Goodwill Industries was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1902, by a Methodist minister named Edgar J. Helms. He was driven to create a not-for-profit system that could employ people who were not able get jobs elsewhere, giving them “not charity but a chance.” It is this foundation that all local Goodwill organizations have been built on ever since.
Goodwill Industries of Houston was founded in 1945. Goodwill Houston was established through the vision and inspiration of W.C.Morris, Sr. and the Rotary Club of Houston. Headed by Executive Director Dorothy Rice Ewell, Goodwill opened its barrier-free doors at 201 San Jacinto Street (where the Court of Family Law building now stands).
Six years later, Goodwill moved to the corner of Smith and Prairie (where the Alley Theatre is now located).
In 1965, under the leadership of Dr. Bill Lufburrow, Goodwill Houston purchased a large section of land in Houston’s Fifth Ward at 5200 Jensen Drive to serve as its new main campus. The location also included a print shop, dental clinic, fulfillment center, cafeteria, and incorporated the largest Goodwill store in Texas.
In 1987, with more than twenty years of service as CEO, Bill Lufburrow passed away suddenly due to a heart attack. After a thorough search by the Board of Directors, Steve Lufburrow was named President & CEO.
Under Steve’s leadership, Goodwill continued expanding not only its number of stores and donation centers, but the programs offered and the people it could serve. As Goodwill Houston entered the 21stcentury, it became clear that a new space was needed. Goodwill Houston moved to 10795 Hammerly in 2005 where it saw five years of strong growth. By fall of 2011, Goodwill was able to secure a larger space at 1140 West Loop North.
Today, Goodwill Houston proudly operates in eight Texas counties from over 100 locations. Though the needs of the community have changed, Goodwill Houston’s commitment to serving individuals with barriers to employment and giving them the opportunity to thrive has not.