Palmetto Goodwill Celebrates 40 Years of Putting People to Work

Photo Caption:  From left to right front row: Robert Smith, President and CEO, Palmetto Goodwill; Lee Deas, Board Chair, Palmetto Goodwill;  Chris Stow, Board President, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce;

Photo Caption: From left to right front row: Robert Smith, President and CEO, Palmetto Goodwill; Lee Deas, Board Chair, Palmetto Goodwill; Chris Stow, Board President, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce;

On October 16, 2019 Palmetto Goodwill celebrated 40 years of service to coastal South Carolina. When Palmetto Goodwill opened its doors in 1979 with 6 employees and a $90,000 budget, nobody envisioned the immense impact it would have 40 years later, providing training, employment and community services to over 400,000 people and placing 19,157 into new jobs during that span.

Donations and revenues have continued to grow over the years and now allow Palmetto Goodwill to annually provide over 41,000 services to more than 15,000 individuals, and assist with the placement of more than 3,000 people into new jobs. The unsold donations received each year also result in over 16 million pounds of waste and e-waste being diverted from area landfills.

Tim Zarzecki speaks to the impact Palmetto Goodwill has had on his life.

Tim Zarzecki speaks to the impact Palmetto Goodwill has had on his life.

Palmetto Goodwill President & CEO Robert Smith stated, “I want to thank every person who has ever donated to Palmetto Goodwill, supported our events, shopped in our stores, partnered with us or volunteered their time. The Goodwill model only works with a supportive and engaged community and we are lucky to have had that these past forty years.”

Continuing, Smith said, “I truly believe Goodwill founder Rev. Edgar Helms would be proud of the work we have done over the past 40 years. But I also believe he would encourage us to continue moving forward with new initiatives that help more people overcome their barriers to employment and become more self-sufficient and prosperous.”

The organization celebrated their 40 year milestone by first having a breakfast with community leaders and business partners, reflecting on its history with several success stories. These included Tim Zarzecki, a Source America National Award Winner who has worked for Palmetto Goodwill since 2005; Irene Gillispie, a recent graduate of the AbilityOne program that Palmetto Goodwill is a part of; and Walter Barnwell, an Army veteran who graduated from Palmetto Goodwill’s first Culinary Kick-Start class. The breakfast ended with a scholarship award to Rickey Watson, who will now be able to attend a Welding Certification course offered as part of Palmetto Goodwill’s Career Credentialing Program.

As Palmetto Goodwill continues to grow and evolve, it is humbled and grateful for the community support that allows the organization to serve a greater good. Palmetto Goodwill remains committed to being a valued provider of education, training and employment services to those in need and is truly grateful for the contributions and continued support from throughout the 18 counties it serves.

And now, on to the next 40 years!

Palmetto Goodwill is a non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work. In operation since 1979, Palmetto Goodwill operates 31 thrift stores/donation centers, 12 Career Opportunity Centers and 14 commercial contracts to support its mission throughout coastal South Carolina.