Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc. prepares people to secure and retain employment and build successful independent lives.
For over ninety-five years, Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc. has helped others help themselves. Goodwill collects reusable items for resale in its retail stores, trains people for work and living skills and instills dignity and purpose in countless peoples’ lives.
Today, with a budget of nearly $50 million, Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc., employs more than 850 individuals, operates 27 retail stores, 11 career development sites and provides a variety of commercial services at several locations. Most importantly, Goodwill annually provides services to more than 33,000 people in need of assistance because of physical, mental or other social barriers and places approximately 2,500 into jobs giving them “Not a charity, but a chance.”
In 1919 Rev. John S. German and a group of prominent civic leaders incorporated the Baltimore Goodwill Industries and opened the first factory in the Fellowship Hall of the Broadway Methodist Episcopal Church. Two indigent employees were hired to stencil and fold burlap bags that would be sent out to collect reclaimable household goods that could be sold. Proceeds would pay the workers and make the operation self-sustainable. Burlap bags and the jobs they created would come to symbolize the origins of the new organization whose slogan was “Not a charity, but a chance.”
Over the next thirty years, Goodwill’s collection efforts grew dramatically. Household collection bags were supplemented by donation drives led by the Boy and Girl Scouts, and Goodwill boxes were placed throughout the metropolitan area to keep up with the growing demand for collection services. Later, Goodwill reached out to local communities with mobile donation centers staffed by Goodwill employees. These donation centers and the retail stores they supplied soon became synonymous with the name Goodwill.
In 1948, Goodwill’s commitment to helping others took a giant step forward with a vocational training program established jointly with state and federal agencies. By 1955 the program was certified as a non-public vocational training facility, among Maryland’s first, and nearly 200 people with disabilities had been prepared to join the ranks of independent citizens. At about the same time, Goodwill accepted the first of many contracts to provide industrial services to local businesses. Such contracts provided companies with top quality workers and gainful employment to individuals with severe disabilities. With the establishment of a vocational training facility and the creation of formal business relationships with local companies, Goodwill furthered its commitment to the disadvantaged of Baltimore.
While Goodwill’s focus for many years was helping people with disabilities find gainful employment, that mission expanded over recent years. Goodwill has brought its years of experience to bring in a new initiative to train and place people with barriers to employment including dislocated workers, individuals with no work training, and those receiving public assistance, all while maintaining its commitment to serve those with disabilities. Our primary objective is to help individuals with barriers to employment become self-sufficient through training and employment services.