GOODWILL INDUSTRIES of Greater Cleveland, est. 1918 and inc. 1919, trains and employs disabled men and women, soliciting donations of clothes and household items to be repaired and resold. Cleveland Goodwill was one of 27 groups organized during Goodwill Industries' national expansion in 1918-19, funded by the Methodist Centenary Fund. The national group organized in Boston in 1902. Rev. Frank M. Baker, a Methodist minister, founded the local group and served as its director until his death in 1950. In addition to its resale work, Goodwill sponsored social activities for children as well as adult employees and held religious services. By 1920 Goodwill Industries had established its local headquarters at 2416 E. 9th St., where it remained until 1954, when construction of the INNERBELT FREEWAY forced a move, to 930 E. 70th St. Goodwill began receiving some aid from the Community Fund in 1922. That year the national organization adopted as its own Cleveland Goodwill's motto, "Not Charity, But a Chance."
Cleveland Goodwill described itself as a "non-sectarian workshop" in 1963. In 1972 it centralized operations in a new facility at 2295 E. 55th St. Since the 1950s Cleveland Goodwill had subcontracted to private industry but employee dissatisfaction led the local group to begin making its own wooden toys in 1978, teaching marketable woodworking skills. By 1981 Cleveland Goodwill had an annual budget of $2.5 million and trained 950 people a year. By the 1990s, Goodwill Industries had expanded its programs to emphasize job readiness, job placement, getting families off of welfare, and transitional programs for ex-offenders. It operated 2 community training centers for housekeeping and food services. In March 1995 Goodwill was awarded accreditation by the Commission on Accountability of Rehabilitation Facilities. Goodwill's 1995 budget of $4 million helped to serve an estimated 562 members of the community in job training and placement. Gladys Hall has served as executive director since 1993.