Goodwill has been fortunate to have been guided by three visionary leaders since its inception in Indianapolis in 1930. Reverend Howard Lytle, the first Executive Director of Goodwill, established Goodwill as an important organization in the community and built the foundation for volunteer leadership that is so important to Goodwill today. When Alan McNeil took over, the second of only three CEOs for Goodwill since its founding in 1930, he sought to further the organization’s mission and continue the legacy of his predecessor, Howard Lytle. After expanding Goodwill’s retail stores beyond Indianapolis, McNeil led a campaign to raise funds for the organization that far surpassed its goal. Being a keen businessman with his eye on the long-term future of the organization, he proposed the establishment of the Goodwill Industries Foundation, a vehicle that would allow the board to invest in various financial assets that could fund new initiatives. After much planning, the Foundation was approved as the first of its kind for Goodwills nationwide.
On November 29, 1971, distinguished community leaders met to sign the articles of incorporation and appoint the first board of directors for the Goodwill Industries Foundation. Its stated mission was to provide the funds to support Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana’s innovative approach toward providing jobs and educational opportunities. This included establishing and expanding employment services and awarding internships to promising students interested in careers related to Goodwill’s work.
Russell Hirschman served as the first president of the Goodwill Industries Foundation, a role he held for nine years. His son, Frank, served on the Foundation Board from 1998 until his death in 2009. Frank’s son, John, has continued the family legacy of service on the Goodwill Industries Foundation Board of Directors since 2007. William A. Dyer, who served Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana for over 25 years, was the Foundation’s second chair. During his tenure, he doubled assets and introduced many friends to the work of Goodwill. Jack Dustman took over as chair of the board in 1986, after chairing the national Goodwill Board from 1979-1980. Until his death in 2006, he tirelessly raised funds for the Foundation and set up an endowment fund to provide internships to students interested in sales, marketing, development or general management. The Jack Dustman Society honors Jack’s memory by recognizing individuals who have supported Goodwill with a planned or outright gift of $50,000 or more.
The third and current CEO of Goodwill, Jim McClelland, has led the organization since 1973, driving changes in services to meet the changing needs of the community. In 2004, Goodwill opened the Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school focused on fostering academic success and post-secondary education, and in 2010, the organization opened the first of five Excel Center locations, offering a diploma option and a pathway to economic success to high school dropouts.
Today the interest generated by the endowment provides funding for various programs within Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana and its related entities, Goodwill Education Initiatives and Goodwill Commercial Services. While the retail stores continue to be the financial engine of Goodwill, the Foundation fosters expansion and innovation to tackle community problems. The foundation allows Goodwill to improve services that move individuals towards personal, educational and vocational success and economic self-sufficiency.