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Our History

100 Years of Impact

Evergreen Goodwill of Northwest Washington is celebrating our centennial in 2023.The organization has evolved dramatically throughout the past century but one thing has remained – our commitment to serving the community by breaking down significant barriers to education and employment. Throughout 2023, we will reflect on the significant events in Evergreen Goodwill’s history, starting at the very beginning when Seattle Goodwill Industries was introduced to the City of Seattle at the corner of Boren and Virginia.

Continue to visit this page, and together, we’ll take a look back at our history – decade by decade – and the intricate role Evergreen Goodwill has played in Northwest Washington State.


Evergreen Goodwill 
opens first store

May 1923 in Seattle at Boren Avenue and Virginia Street.

Evergreen Goodwill Open First Store 1920

Donors filled donation bags at home with used clothing, carpets and other goods to be repaired and resold in stores.

Evergreen Goodwill Donation 1920
“Not charity, but a chance”

was Evergreen Goodwill’s original slogan. The organization provided jobs – as well as shelter and food – to thousands of people regardless of their race, gender, religion, education or ability.

Evergreen Goodwill 1920
Read more about 1920’s


April 7, 1930

Evergreen Goodwill of Northwest Washington announced the site of its new headquarters – located at the intersection of Dearborn and South Lane Streets in Seattle.

Evergreen Goodwill 1930 April

As the effects of the stock market crash of 1929 reached Seattle, area workers lost their jobs. In December of 1930, Evergreen Goodwill served over 9,200 meals to people in need, and provided shelter to hundreds of people in the community.

Evergreen Goodwill 1930
May 23, 1933

marked the organization’s 10-year anniversary. In its first 10 years, Evergreen Goodwill paid workers a total of $970,000+ and assisted 66,596 people.

Evergreen Goodwill 1940 May
Read more about 1930’s


Salvage for Victory

During WWII, Goodwill supported the wartime effort by collecting and sorting through scraps, including metals that were sent to Boeing for manufacturing airplanes.
Evergreen Goodwill 1940
Arising From the Ashes

On May 10th, 1945, Seattle Goodwill’s workshop and headquarters at 1400 Lane St. was destroyed in a fire. Insurance and a fundraising drive covered the costs of a new modern, fire-proof building that included a retail store, cafeteria, chapel and offices.

Evergreen Goodwill 1940 Newspaper
Evergreen Goodwill 1940 1400 South Lane
Mission focused

Throughout the 1940s, Evergreen Goodwill continued to collect, repair and sell gently used items to fund its Job Training and Education programs.

Evergreen Goodwill 1940 Mission
Read more about 1940’s


A Shift in Mission Focus

Throughout the 1950’s, Evergreen Goodwill shifted the focus of its mission to serving individuals with disabilities. The mascot, Good Willy, helped spread awareness of the organization’s services.

Evergreen Goodwill 1950 Boy Chair
Evergreen Goodwill 1950
Free Meals for Employees

Evergreen Goodwill launched a free meal program to help combat food insecurity. For many employees, this was the most substantial meal of the day.

Evergreen Goodwill 150 Meals
Largest in the World

in 1953, the organization’s flagship store location was substantially expanded into the iconic store that remains today at 1400 South Lane Street in Seattle. This store continues to be the largest Goodwill thrift store in the world.

Evergreen Goodwill 150 Largest
Read more about 1950’s


Women’s Auxiliary

Much of Evergreen Goodwill’s fundraising and outreach work was done by the Women’s Auxiliary, founded in 1924. Key responsibilities of the Women’s Auxiliary were the placement of Goodwill bags in homes and organization of fundraisers.

Evergreen Goodwill 1960 Woman Aux

Evergreen Goodwill became the inspiration for a passionate social worker who studied the organization for six months in 1963.

Inspiration for others
Expanding Impact

The Seattle Lane Street headquarters and flagship store underwent significant expansion that provided additional job training and employment opportunities to over 1,100 individuals with disabilities, in 1964.

Evergreen Goodwill 1960 Ei
New Policies Drove Change

Technological advancements and environmental policies drove changes in Evergreen Goodwill’s business practices. New strategies were formed to fund our Job Training and Education programs and services.

Evergreen Goodwill 1960 Npdc
Read more about 1960’s


Focus on Individuals Facing Barriers

With more organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities emerging in the region, Evergreen Goodwill chose to focus on assisting individuals facing economic and educational challenges.

