Spreading the Good Will across Cultures Essay

            The Goodwill Industries is a non-profit international industry that provides job to millions of people through the collecting and selling of pre-owned goods. In addition, Goodwill Industries also provides education, training, and career services for people who are at a disadvantage such as those on welfare dependency, lack of education or work experiences, people with mental or physical disabilities, and those who are homeless.

            At present, the industry spans 25 countries across the globe bringing their mission of helping those with disadvantages to different cultures. Because of this, Goodwill Industries is an organization that best embodies the embracing of cultural diversity.

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            This paper seeks to show how Goodwill Industries best embodies cultural diversity. It will present the organizations history, the nature of its work, the system it follows, and the tangible effects of its work.

Global Contact

            Goodwill Industries has 36 associate members in 25 countries around the world. To look for the nearest Goodwill headquarters in a particular area, their website provides a store locator (“Find Your”, 2005). In addition, Goodwill hosts an online shop where people can bid for the items they want (“Online Auction”, 2005). In this manner, their items are made accessible to more people.


            Reverend Edgar J. Helms started what would later on become the Goodwill Industries in 1902. He was born in Malone, New York in January 1863. He studied in Boston University Theological School and later on tried his hand at law and newspaper publishing. However, he was eventually drawn to being a Methodist minister. In 1982, he marries childhood sweetheart, Jean Preston. It was also during this time that Helms, together with two fellow students, requested the City Missionary Society to support their plan of opening full-scale settlement houses in the North end of Boston. Instead of giving them their request, the City Missionary Society, gave them a struggling inner city mission, the Morgan Chapel established by Henry Morgan, in the South end of Boston instead (Goodwill Industries International, Inc., 2005, p.1).

            In 1986, Helms, with the help of Fred Moore, a young man on his way to being a business executive, began collecting donations of clothing and household goods from the wealthy districts of Boston (Goodwill Industries International, Inc., 2005, p.1). They hired the poor people in the district and trained them how to mend the goods collected. The goods were then resold or given to the people who mended them. The money from the sale was given as payment for those who worked to refurbish the goods (“Our History”, 2005). Their

            After a few years, Helm’s popularity grew as well as the amount of donation collected every year. In 1905 due to the boom of donations, they decided to formalize their efforts and named it “Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores Inc.”. They defined their industry as a non-profit, charitable organization (Goodwill Industries International, Inc., 2005, p. 1).

            Because of the growing popularity of “Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores Inc.”, representatives from a workshop based in Brooklyn, New York came to learn how the organization works. After these, they adopt Helms’ techniques and Helm’s, in turn, adopts their name, which is Goodwill Industries (Goodwill Industries International, Inc., 2005, p. 2).

            Goodwill Industries continued to expand over the years with the backing of the Methodist church. By 1920, there were 15 Goodwill stores and Morgan Memorial in different parts of America. In 2001, Goodwill expanded globally across 25 countries. Due to this expansion, the industry became more secular as it sought leaders outside the ministry. In addition, federal funding requirements made it necessary for Goodwill to become a more secular organization (Goodwill Industries International, Inc., 2005, p. 2-3).

            The year 2002 saw Goodwill’s 100th anniversary. After a century of helping people all over the world, the Goodwill Industry only wishes to serve more and thus they launched their 21st Century Initiative, a move to put people in workplaces and up the career ladder by the year 2020, during their 100th year celebration in Milwaukee (“21st Century”, 2005).

Organizational Structures

            George W. Kessinger — President and CEO of GOODWILL INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL, INC — now heads the organization. He was also the former president of Goodwill Orange County. In 1999, during his stay at the Orange County, he oversaw the launching of shopgoodwill.com, an online auction site for Goodwill’s products.

            Another person who holds the top position at Goodwill Industries International Inc. is Robert P. Dugas. He is the chairman of the board of directors of Goodwill. Furthermore, he has been the president and CEO of Goodwill San Antonio since 1996 (“Executive Bios”, 2007, p. 1-2).

