Goodwill: Its Founding and History in Southern California
Image: Katherine Higgins with others at the 1st Goodwill Store opening, Los Angeles, 1918
Celebrating 100 years, the foundation of Goodwill Southern California was established in El Pueblo de Los Angeles in 1916 by Katherine B. Higgins, the first woman to establish a Goodwill. Higgins was a pivotal figure in providing social services in Los Angeles and developing the La Plaza United Methodist Church. Goodwill adopted the philosophy “Not Charity, but a Chance” furthering the original mission of Dr. Edgar J. Helms, who founded the national Goodwill organization in 1902. Higgins and the clergy of the Methodist Church opened the first store on the Plaza in 1918, offering discounted clothing and household goods. In conjunction with the Plaza Community Center, Goodwill provided employment and job training, welfare services and a health clinic to Latin Americans and other immigrants living and arriving in Los Angeles.