Evergreen Goodwill 1970 Fifb
A Shift to Vocational Training

In 1979, Evergreen Goodwill launched vocational training classes for anyone facing barriers to education and employment. Classes were free and included cashiering, graphic arts, electronics assembly, bank telling. GED advising, resume and interview preparation, and English as a Second Language (ESL).

Evergreen Goodwill 1970 Svt
New “Attended Donation Stations”

Rising fuel costs caused Evergreen Goodwill to abandon our practice of picking up donations, and instead launched attended donation stations that allowed people to conveniently drop off donated goods.

Evergreen Goodwill 1970 Nads
Read more about 1970’s


Rise in Personal Computers

As firms like Microsoft transformed Seattle into a center of global innovation, Evergreen Goodwill recognized the significant need of computer skills to compete for modern office jobs.

Evergreen Goodwill 1980 Rpc
Responding to Competition

The launch of our Adult Basic Education (ABE) and computer training classes empowered individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive in the ever-changing job market.

Evergreen Goodwill 1980 Rtc
eWaste Collection

In 1986, we took the lead in combating electronic waste (eWaste) by introducing our electronics- recycling program. We began accepting donations of VCRs, cameras, and calculators, which started our journey towards responsible eWaste disposal.

Evergreen Goodwill 1980 Ec
Read more about 1980’s


A Commitment to Education

During the early ’90s, Evergreen Goodwill began offering programs like “Job Readiness Training” that prepared individuals for employment and community involvement.

Evergreen Goodwill 1990 Ce
Growth and Expansion

In the mid-’90s, Evergreen Goodwill not only broadened its program offerings but also expanded our nonprofit retail presence, opening new stores in Tukwila, Bremerton, and other locations, bringing the total to 10 retail locations by 1999.

Evergreen Goodwill 1990 Ge
Grunge and Thrift: 
A Fashion Revolution

Grunge subculture embraced thrifted, well-worn fashion, turning flannels, ripped jeans, and vintage tees into symbols of rebellion and self-expression, with Evergreen Goodwill playing a central role for grunge fashion enthusiasts.

Evergreen Goodwill 1990 Gt
Read more about 1990’s


Removing Barriers to Work

In the early 2000s, Evergreen Goodwill recognized how barriers to work could prevent people from accessing our job training and adult education programs. By assisting with transportation, healthcare, and housing, Evergreen Goodwill ensured that all community members would be able to access our resources.

Evergreen Goodwill 2000 Rbw
A New Era of Leadership

In 2003, Ken Colling became Evergreen Goodwill’s first CEO. Colling built upon the legacy of leadership and growth that defined the previous President, Jill Jones’ 24 years at the organization.

Jill Jones Gw
Evergreen Goodwill 2000 Nl
Launching STRIVE

The STRIVE Program (Striving Towards Rebuilding Individuals Vocational Empowerment Program) was established to help people overcome barriers to employment by providing opportunities to gain work experience, basic computer skills, vocational training, and access to important resources.

Evergreen Goodwill 2000 Strive
Evergreen Expansion

The 2000s saw seven new Evergreen Goodwill locations open, including Renton, Bellevue and University District stores. By the end of the decade, Evergreen Goodwill had opened nearly one dozen Job Training and Education Centers that helped community members find ongoing education, rewarding employment, and financial security.

Evergreen Goodwill 2000 Ee
Read more about 2000’s


“Thrift Shop”

The Grammy Award-winning song by local artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis helped usher in a second Thrifting Revolution that inspired a new appreciation of vintage fashion and reused items.

2000s 1
Eco Friendly EGNW

The environmentally conscious, three-story administration building is equipped with spacious classrooms, a WorkSource drop-in center, and student lounge that allows us to serve more individuals and increase our impact.

2000s 2
Unlocking Career Pathways

Partnerships with Boeing, The Port of Seattle, and The Youth Maritime Collaborative allowed Evergreen Goodwill to offer aerospace and maritime programs to youth in the region.

2000s 4
Read more about 2010’s


Our Digital Equity Buses bring Evergreen Goodwill’s computer classes, workforce development programs, and wraparound support services to rural and under-resourced communities across Northwest Washington.

Goodwill Bus

In February 2024, our newest store opened in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Evergreen Goodwill will continue to expand its footprint and adapt its programs in order to best serve our 5-county service area.

Goodwill 2020s
Read more about 2020’s

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