stability and build strong families and vibrant communities by offering job placement and training as well as other community-based programs.  Each local Goodwill organization is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Goodwill helps people facing challenges to finding employment, including people with disabilities; veterans and military families; youth and young adults, including youth who are at risk and opportunity youth; older workers; people reintegrating into society; and others facing challenges to finding employment.