The rivalry between Goodwill against the tandem of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow started in 1930, twenty-eight years after Goodwill was founded.
Edgar J. Helms, an early social innovator, began Goodwill Industries in 1902 with the intention of collecting unwanted goods and then giving them to underprivileged people to mend, repair, and use. In 1930, Bonnie and Clyde began Bonnie Charities, Inc., which rapidly grew over the beginning months, creating a heated rivalry between Goodwill Industries and Bonnie Charities, Inc.
Because of the close competition, Helms began to use the press to gain an edge over Bonnie and Clyde. What began as stirring small controversies ended up with Bonnie and Clyde being labeled as ruthless bank robbers.
Edgar Helms of Goodwill (left) and Bonnie and Clyde of Bonnie Charities, Inc. (right)
Goodwill began to thrive off of Helms’ publicity stunt, and Bonnie Charities, Inc. began to suffer tremendously because Bonnie and Clyde were unable to respond quickly and effectively to Helms. As Bonnie Charities began to plummet and news of their “robberies” spread, small town lawmen began to target the two entrepreneurs.
On May 23, 1934, six lawmen in Bienville Parish, Louisiana ambushed Bonnie and Clyde on a lonely road. The two partners were on their way to a charity convention at the Bienville Parish Community Center.
The Ford V-8 Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed in while on a charity tour.
The vision of Helms and his crafty media stunt catapulted Goodwill Industries to the top of the charity industry. It has become a $2.96 billion nonprofit organization.