Frequently asked questions

Our Mission is to help people in our community to live, work and thrive through housing, employment and supportive services.

Goodwill has always believed in the power of work to change lives and build better communities. We offer Supported Employment opportunities and job skills training for community members with barriers to work.

Our group homes and subsidized apartment units are a safe place to call home for low income adults with chronic mental illness and seniors.

Through our Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) program, we help households with low to moderate income in filing their annual tax returns every year.

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our tax ID number is 39-114-7571.

We are an independent member of the international Goodwill network. Serving a 14 county region in South Central Wisconsin, we tailor our community programs and services to the needs of our region.

The revenue that we generate from the sale of donated goods at our 13 local thrift stores and our online shops is reinvested directly into our community and helps to fund employment and housing programs for individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

90.8 cents of all dollars and donations used support our mission programs. Our Annual Report provides additional details regarding financials and community impact.

Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Reverend Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms created the Goodwill philosophy of “not charity, but a chance” when he collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired people who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then sold or given to the people who repaired them. 120 years later, Goodwill remains a household name and leading nonprofit provider of educational and workforce-related services. 

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin began in 1962 as a division of the Milwaukee Goodwill. The Madison division separated from the Milwaukee Goodwill in January 1971 and has since expanded to serve a 14 county region in South Central Wisconsin.