During the decades that followed, Helms' vision spread as Goodwill organizations sprung up throughout North America . The depression era brought an increased focus on people with disabilities. In later years, people with economic and social barriers to employment began to benefit from Goodwill's outreach.
In 1930, Elizabeth Murray, a social worker and advocate for people with disabilities, who strongly believed in the Goodwill mission, initiated a campaign to establish Goodwill of Greater Washington in the nation's capital.
For five years, Mrs. Murray recruited community leaders and solicited funds. On May 31st, 1935, Mrs. Murray and six other community leaders signed the incorporation papers for what was then known as Goodwill Industries of Washington, DC.
In 1939, a generous $100,000 donation from Anne Hubbard Davis allowed Goodwill to purchase its own building at 1214 New Hampshire Avenue . Thus Goodwill of Greater Washington's legal name is Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries. By then, Goodwill had 126 employees, 5 stores, a dry cleaning plant, shoe and furniture repair shops, and 5 trucks.
In 1956, Goodwill opened a comprehensive rehabilitation center to serve the large number of veterans with disabilities. Employees refinished and restored donated items which were then sold in Goodwill's retail stores.
Since then numerous volunteers have worked diligently to help generate both money and awareness for Goodwill's critical mission to provide job training for people with disabilities and disadvantages. The Goodwill Guild, a group of women volunteers, played an intricate key role in facilitating fundraisers to benefit Goodwill's mission. These fundraisers included a benefit performance of "Portrait of Jennie" sponsored by First Lady Bess Truman, a luncheon fashion show at the Terrace Room of the Shorham Hotel, another fashion show, "Holiday Internationale," held in the in the Grand Ballroom of the Willard Hotel, daily open houses where Washington diplomatic and society hostesses volunteered their services to pour tea, and an annual benefit "Bookworms" in the guise of a literary masquerade at the Sheraton Park Hotel held by honorary patroness Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.
We are mostly well known for our Annual Embassy Tours, Annual Used Book Sale, and The Fashion of Goodwill.
The Annual Embassy Tours went on for 52 years and ended when the 9/11 attacks occurred for security reasons. This popular event brought people from all over the U.S. and was mentioned in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times promoting the annual event. First Ladies such as Nancy Regan and Hillary Rodham Clinton participated as chair members. All money raised went to Goodwill's mission.
Goodwill was known to have had the biggest Goodwill Industries' Annual Used Book Sale event on the East Coast which went on for 41 years. People would come from all over to start waiting in lines early in the morning to purchase their books for 50 cents. One year the First Lady, Barbara Bush, participated as a volunteer at one of the book sales held at the Convention Center.
And we continue to evolve.
Most recently, Goodwill of Greater Washington is known for its fashion shows. The Fashion of Goodwill began in September 2005 changing the face of our thrift stores. It's "not your grandmother's closet" we like to say, but instead retail stores where you can find contemporary and vintage fashion and apparel. On September 12, 2007, we launched the very first Virtual Runway Show & Online Auction. This was a huge success for Goodwill! We gained public media attention in The Washington Post and CNN. From then on we were mentioned in fashion blogs and other fashion news while promoting that all purchases made at Goodwill Retail stores went to provide free job training for people with disabilities and disadvantages. Again, on September 28, 2008 we launched a virtual fashion and live fashion show with a French theme at The French Embassy creating yet another successful event. This landed Goodwill on the front page of The Washington Post.
Today, GGW operates a successful chain of retail stores; cleans millions of square feet of office space; and employs more than 700 people. In our contracts division more than 78% of our associates have a disability.
Goodwill of Greater Washington is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) nonprofit workforce development organization that has helped tens of thousands of Washington metropolitan area residents get jobs since 1935. With your continued support we can serve thousands more!
Other Historical Facts:
First Lady Bess Truman Heads Sponsors of Goodwill Industries Show
Goodwill Fashion Show, November 8, 1950
2nd Goodwill Fashion Show, "Holiday Internationale"
"Employ the Nationally Handicapped Week", October 13, 1951
Open Houses, 1953
Boy Scout Good Turn Day, Nov. 13th
New Rehabilitation Center
Foggy Bottom Career Center Opens, 2011
Rebirth of Fashion of Goodwill campaign, September 2012
Goodwill of Greater Washington is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) nonprofit workforce development organization that has helped tens of thousands of Washington metropolitan area residents get jobs since 1935.
To contact Goodwill Industries International or locate Goodwills in other states, click here.