Believing in the power of work has been the cornerstone of our mission since 1919. Our centennial year has provided us an opportunity to not only reflect on our past 100 years, but also look ahead with a vision for the next century.
At critical junctures during our 100-year history, Goodwill has responded to the needs of the community.
During the world wars, Goodwill worked with thousands of injured soldiers, by providing training and work opportunities. Our resale operations reduced consumer demand for new goods, which was critical for the war effort.
The Great Depression of the 1930s created unemployment rates of 25% in Milwaukee. The city’s jobless formed long lines and looked to Goodwill for employment. We responded and served as a temporary employer of hundreds, enabling men and women to provide for their families.
The 1990s saw the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on disability, and Goodwill was at the forefront of the legislation.
The Great Recession of 2008 brought more changes to our communities. Responding to high unemployment, Goodwill opened several Workforce Connection Centers in Wisconsin and Illinois that provided free resources to anyone who needed help in finding work.
Each of these accomplishments has been driven by a shared commitment to deliver on our mission to provide training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages who seek greater independence — a charge that is truly timeless.
Our commitment to training and employment for every individual who wants a job, regardless of the barriers they face, remains steadfast. We are grateful for the leadership of our Board of Directors, the dedication of our staff, and the support of many businesses, community leaders, foundations and government agencies—all part of our Goodwill family—that enabled us to serve nearly 43,000 men and women in 2019.