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Our Mission

Goodwill Central Coast builds lives, families and communities by helping people with employment needs become successful, supported by innovative enterprises that preserve earth’s resources.

Taking Action

We believe that everyone has the right to work, but for many individuals the barriers to employment are too high to overcome alone. Barriers like homelessness, military service, single parenting, incarceration, addiction, and job displacement can define a person’s identity, even when they have so much more to offer.

Our goal is to ensure all of our community members know their worth and gain the skills and confidence to land a job that could turn their life around.

Each year we assist over 13,000 job seekers get back to work and reclaim financial and personal independence. We provide a positive learning environment that creates brighter futures through connecting people to meaningful work.

Find out how our programs help people find employment:

Working Together to Make a Difference

We could not impact so many lives alone. To deliver our services, we rely on partnerships with our communities’ federal and state workforce development agencies, as well as strong relationships with the local businesses that provide employment opportunities. Local community members also play an important role by donating ready-to-sell items for our stores and by choosing to shop at Goodwill.

Goodwill Central Coast employs over 500 people in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo County, including employment training professionals, sales personnel, donation center attendants, warehouse and distribution workers, and administrators. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to join our team, which is why Goodwill Central Coast is an equal opportunity employer and an advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

History

Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 by Rev. Edgar J. Helms., a Methodist minister with a vision to improve people’s lives through access to honest work. In Boston in the 1890s, Helms was stirred to action when confronted with the demoralizing conditions of the city’s many newly-arrived immigrants. They had difficulty finding work and many lacked adequate food, clothing, and shelter.

Helms decided to go door-to-door asking Boston’s upper class citizens for donations of clothing and household goods. Then, instead of just giving away these goods, he put the impoverished to work mending the donated items. Once repaired, he either gave them the goods or resold them, using the profits to pay his first unofficial Goodwill employees. This simple business model worked and gave birth to the industry’s philosophy of “a hand-up, not a hand-out.”

Goodwill Santa Cruz store in the early twentieth century
Goodwill store in the 20th century
Goodwill Santa Cruz groundbreaking ceremony
Groundbreaking in Santa Cruz in 1961
Goodwill Santa Cruz from the air
Goodwill Santa Cruz in the late 1960s
Goodwill truck in downtown Santa Cruz
Goodwill truck in downtown Santa Cruz in 1986

Where we are today

Your local Goodwill chapter, a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization, began in 1928 in the city of Santa Cruz and today has expanded into three counties: Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. We now employ over 500 people and our programs strengthen communities by improving job growth, the lives of individuals and families, and the health of our environment.

Goodwill statistics infographic