Dr. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister, founded the international Goodwill Industries movement in 1902. As a settlement worker in Boston’s South End, Dr. Helms looked for a way to help new immigrants get on their feet. Dr. Helms’ motto, “Not charity, but a chance” inspired thousands of people to be generous in a new way – by donating their clothing. Dr. Helms created a business mode that created jobs through the collection, repair and sales of material donated by the public.
Closer to home, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England was established in 1933 in Portland, Maine by Reverend Frederick Olsen. Today, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England continues to help others overcome barriers in their lives to achieve social and economic independence.
A Timeline: Goodwill Industries of Northern New England
1934: An agreement between Goodwill Industries of America and Portland Goodwill Industries made us one of the original twenty member agencies of Goodwill Industries International.
mid-1930s: First Goodwill stores in Maine are established in Portland and Biddeford
mid-1960s: An additional retail store is established in Lewiston
1969: Goodwill merges with Greater Portland ARC to help youth with disabilities find employment. Greater Portland ARC originally housed the Pride Training School, founded by Annie Pride in 1951. The Pride Training School was the first school in Maine to assist students with disabilities. Portland Goodwill Industries becomes known as Abilities and Goodwill, Inc.
1970s: Goodwill expands their residential services and opens several residences to help individuals with disabilities and other barriers live independently as possible. Goodwill’s Carleton House becomes the first group home in Maine.
Goodwill continues retail expansion with stores opened in Bath and Brunswick.
1977: Abilities and Goodwill, Inc. becomes known as Goodwill of Maine, Inc. This name change reflected our ability to provide services statewide. 1977 also marked the closing of Pride Training School, as its mission had been fulfilled with the era of special education courses being offered through school systems in Maine.
1980s-1990s: The pace set during the previous decade foreshadowed the expansion of Goodwill Industries of Maine during the eighties and nineties. A $1.2 million capital campaign was initiated from 1986-1987 to fund renovations at the Cumberland Avenue corporate location. These renovations were completed in 1988.
The eighties also saw an expansion in residential services and employment services throughout the state of Maine.
1991: In response to community needs, Goodwill of Maine opens BaySide NeuroRehabilitation Services in Portland, a comprehensive, community based rehabilitation and therapeutic service for individuals with acquired brain injury.
1994: Goodwill Industries of Maine, Inc. officially changes its name to Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, reflecting potential growth in retail stores and programs in New Hampshire and Vermont. Goodwill stores in Maine and New Hampshire total 13 at this time.
1996: Goodwill opens WestSide NeuroRehabilitation Services in Lewiston, a companion program to BaySide.
1998: Goodwill merges with the Therapy and Leisure Center in Augusta to expand residential and community support services for individuals with disabilities and mental illness and deaf individuals.
2007: Goodwill opens its first retail store in Vermont (Williston)
2008 – present: Goodwill has expanded its workforce development and job training programs throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
In 2012, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England operates 27 retail stores throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Last year, we assisted over 30,000 individuals throughout the region with employment and support services.