Goodwill Industries of Tulsa is celebrating 90 years with its continued goal to provide work opportunities and job training for individuals with barriers to employment.
The Rev. Wilkie C. Clock, pastor of the West Tulsa United Methodist Church, opened the first Goodwill office in the basement of the church, with Goodwill Industries of Tulsa being incorporated on August 3, 1927.
The nonprofit organization’s mission remains focused on enhancing the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need to reach their fullest potential through the power of work, says Goodwill Industries of Tulsa Director of Community Relations Nancy Webster.
Goodwill Industries started in Boston’s South End in 1902, when Edgar J. Helms began searching for donations of clothing and goods in order to help disadvantaged and disabled individuals. He also taught those individuals to restore the donated items, which were then resold. That money was, then, used to pay the workers’ wages—thus establishing Goodwill Industries as one of this country’s first social enterprise organizations.
In addition to its donation services and retail stores, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa provides workforce development training and job placement services with the goal of aiding individuals in becoming productive members of society.
“When people donate clothing and household items, they are helping to further our mission to provide work opportunities and job training and support services to people in need,” says Webster.
In 2016, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa served over 5,500 individuals through its training and job placement programs with more than 1,200 going on to fill open jobs in the community.