Goodwill of Southern New England, Inc., as we are known today, was born as a result of affiliations, collaborations and subsequent mergers with other community service providers in Greater New Haven. What has emerged is a progressive, community-based organization committed to its mission to enhance employment, educational, social and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities and other challenges.
The Irrepressible Society is formed in Rhode Island, five members meet weekly to sew clothes for the Union Soldiers.
The Irrepressible Society sends clothing to victims of the Great Chicago Fire.
Irrepressible Society is Incorporated by the state and approved to perform general charitable works for the city of Providence.
Goodwill Industries was founded by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of Boston, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were either resold or given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.
Goodwill Industries of Central Connecticut was formed. This fledgling organization was founded with the goal of providing employment and income for adults with disabilities. During the Depression era, these individuals might otherwise have been lost in the overwhelming social and financial pressures of the day.
The Cerebral Palsy Association, New Haven Hearing League and the State Board of Education for the Blind merged to form the New Haven Area Rehabilitation Center. At the same time, the New Haven (Easter Seal) Society for Crippled Children and Adults was formed.
The New Haven Area Rehabilitation Center was serving 500 clients per year, and a capital campaign was launched to build a larger facility. Construction was completed, and the agency moved to 20 Brookside Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut.
An historic merger occurred, the first of any two major non-profit organizations in the country. Goodwill Industries of Central Connecticut and the New Haven (Easter Seal) Society for Crippled Children and Adults joined forces along with the New Haven Area Rehabilitation Center to become Easter Seals Goodwill Industries Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
Easter Seals Goodwill Industries Rehabilitation Center, Inc. had its first opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of collaborative, neighborhood-based services. Neighborhood counselors worked in three inner city areas in cooperation with Easter Seals Goodwill Industries’ staff and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency to increase the number of individuals with disabilities to receive rehabilitation services.
The agency started two new programs. Chapel Haven began as a residential program for graduates of Maplebrook, a small private school in New York State. These graduating students required residential supports as well as vocational assessment, training and job placement services. The John Magee House, a halfway house for male alcoholics, was seeking a vocational component to enhance their existing residential component. We were able to provide vocational assessments and job placement services for residents of the John Magee House. The John Magee House merged with the Shirley Frank Foundation, a detoxification center for male alcoholics. Today, Chapel Haven continues to thrive as an independent private agency.
A second capital campaign was launched to secure space large enough to house all agency programs. In March 1987, the site at 95 Hamilton Street, New Haven, Connecticut, was officially opened. The site accommodated all vocational services, including a large sheltered workshop, outpatient medical rehabilitation services and processing and warehouse space for the retail operation.
Easter Seals Goodwill Industries kept pace with the shift to community-based services. Our sheltered workshop was officially closed, and all 185 individuals were successfully placed into community job sites throughout the Greater New Haven area.
Outpatient medical rehabilitation services were transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital and Gaylord Hospital. This allowed for a more seamless process for those patients being discharged from area hospitals who required outpatient rehabilitation services.
As vocational services were primarily being offered at various community-based locations, the building at 95 Hamilton Street was sold. Easter Seals Goodwill Industries leased back half of the building to continue serving its vocational clients with pacesetting progress in areas of vocational assessments and skills training.
We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the New Haven (Easter Seal) Society for Crippled Children and Adults and the 35th anniversary of the merger of Goodwill Industries of Central Connecticut, New Haven (Easter Seal) Society for Crippled Children and Adults and the New Haven Area Rehabilitation Center.
Easter Seals Goodwill Industries celebrates the 40th anniversary of the historic merger between Goodwill Industries of Central Connecticut, New Haven (Easter Seal) Society for Crippled Children and Adults and the New Haven Area Rehabilitation Center.
Easter Seals Goodwill Industries moved its main office to 432 Washington Avenue in North Haven to better serve program participants and to be able to serve even more individuals with disabilities and other challenges. The new facility also offers enough space for a new Goodwill Donation Center.
On October 20th, 2017 we took one more step to continue the legacy of the organizations we once were as a unified agency and changed our name to Goodwill Industries of Southern New England, Inc.
We are still the same organization, with the same programs, serving the same clients with the same employees and the same commitment to our mission to enhance employment, educational, social and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities and other challenges. This step allows us to concentrate even more on what is most important to all of us – our clients and communities – while allowing and accommodating future growth and expansion of our programs and services.
Two of New England’s best known and longest-established not for profit agencies Goodwill of Southern New England and Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island announce their merger. The merged organization, Goodwill of Southern New England, combines the strengths of two charities that have helped thousands of people with local employment opportunities, specialized job-training and other support
As time goes on, so do we – to set higher standards, create new services and develop a more broad, comprehensive base of community support and teamwork. Today and everyday, we continue with our commitment to enhance employment, educational, social and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities and other challenges.
For more information about Goodwill International click here.