A Century of Good
Celebrate Goodwill's Legacy of Community Impact
In 2018, Goodwill celebrates 100 years of service in Colorado! Our legacy of community impact began in 1918 and continues today with career development and employment opportunities across the Denver metro area reaching nearly 27,000 Coloradans in need annually.
Changing Lives Since 1918
Melissa Briggs was a prominent Methodist deaconess who founded the Denver chapter of Goodwill in 1918. She was often seen around town riding her bicycle collecting donations and discarded items. These items were then cleaned, repaired, and given to people in need.
A century later, Melissa’s spirit of helping others is present throughout the Goodwill community. Our donors, shoppers, program participants, and employees all embody Goodwill’s mission, helping to usher in the next century of changing lives.
Historical Photo Gallery
The Epworth building on the corner of 31st and Lawrence, was home to the Missionary Society of the Methodist Church. This is where Melissa Briggs launched the program that would eventually become Goodwill Industries of Denver. Assistant Pastor Rev. Russell S. Jones spent two months in Boston with Rev. Edgar J. Helms, founder of Goodwill. You can learn more about Edgar J. Helms here.
In the early days, Goodwill operated out of the Epworth building with a skeletal staff consisting of a truck driver, a presser, and a clothing repairer. The store came shortly after and was built in the back of the church.
Goodwill Industries of Denver was established in 1918 with a focus on serving disabled veterans from World War I and immigrants moving west.
"Throw all your shoes at us!" A group of Goodwill employees collect donations along Lawrence and 31st Streets in Denver.
The first retail thrift stores opened in the 1930's to supply clothing and goods to families with limited means. This location was at 23rd and Larimer in Denver.
A Goodwill truck driver poses next to his vehicle before collecting bags of donations.
In the 1940s, stores, collection centers and training/employment programs for disadvantaged populations expanded to suburban counties and northern Colorado cities. Today, there are 30 area retail stores, nine, donations centers, three Outlet Worlds and one Déjà Blue Boutique. These locations, plus Goodwill's three Career Connection Centers, and partnerships with 37 schools across the region, Goodwill is able to serve nearly 27,000 Coloradans in need annually.
In the 1960's, the Women’s Auxiliary was established and became a major source of volunteers for Goodwill. Goodwill’s Rehabilitation Services Division was expanded to include “sociological, psychological, occupational therapy and vocational evaluation services” for persons with severe disabilities. Program participants were referred to Goodwill by the Colorado Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
An exterior shot of a Goodwill retail store in the 1970's.
A donation attendant poses next to a Goodwill collection truck in the 70's.
In 1985, Goodwill moved into its current headquarters located at 6850 Federal Blvd.
In the 1980's, Goodwill began computer skills training programs for individuals with barriers to employment.
In the 90's, Goodwill partnered with Adams County on welfare to work. In the early 2000's, Goodwill began focusing on programs for at-risk youth, targeting the next generation of workers.
Explore Goodwill's History
It was originally founded back on April 4, 1918. Goodwill Denver now employs more than 1,500 people.
Goodwill Industries of Denver started back in 1918 at the Epworth Church on Lawrence Street. Methodist Deaconess Melissa Briggs would ride her bike around Denver collecting donations, and put people to work fixing them up.
He was born in the 19th century but his legacy remains relevant today. On January 19th, we're celebrating the 155th birthday of Goodwill Industries International Founder - Dr. Edgar J. Helms - a man who believed in the power of work to transform lives.
Dating back to the early 1900s, these dolls not only represent the early days of Goodwill Industries of Denver, but the early days of Denver itself. The 2-foot-high doll represents Melissa Briggs.