Goodwill’s History of Community-Building Work


Erol Onel, MD, has built up a distinguished career in the fields of urology, andrology, reproductive health, and pharmaceutical clinical development. Currently a vice president of Heron Therapeutics, Inc., Dr. Erol Onel is also devoted to philanthropy, making regular contributions to humanitarian organizations such as Goodwill Industries International, Inc.

Goodwill manages storefronts and donation centers familiar in most larger communities across the United States. The group translates supporters’ donations into helping individuals, families, and communities to improve their circumstances. It provided job skills training, career support, and other assistance to more than 300,000 people in one recent year alone.

But far fewer people today know Goodwill’s history.

At the turn of the 20th century, Dr. Edgar Helms set out to assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities to fulfill their potential as skilled employees and providers for their families. The Methodist minister and social reformer worked in Boston’s South End. He decided that the best way to help the people of the neighborhood to help themselves was to offer them a means of working with dignity.

So, in 1902, he founded Goodwill, through which people from disadvantaged backgrounds repaired donated clothing, then sold it at prices affordable to others of limited means. While today’s Goodwill employees no longer repair the used items they sell, the basic model of offering both employment and a means of obtaining necessities for only a nominal charge remains, with everyone involved benefiting from the transaction.


The American Heart Association – A Century-Long Educational Mission


American Heart Association

Erol Onel, MD, works in pharmaceutical product development for La Jolla, California-based Heron Therapeutics, Inc. The experienced urologist’s resume also includes a previous position as an assistant professor at Tufts University/New England Medical Center. Dr. Erol Onel remains committed to improving the world for others, a driving force behind his support of the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA serves the public as the United States’ largest and oldest organization focused on the prevention and treatment of heart disease and strokes, both of which are among the leading causes of death in the U.S. Founded in 1924 by a group of half a dozen cardiologists, it continues to fund groundbreaking new research projects and serve as a voice of advocacy for patients, families, and physicians.

The organization’s roots go back a decade further: In 1915 in New York City, a group called the Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease formed around the issue of providing more – and more accurate – information about heart disease to the public.

With its membership now totaling in the tens of thousands, the AHA continues this focus on outreach, with its website offering a wide range of articles and links to helpful resources.