Goodwill Workers in History

Helping others for over 90 years.

For over 90 years Goodwill Dallas has been committed to providing job training and employment to those with disabilities and disadvantaging conditions. Learn more about the thousands of North Texas citizens we have had the privilege to serve.

Edgar J. Helms

The roots of Goodwill originated in 1902, when Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister from Boston, accepted a challenge to serve as a settlement worker among the poor immigrants of Boston's South End.

Inspired by compassion for people with disabilities and disadvantaging conditions, he sought a way to improve their quality of life.

Helms took a burlap sack and began traveling to the wealthier areas of the city, asking for unwanted garments and other goods. Poor men and women were then put to work at the dilapidated Morgan Memorial Chapel restoring the collected items, learning trades, and acquiring skills as they worked.

Once the items were repaired, they were resold and the money was used to pay the wages of the workers. This cycle of donating, repairing, selling, and paying wages was the beginning of Goodwill Industries -- and remains essentially intact today. Times have changed, but Helm's vision remains constant.

Edgar Quote


Goodwill Industries of Dallas Timeline



1923 - 1932

Humble Beginnings

In 1923, a group of women from Southern Methodist Church held a clothing drive as a fundraising project inside a 100 square foot settlement house on South Cockrell Street in Dallas, Texas. This project blossomed into a successful operation that was later named Goodwill Industries of Dallas.

Under the direction of Mrs. J.A. Thomas, in 1924, Goodwill Industries of Dallas employed 50 people, store sales were $1,000, and 600 bags of clothing were donated.

Goodwill Timeline Photographs from 1923 to 1932

In 1930, Millard J. Heath was appointed the first Executive Director and he organized Goodwill into a thriving and efficient business. A Board of Directors was elected and Goodwill became an agency of the Community Chest (today's United Way), which allotted Goodwill $108 per month.

In 1932, the Boy Scouts held the first Smile Day Drive. They collected bundles of clothing put out on front of porches in the community, which were then taken to the central headquarters to be sorted. This project was so successful that it was adopted nationwide in over 100 Goodwill locations, and was re-named Good Turn Day. The Good Turn Day program existed at Goodwill Industries of Dallas until 1980.


1933 - 1942

Moving Downtown

Upon its 10-year anniversary, Goodwill's sales had grown from $1,000 to $6,971, the number of people employed from 50 to 185, and the number of bags collected from 600 to 2,383. In order to accommodate this exciting growth, Goodwill moved its operations to 2527 Elm Street, where the 10,000 square foot building rented for $50 per month.

Goodwill Timeline Photographs from 1923 to 1932

In 1942, ordained minister and graduate of De Pauw University, Gerald L. Clore was elected as the new Executive Director. Under his direction, sales grew to $19,537, Goodwill employed 432 people, and the number of bags of clothing collected rose to 15,000. Additionally, during this decade, a milestone was crossed as the millionth dollar in employee wages was paid.


1943 - 1961

Rising from the Ashes

Following a disastrous fire in the early 1940's, Goodwill rebuilt its workshops on Elm Street and annexed an adjacent 2-story building at 2507 Elm Street. Goodwill was a "one-stop-shop" for many of its clients as it provided the following services: credit union, medical and dental clinic, psychological services, safety program, full-service cafeteria, and printing department.

Goodwill Timeline Photographs from 1923 to 1932

Mr. Clore developed training workshops for Goodwill employees, especially in the area of refurbishing donated goods. These workshops grew to have 33 training fields including dry cleaning, upholstery, television repair, and furniture repair.

Goodwill deposit boxes were introduced in 1954 as the new means of collecting donated items. These boxes both dispensed the bags in which you put your donated clothes and served as the site where you would drop off the bags for Goodwill to collect. In 1954, there were 15 collection boxes located throughout the community and by 1969, there were 255.


1962 - 1979

Making West Dallas Home

1962 was the first million dollar sales year for the organization and Goodwill Industries was beginning to feel growing pains. The need for a larger facility led to the $1 million "Accent on People" capital campaign. The employees themselves contributed $49,000 and at the end of the campaign, over 1,200 gifts had been received and the goal of $1 million had been surpassed.

In 1968, the construction of a new 133,000 square-foot facility at Hampton Road and Singleton Boulevard was completed. The facility included a chapel, diagnostic and testing center, board rooms, classrooms, sheltered workshops, retail store, offices, and full-service cafeteria.

Goodwill Timeline Photographs from 1923 to 1932

After many years of service, Gerald Clore resigned and Marvin L. McPheron became the new Executive Director. One of McPheron's most significant contributions to Goodwill was his development of a comprehensive federally-funded rehabilitation program. This program became the largest vocational rehabilitation workshop in the Southwest and provided counseling, work adjustment training, personality adjustment training, and on-the-job training.

After Marvin L. McPheron's death in 1974, Fred Sherman was named Executive Director. Sherman was credited with the development of the Sub-contracting Department (now known as Industrial Services) to employ persons with severe disabilities. Sub-contracting services included packaging, collating, assembly, and shrink-wrapping.


1980 - 1999

Our Business Works, So People Can

Anticipating Fred Sherman’s retirement, Rodney K. Ginther was hired in July of 1980 as Assistant Executive Director. By February 1, 1982, Rod Ginther was named President of Goodwill.

Under Ginther’s leadership, the 80s and 90s were a time of change and success. Inefficient and costly operations were eliminated to make room for expansion and new services. Retail sales doubled from 1980 to 1989 and doubled again from 1990 to 1997. Goodwill was once again faced with outgrowing its facility. In 1997, Goodwill launched the $9 million “Our Business Works, So People Can” capital campaign.

Goodwill Timeline Photographs from 1980 to 1999

The 1990s also witnessed the start of the Edmund M. Hoffman Golf Classic, an annual celebration and fundraising event that would run for almost two decades. Goodwill was able to recognize and thank its community support, which continued to grow into the new millennium.


2000 - Present

Goodwill Today and Beyond

In November 2000, construction began on the 270,000 square foot facility on North Westmoreland Road that would enable Goodwill to serve more people and provide the flexibility to grow operations to meet future demands. Goodwill moved into this new facility in May 2002.

In addition to its headquarters, Goodwill opened its 16th retail store in 2014. Goodwill also introduced a “Three-In-One” model, in which community members can donate at a Valet Donation Center, shop in a retail store and receive employment services at a Job Connection Center all at the same facility.

Goodwill Timeline Photographs from 2000 to Now

As Goodwill celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2014 and looks forward to its 100th Anniversary, it will ensure that the future is a bright and promising one for its employees, clients and the community of Dallas.