At the close of World War II in 1945, the world changed socially and economically. In San Antonio, those changes focused on the work of fighting poverty, creating opportunity, and reintegrating veterans which gave rise to the mission of Goodwill Industries of San Antonio.
A handful of civic leaders, including one of San Antonio’s great forces for good, William “Bill” Sinkin, came together united by a passion to help rebuild their local community. Their driving purpose was to serve the many less fortunate who had been devastated by both the direct and indirect costs of the war. The original social enterprise – a thrift shop/workshop – employed individuals with disabilities who collected donated goods and sold them in an economically disadvantaged part of town. The employees also learned how to repair donated items as needed for resale. This combination of vocational training, employment, and provision of affordable goods fulfilled a dire need in a community where people with disabilities and other barriers faced high unemployment rates and staggering poverty levels.
Their initial financial investment and courage of conviction led these civic leaders to articulate Goodwill San Antonio’s founding purpose “to prevent pauperism, to relieve the temporary distresses of the unfortunate, and to train the unemployed and handicapped in self-supporting occupations.” That purpose, fighting poverty and creating opportunity, endures and drives our mission to help change lives through the power of work believing all individuals deserve the opportunity to be successful and to thrive, achieve self-sufficiency, build strong families, and develop resilient communities.
In this 75th year of Goodwill San Antonio’s service as a nonprofit centered in Bexar County, it is sadly ironic that our anniversary coincides with a global pandemic that has again changed the world socially and economically and again spiked poverty in our community. Today, more than any other time since those humble beginnings on Pleasanton Road, we are faced with the challenge of helping rebuild a community – a community devastated by the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The courage and commitment of our community stands strong, as it did in 1945. Whether it is a single parent trying to improve the quality of life for their children, a second chance employee learning to live outside the confines of incarceration, a veteran transitioning from the military to civilian employment, or an opportunity for youth struggling to navigate their way into adulthood, Goodwill San Antonio continues to help people overcome barriers and foster hope for those who are underserved.
Jobs, better jobs, and career paths
Goodwill San Antonio’s employment and education programs equip individuals to find a job, a better job, or a career pathway offering increased earning potential.
Employment is essential for life stabilization, economic mobility, health care, and the overall health of our community. Goodwill’s Good Careers Centers help people find immediate employment through job readiness coaching and job placement assistance. Goodwill’s retail stores and business services offer sustainable employment to over 1,500 people, many of them gaining needed work experiences.
Goodwill San Antonio’s Good Careers Academy provides short-term accredited vocational training, empowering people to advance into high-demand career paths, such as pharmacy technician, commercial driving, medical assistant, and more. Thanks to our self-generated revenue and community partners, these programs are offered at no cost to students, empowering individuals, families, and our community to rebuild in a post-coronavirus world.
Because our mission starts inside, Goodwill strives to be the employer who says “yes.” That means doing more than simply providing a job, but serving our own employees with career advancement, financial literacy, life skills coaching, stable income, and affordable benefits in a culture of servant leadership.
Donated goods and retail
Goodwill San Antonio’s donated goods and retail operations provide employment and career growth opportunities to community members who repurpose donations as affordable goods for the community. Environmental sustainability is an important Goodwill commitment that our donors, employees, and shoppers help us realize by donating, purchasing, and reusing items that might have otherwise increased our landfills.
Goodwill San Antonio’s Business Services operation provides employment and career growth opportunities to individuals serving federal and local government clients as well as the business community. Services range from document management and contact center solutions to grounds maintenance, electronics recycling, and tree care
This work cannot be accomplished without generous and sustained support. Thank you, San Antonio, for your 75 years of support. We are humbled by it and are more committed than ever to helping our city emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.