To better represent the 15 counties served, Tacoma Goodwill Industries is changing its name to “Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region,” the first substantive name change in 92 years.
“This week we unveil the name that best represents Goodwill’s reach and 15 counties we serve,” said Don Johnson, Chairman of Goodwill’s Board of Directors. “Through nearly a century of service our mission has grown to encompass many communities beyond our home in Tacoma.”
Goodwill provides innovative job placement, career training and education to connect Americans with a higher quality of life. As a unique nonprofit business, thrift shop revenue and public donations fuel programs that help people with limited income, disabilities and disadvantages overcome barriers to employment.
The Tacoma-based organization began in October 1920, when Reverend H.W. Michener, pastor of Tacoma’s Central Methodist Church, was given a basket of clothing left from a rummage sale held by women of the congregation who told him, “… you have been talking a lot about beginning a Goodwill Industries. Here is a start.” By April 10, 1921 the first 40 people had been given employment thanks to $200.75 paid out in wages. The church also had about $400 worth of goods on hand for sale.
One year later (April 22, 1922) incorporation papers for the new “Tacoma Goodwill Industries” were filed at the Office of the Secretary of State with the mission - to provide for the “…educational and industrial welfare of the poor and neglected without profit or gain...”
“Today our organization reflects the modern needs of the region with the mission of helping people with barriers to employment go to work,” said Terry Hayes, President and CEO of Goodwill. “This year we will help 9,000 people with education, job training, transitional work and job placement services in our 15 county region.”
The organization serves an ever broader range of population needing employment and facing challenges, to include persons with disabilities and those lacking job training/retraining resources such as youth, young families, seniors, veterans and transitioning soldiers.
The strategy for getting people into jobs has shifted from employing the population to providing job training, transitional jobs for initial experience and placement and career planning services through key partnerships with more than 1,000 businesses and organizations in the community. To support the strategy, Goodwill operates four job training and placement centers in Tacoma, South Lacey, Yakima and Longview, reflecting population growth and concentration over the past nine decades.
Thanks to $65 million in retail and other revenues, Goodwill today assists 13% of the 67,000 unemployed in Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, South King County, Kittatas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Yakima counties. Career field training and experience have grown from retail skills to also include office, culinary, barista, catering, custodial, warehouse, transportation/logistics, construction and other careers. This year Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region will help 9,000 people with education, job training and placement so they can become independent self-supporting citizens. Of these, nearly 2,700 people will be offered careers thanks to partnerships with 1,000 companies across Washington.