Not Charity, But a Chance:  A Century of Goodwill

Goodwill of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey has empowered individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment to gain independence through the power of work for 100 years!  


In 1915 Reverend Dr. Henry Park Schauffler and Reverend Edward F. Sanderson founded a local assistance charity in Brooklyn, New York.  Later that year they traveled to Boston to study an organization Reverend Edgar J. Helms had started in 1902, Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores, Inc. Reverend Helms’ innovative new program collected donations of gently used goods and hired people in need to repair, clean, and sell the items. This allowed his clients to earn needed income while acquiring valuable skills. After witnessing the positive impact this approach was having on Boston’s Southside, Reverends Schauffler and Sanderson returned to Brooklyn and adopted Reverend Helms’ new method in Brooklyn, and Reverend Helms adopted their program’s name: Goodwill Industries.


With their new system in place, Goodwill’s service sphere began to expand.  Just four years after the founding of their project in Brooklyn, St. Paul’s Community House established a Goodwill agency in Jersey City, NJ, and in 1922 the Protestant Mission Society opened Manhattan’s first Goodwill chapter.  Over the years these local chapters continued to grow and help more people find productive, meaningful work.  In 1962 the chapters in Brooklyn and Manhattan merged, and by 1999 they joined their neighbors across the Hudson River to become Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey. 


Goodwill’s mission to put people to work has never been a higher priority than it is today.  While we began as a small local outreach ministry, Goodwill of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. has grown into an independent, non-sectarian, member of the Goodwill Industries International not-for-profit network. Goodwill of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey operates with our own autonomous board to quickly and efficiently meet the needs of our communities in this region. We annually assist more than 94,000 people in New York City, Northern New Jersey, Long Island and upstate New York experience the pride of earning a wage.


Our programs continue to enable people with disabilities, new immigrants and refugees, unemployed and underemployed, veterans and their families, ex-offenders, mature workers and underserved youth, to fully participate in society by achieving employment.


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