            Directly under the president and the chairman of the board of directors are the vice chair, treasurer, secretary, and the board of directors themselves. David Hadani, Raymond Bishop, and Michael Sullivan are the vice chair, treasurer and secretary respectively. The board of directors, on the other hand, is composed of representatives from the different Goodwill headquarters across the United States of America (“Board of Directors”, 2007).

Two-way Work Systems

            Goodwill first follows the “donate – shop – volunteer” system. Most of the goods sold come from donations. In North America alone, there are 3,300 Goodwill donation locations. People can go to these places and give away their pre-owned goods. In addition, people can also make financial donations. The collected donations, as mentioned previously, is then refurbished and sold to different well-known Goodwill stores. The goods are sold at relatively cheaper price so that it would be more affordable for the poor (“Donations”, 2005).

            People can also volunteer to work for Goodwill. The organization actually encourages their staff to actively serve both their local and global communities. As a volunteer, a person can “mentor children and young adults, tutor a variety of individuals, on a wide range of topic, collect goods for shelters, organize community events, contribute to newsletters, participate in service projects, and train individuals for employment. In addition, volunteers can also opt to do job shadowing, career panels, mock interviews, music, art, and pet therapy, and cooking instructions”. Virtual volunteering is also available for people who want their volunteering time to be more flexible. Virtual volunteers are often asked to help with the bi-monthly employee newsletter of Goodwill of Greater Detroit (“Volunteer”, 2005).

             Secondly, Goodwill gives back to the community by helping those who are looking for employment and by helping other businesses. For job seekers, Goodwill provides training programs, job placements, support services, as well as online learning that teach beginners how to use computers and the Internet online (“Job Seekers”, 2005). For businesses, Goodwill provides a trained pool of workers from which these businesses may hire employees. It also offers the outsourcing of employees wit the assurance that the workers that they provide are well trained in their particular field. Moreover, Goodwill is open to partnerships and sponsors (“Businesses”, 2005).

Goodwill and Cultural Diversity

            As an international organization, Goodwill ensures that its policies are flexible enough to enable it to adapt to the specific needs of the country of which it is a part. In this manner, it exhibits its capacity to embrace cultural diversity. In addition, its services are open to all. It does not limit itself to a particular class or race. Anyone can help in fulfilling Goodwill’s mission (by donating, shopping, and volunteering) and anyone can avail of Goodwill’s services.

            Goodwill actually encourages cultural diversity such that it promotes equality among all people. It does not matter from which social background or race one comes from. Mental and physical disabilities are not a limitation. In Goodwill, everyone can be given equal opportunities to succeed.

            Many people see this outstanding mission and vision that Goodwill has. That is why its success just keeps on growing. At present Goodwill has 62 million donors and 2,145 retail stores. It revenues amount to $2.2 billion. It also continues to accept government grants and support from other companies. Most importantly, it has been able to help billions of people worldwide. In fact, “Goodwill places someone in a job every 56 seconds of every business day” (“About Goodwill”, 2005).

            In conclusion, Goodwill is a perfect example of an organization that best exemplifies the embracing of cultural diversity. With its mission to help people globally, it has been able to bring people of different cultures, nationalities, and beliefs together in an international effort to improve the quality of living of those who are poor and disadvantaged.


21st century initiative. (2005). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/whatwedo/21st.

About goodwill industries. (2005). Retrieved August 9, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=102122&name=DLFE-2245.pdf.

Board of directors. (2007). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=102011&name=DLFE-2297.pdf.

Businesses. (2005). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/business.

Donations. (2005). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/howweoperate/donate.

Executive bios. (2007). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=102011&name=DLFE-2295.pdf.

Find your local Goodwill. (2005). In Goodwill Industries International Inc. (About Goodwill.) Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about.

Goodwill Industries International Inc. (2005). Goodwill Historical Timeline. Retrieved August 8, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=102102&name=First_100_Years_Timeline_%28Text%29.pdf.

Online Auction. (2005). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/howweoperate/Shopping/onlineauction.

Our History. (2005). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/whatwedo/ourhistory.

Volunteer. (2005). Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/howweoperate.