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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.
Andrea Donlan – Chair and Director
Andrea joined the Board in 2019, when she was the President and CEO of Manifest Communications, a social change firm. In January 2020 she joined MacMillan Vantage Policy and serves as a Vice President, engaged in public affairs and strategic communications with a particular focus on corporate purpose and social impact. She has been Chair since September 2020.
Glen Norton, CPA MBA – Vice Chair and Director
Glen was first appointed to the Board in June 2020 then elected to his first three year term in September of that year. He was also appointed Vice Chair in September 2020 and re-appointed at the June 8 AGM. Glen spent over 22 years in Canadian mid-market commercial banking in Southwestern Ontario. Between 2009 and 2020 he worked at the City of Hamilton and retired in February from his position as Director, Economic Development. Glen has volunteered with community organizations including the United Way and is currently Board Vice Chair for the Muskoka Community Foundation.
Akosua Alagaratnam – Director
Akosua is the Executive Director of First Work, Ontario’s youth employment network. Prior to joining First Work she worked as a senior public affair professional, primarily focused on policy affecting marginalized communities and youth. Prior positions include roles with the Provincial Minister of Children and Youth Services and as a senior policy advisor with the Provincial Minister of Finance. Akosua also serves on the Board of The Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCBET), and MABELLEarts. Akosua was appointed to the Board in January 2022.
Kelly Duffin – Director and Secretary/Treasurer
Goodwill Amity President and CEO.
Khadija Hamidu – Director
As a sociology and anthropology McMaster Alumni graduate, Khadija Hamidu has extensive experience in community development, labour market statistics and social services. She is currently the Executive Director of Workforce Planning Hamilton and has held previous roles with Wesley Urban Ministries, the YMCA of Hamilton Brantford, Community Living and the Social Research and Planning Council. Khadija was appointed to the Board in March 2022.
Indira Naidoo-Harris – Director
Indira is a trusted public leader, policy-maker, journalist, and human rights advocate currently serving as the Associate Vice-President of Diversity and Human Rights at the University of Guelph. She is a former MPP for Halton and has held several cabinet posts, including Ontario’s first ever Minister of the Status of Women, Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care, Associate Minister of Finance, and Minister of Education. Before entering politics, Naidoo-Harris was an award winning journalist in Canada and internationally with outlets including NBC, PBS, CBC, OMNI, TVO, and CTV.
Cortney Oliver, MA – Director
Cortney was elected to the Board in September 2020. She is currently Manager, Municipal Sponsorship for Metrolinx. Prior to that role she was Senior Policy Advisor at the LCBO. She served on the LCBO’s Employee Engagement for Sustainability Committee and has volunteered for Woodgreen Community Organization and United Way in the past. At the AGM Cortney was appointed Chair of the Board Development Committee.
David Rathbun, MBA, FLMI – Director
David was re-elected in September 2020 to a second three year term. He has 30 years of executive experience across a number of sectors. Previously an Executive Vice President of Bell Aliant, President of xwave Solutions and Chief Talent Officer at Clearwater Seafoods, he currently consults on strategy, organizational development, and change management. He is also a Senior Consultant with the Atlantic Leadership Development Institute, a former member of the Counsel of Human Resource Executives for the Conference Board of Canada and past Chair of the Prior Learning Centre.
Carmela Trombetta – Director
Carmela is currently RBC Royal Bank’s Vice President, Commercial Financial Services for the Greater Hamilton Market and has over 30 years of experience in the financial services sector with the bank. She has a BA in Economics from McMaster University, has completed Canadian Securities courses and has a Personal Financial Planning Diploma. Carmela has been a volunteer leader in the region, having served as a campaign cabinet member with United Way Halton & Hamilton, and on the Boards of organizations including the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Mohawk College Foundation, and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation.