History

Goodwill Keystone Area (GKA)

Goodwill Keystone AreaGoodwill Keystone Area (GKA) is the result of a merger between three previously autonomous Goodwills - Goodwill Industries of Central (Harrisburg), Mid-Eastern (Reading), and Southeastern (Lancaster), PA. By combining the resources, expertise and best practices of these three separate organizations, this new entity now provides programs and services in 22 counties. Those counties are Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and
York.

The vision of Goodwill Keystone Area continues to be empowering those we serve to reach their fullest potential as workers and as members of the broader community. We assist individuals in overcoming employment barriers, including welfare dependency, illiteracy and disabilities, and introduce them to the power of earning a paycheck.

 

History

Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.

Dr. Helms’ vision set an early course for what today has become a $4 billion nonprofit organization. Helms described Goodwill Industries as an “industrial program as well as a social service enterprise…a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted.”

Times have changed, but Helms’ vision remains constant: “We have courage and are unafraid. With the prayerful cooperation of millions of our bag contributors and of our workers, we will press on till the curse of poverty and exploitation is banished from mankind.”