100 years. Just the beginning.
Where we’ve been
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just buzzwords for us. They are the reason Goodwill Detroit exists. They are in our DNA. Goodwill Detroit was founded by Reverend Dr. John E. Martin in 1921, who wanted to serve the community and include people who were left out in accessing job opportunities. Reverend Martin began his journey by creating a place for the elderly and physically disabled residents to repair and sell donated items. One of our subsidiaries, Goodwill Integrated Solutions, can trace its origins to 1924, when Goodwill began manufacturing glovebox manuals for early-century automobiles. Our commitment to workforce development continued when in 1950, we dedicated a block-long headquarters and combined operations from three downtown retail sites for our stores. In 1970, we saw an opportunity to expand our impact by merging with the League for the Handicapped and became the nation’s largest private vocational rehabilitation agency.
Where we are today
Today, we operate three social enterprises: our fabled thrift stores, Goodwill Integrated Solutions, and Goodwill’s Green Works. These businesses provide both on-the-job training and income to our trainees and revenue that is reinvested into our social service programs like A Place of Our Own Clubhouse, Flip the Script, and Work Readiness, to name a few. Our ability to make an impact has never been stronger. Program graduates of our welding school get trained in MIG welding and Stick welding, preparing them for a middle-skill, middle-wage job. Since its inception in 2003, Flip the Script has helped over 5,000 people. Our wrap-around services are like no other. We remain committed to job satisfaction and are maintaining a 77 percent job retention rate among our graduates. Finally, we now operate six retail stores across metro Detroit, generating even more revenue to advance our mission.
Where we are going
What do the next 100 years look like? Simply put, a continued commitment to social justice and community service. We remain focused on skilled trades and expanding our welding program to bring more occupational training opportunities to metro Detroiters. There is certainly a need and a passion for replicating our flagship program, Flip the Script, across the five counties we serve and potentially beyond Michigan. On the retail front, we are advancing with e-commerce and hoping to at least double the number of our stores over the next decade. It is our vision to become the leading social enterprise in the region at helping people and their families move from poverty and dependence to prosperity and independence.
Together we have accomplished a lot of good. We have reached this milestone because the community has walked alongside us in helping thousands of metro Detroit residents each year. Thank you to our generous donors, community partners and sponsors, loyal customers, and our committed Goodwill Detroit team members. Because of your support, we have provided job training, social services, job placement, retention services, and work opportunities to hundreds of thousands of metro Detroiters.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the trainees and job seekers who have come to us for assistance. Their courage and determination is both a model and inspiration. As we celebrate this occasion, we celebrate the successes of all our program participants—they personify the Goodwill mission.
I look forward to our continued work together as we begin our next 100 years of co-creating independence and dignity through the power of personal and workforce development.
Daniel S. Varner, President & CEO
Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit
You can be our next story.
I learned that I could really do anything that I wanted, and I had a lot of options. And part of the things that I like to do were skills that I had, and I didn’t know that
I am certain I have this job because of the respect my employer has for Goodwill. Because they trusted Goodwill, they trusted me to be a good fit and capable to do this work.
What I find here is love and purpose. Before the Clubhouse, I was ashamed of my diagnosis. Now, I understand that mental illness is what I have but it’s not who I am. The Clubhouse gives me a chance to be more than my disease.