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Our vision is to build vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable communities where everyone has an opportunity for meaningful employment.
Our Work Changes Lives
Goodwill Amity harnesses the power of work to address the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges today: we’re a path to income security for individuals and their families; we’re a catalyst for strong and healthy neighbourhoods; we’re a benchmark for sustainability in the retail marketplace. In all these ways, Goodwill Amity is influencing positive, long-lasting transformational change.
We put people first.
We are client-centered and live Goodwill’s empowering mottos of “not a charity but a chance” and “a hand up not a handout.”
We are entrepreneurial.
Goodwill was a social enterprise a century before it was called social enterprise and we are proud of that heritage. We continue and build on it by being enterprising, energetic, and innovative. We seek mission-integrated opportunities to further our social impact.
We hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
We act honourably and truthfully. We bring sincerity to all we do.
We strive for excellence.
We seek to continuously improve what we do and how we do it. We encourage innovation and healthy risk-taking to achieve our mission.
We are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
We champion and draw strength from our differences. We strongly believe we are better, together.
We are responsible stewards.
We respect our accountability to our donors, our customers, our clients, our employer partners, our funders, our supporters, and our community.
We embrace sustainability.
By enabling reuse, recycling, and reducing waste, we do all we can to be good to our environment and future generations.
We are collaborative.
We aim to build and contribute to the systems and networks that enhance our ability to achieve our mission. Our work is community-centred and characterized by collaboration and outreach.
We support each other.
We are committed to building an encouraging, caring, and supportive work environment. We take seriously a shared responsibility to support our employees and enrich their lives.
Our mission is to change lives and strengthen communities through the power of work.
Through our mission, we believe that the power of work can address the intractable social issues of our time: tackling poverty, contributing to a greener planet and building stronger communities.
Goodwill, The Amity Group was started in Hamilton in 1935 to help able bodied men thrown out of work by the great depression. The first part of this effort started as a men’s social club to provide activities that would keep them out of the bars. The focus soon turned to helping them earn a living and this was accomplished by using their skills to refurbish and sell used goods, in particular furniture.
After World War II
When WW II arrived, the need to employ these men disappeared as they reported for duty, however Amity as it was then known, turned its attention to recycling metal for the war effort.
After the war, Amity turned attention to supporting individuals with disabilities by providing services that would lead to employment. The sale and repair of donated used goods once again was at the centre of this effort for many as it built skills that could lead to meaningful work.
Becoming a Member of Goodwill Industries International
In 1973, Amity saw that by becoming a member of Goodwill Industries International, it would benefit from the expertise and brand recognition that Goodwill has throughout the world and so Amity became Amity Goodwill Industries, eventually changing its name yet again to Goodwill, The Amity Group. As a Goodwill member, Goodwill Amity is assigned a territory to service, which now includes Hamilton, Halton (including Burlington, Oakville, and Milton), Brantford and Haldimand-Norfolk.
Goodwill Industries International ]had been founded in Boston in 1902 by Dr. Edgar Helms. His purpose was to help immigrants with barriers to employment find work, some of which was achieved, just as in Amity’s case, by recycling used goods through thrift stores.
Today, Goodwill is the world’s largest retailer of used goods and one of the world’s largest workforce development organizations, providing services to over 1.5 million job seekers a year and supporting thousands of employers in finding their workforce.
Goodwill, throughout the world provides a wide variety of services and reflects the needs of the individual communities that they serve. Each Goodwill is an autonomous member organization of Goodwill Industries International, with its own local Board of Directors and staff.
This ensures that each Goodwill has the benefit of shared resources and expertise, while being able to identify and respond to the ever changing needs of its own community. But at the heart of each Goodwill is the primary mandate to help individuals find work.
Goodwill Amity Today
Today, Goodwill Amity continues to serve its communities by helping people enter and re-enter the workforce; supporting marginalized and vulnerable job seekers in overcoming barriers to employment; offering hands-on skill development; and serving employers in meeting their hiring objectives.
Its retail business also continues to provide a training ground for individuals who want to gain work experience before seeking competitive community employment. Our offerings, environments, and systems also continue to evolve to stay competitive so we can provide that training ground and generate proceeds to reinvest in our local nonprofit community services even as for-profit stores like Value Village now compete for consumers’ dollars.
With our unique integration of social enterprise and social service, Goodwill Amity is positioned to deliver on its mission of “changing lives and strengthening communities” for decades to come.
Goodwill is about the power of work in people’s lives and that power cannot be overstated. A job means a paycheque and the ability to provide for your family. It gives a sense of purpose and the pride that goes with that. For employers, finding the right candidate means they can meet their operational objectives. And for the economy as a whole, employment is the key measure of our collective performance.
Helping Break Down the Barriers
Through our Employment Services, Goodwill The Amity Group provides job preparation, skills development, coaching, and training around resume writing, interview skills, and networking to help individuals who are seeking work. For those facing barriers to employment, we help break down the barriers. And we provide job maintenance, to ensure once a job is secured that it is retained.
In our social enterprises, including our thrift stores and our Stairways café and catering division, we offer hands-on training and experience so that clients gain the skills they will need to enter their industry of interest.
Contributing to a Greener Environment
In addition to providing training opportunities to job seekers, our thrift stores offer an array of options to customers who are budget-savvy and environmentally aware. Clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares – and the occasional treasure! – can be found at a fraction of the cost of new retail, and without the environmental impact.
Did you know that the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world and is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined? By donating to or shopping at Goodwill you are supporting the reuse and recycling on goods.
Generating Revenue for Employment Services
Our stores are thrift with a mission because they make an environmental contribution and generate proceeds that support our non-profit Employment Services activities in our communities.
In Hamilton, Halton and Brant, Goodwill The Amity Group has been operating since 1935. Internationally, Goodwill has operated since 1902 and is one of the world’s largest workforce development providers, assisting over 1.5 million individuals worldwide annually.
It is a privilege for us, our funders, supporters, volunteers, and donors, to play an active role in increasing employment and enhancing our community. Our mission is to “change lives and strengthen communities through the power of work,” which is what we aim to do every single day.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of Goodwill, The Amity Group is responsible for the overall governance of the organization; ensuring alignment with our core mission, vision and values; the setting of long-term strategic directions; oversight of the President and CEO; and advancing the organization’s visibility in our communities through their leadership and ambassadorial roles.