Our History

The History of Goodwill and Palmetto Goodwill

Since its humble beginnings more than 100 years ago, Goodwill has grown into a $4 billion nonprofit organization. Though times have changed, Goodwill’s mission to help people improve their lives remains constant. Each day, Goodwill organizations across the nation are proud to provide “a hand up, not a hand out.”

 

A hand up, not a hand out.

Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 in Boston by Reverend Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms collected used household items and clothing, then trained and hired the poor and immigrants to mend and repair the goods. The items were resold or given to the people who repaired them. The system worked and the organization formally incorporated in 1910 and began providing job skills training and placement programs. The name “Goodwill Industries” was later adopted after a Brooklyn, NY, workshop coined the phrase.

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Palmetto Goodwill opens in 1979

Here in Lower South Carolina, your local Goodwill has been building better communities through the power of work since the 1970s. The community has supported Goodwill Industries with donations of goods, monetary contributions and by shopping in Goodwill retail stores. Because of this support, Goodwill’s mission of helping people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work is as relevant today as it was when Goodwill opened its doors in 1979.