Celebrating 90 Years | The Early History of Seattle Goodwill

by Lauren Robinson, Seattle Goodwill
March 8, 2013

Office frontSeattle Goodwill was founded in 1923 by a group of local business people who recognized a need for training and employment for those without job skills. These founders established Seattle Goodwill at its original location at the corner of Boren Avenue and Virginia Street.

After moving to the corner of First Avenue and Cedar Street, Seattle Goodwill quickly outgrew the space.  By 1930, we had moved to our current location at 1400 South Lane Street, purchasing an old hotel on the site with funds raised by Seattle citizens.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Seattle Goodwill traded work for goods such as clothing, furniture and housewares. In these years, approximately 1,500 people a month would work at Seattle Goodwill in exchange for anything from a pair of socks to a complete outfit or a houseful of furniture.

Learn more about how we've served the community over the years on our 90th anniversary timeline!

Work line

Top: Founders and employees in front of the first Seattle Goodwill location
Bottom: Men and women lined up outside Seattle Goodwill in 1936

Check out our 90th anniversary timeline to read more Goodwill stories and share your own!


Lauren Robinson is the Digital Communications Coordinator at Seattle Goodwill.

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