Roy Perry, Vice President of City National Bank, and James Ryder, founder of Ryder Corporation, together with other distinguished citizens founded the Miami Goodwill in 1959. At the time there were 117 Goodwills in existence.
In 1981, Goodwill was a small organization serving very few people and supporting its mission with limited funding . As a result of the 1980 Mariel Boat lift bringing a large influx of people with disabilities to our community, and the subsequent civil unrest in our inner city, there was a sudden demand for Goodwill rehabilitation, training and employment services for a large number of people with disabilities and special needs. Yet, the absence of additional funding to serve this expanding population limited Goodwill's response.
Goodwill's leadership responded with a bold plan to pursue diversified entrepreneurial activities to create a variety of options for a diverse population. Labor intensive work would be used as a tool in helping people learn skills, acquire an appropriate work ethic, gain confidence and develop their self-esteem in an environment similar to the competitive world - earning a paycheck - but more importantly, receiving workforce development services from Goodwill. The ultimate goal was to achieve competitive community employment. Revenues from the activities would be a significant part of helping support the mission.
The vision succeeded beyond all of our expectations. In twenty years, Goodwill's size has increased 18 times, resulting in a social business enterprise consisting of four entrepreneurial divisions as a support to our Rehabilitation Services by helping people with disabilities and special needs to achieve, in record numbers each year, their goals of independence, freedom and dignity. Goodwill is now able to provide structured, supportive rehabilitation-driven work programs in these four areas: Donated Goods, Apparel Manufacturing, Pre-print inserting, Service Contracts. (See Rehabilitation Services for more information in these areas.)
Today, because of the extraordinary Board of Directors' leadership and community support, the Miami-Dade County Goodwill is the sixth largest from among 178 Goodwills in North America.
Reverend Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister in Boston's South End, founded Goodwill Industries in 1902. Inspired by compassion for the poor, sick, people with disabilities and immigrants, Helms was determined to improve their quality of life. He shouldered a burlap sack and went door-to-door to wealthier families of the city asking for unwanted clothing, shoes and household goods to distribute among those in need. Shortly after, he changed his approach. Helms hired the needy to repair and sell the donated goods at a storefront while using the activity to provide them with training, work skills and help them find jobs. He used the proceeds from the sales to pay wages to the needy and support the program mission. This marked the creation of the system that today remains intact at 178 Goodwill Industries in America - that last year served over 544,765 people, and placed 103,765 people in jobs.
Goodwill Industries all around the world celebrated the organization's rich 100-year history and the five million lives touched by our programs and services. Goodwill's founder, Edgar J. Helms, has been recognized for this accomplishment in a very special way. The National Park Service has created a new national monument called "The Extra Mile Volunteer Pathway", inaugurated by President George W. Bush. The monument features hand-sculpted bronze medallions created to honor private citizens who have made a difference in the lives of people in America. The medallions will be placed at the one-mile memorial path adjacent to the White House and U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. The Pathway's first medallion is in honor of Goodwill's founder, Edgar J. Helms. Other honorees include Clara Barton, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Susan B. Anthony.
Goodwill is celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the adoption of its iconic logo. Known as the “Smiling G,” the award-winning logo represents the many smiling faces and positive impacts achieved through Goodwill programs and services, every day.
In 1968, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in Boston began to search for an updated visual to reflect the brand. The team selected legendary graphic designer Joseph Selame to create a logo that would symbolize the many faces of self-sustaining people within Goodwill. He used a lowercase “g” twice in his logo, which served as the letter itself and a smile. When the letter “g” is enlarged above the font, it forms a face that depicts the smile of self-respect and independence, qualities that are outcomes of Goodwill’s mission to inspire hope and self-confidence in people from all backgrounds and walks of life as they learn how to earn a living and improve their lives. Selame is also well-known for creating logos for such brands as CVS and Kodak.
The Smiling G logo stands as an emblem of Goodwill’s mission — helping people reach their full potential through the power of work. One out of every 200 hires in the U.S. economy are made with the help of Goodwill, and this has been consistent for the past three years. Last year, Goodwill placed more than 313,000 people into employment and provided more than 34,000 people with digital skills training. In addition, more than 2 million people collectively engaged in face-to-face Goodwill services to build their career and financial assets, and advance in their careers; and more than 34 million people used computers and mobile devices to access education, training, mentoring, online learning services, virtual career fairs, and employment opportunities.
“Our logo is more than a brand asset, something you see in a newspaper article or online. The Smiling G is our core at Goodwill,” said Jim Gibbons, president, and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “That smile represents the millions around the globe for whom our organization exists to serve. It is a constant reminder in everything that we do, and why we do it.”
Today, the Smiling G is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. In addition to Goodwill retail stores, the logo can be seen on billboards and television shows, even making an appearance twice on the hit gameshow Jeopardy!