Goodwill. America’s Original Thrift.

Goodwill Industries was founded in 1902 by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of Boston, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were either resold or given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of "a hand up, not a hand out" was born.


  • Lloyd Auten brings the Goodwill movement to South Carolina.
  • “Goodwill Industries of Upper South Carolina” becomes a reality. The organization’s mission is to provide job training and placement opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs and help them become independent citizens.
  • Goodwill’s first South Carolina store opens at 912 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville.
  • Goodwill places 15 donation boxes in Greenville to give donors a convenient way to donate.
  • Goodwill begins its contract workshop doing jobs for local businesses. The Goodwill motto “Not Charity, but a Chance” emerges.
  • Goodwill serves 141 people and places 20 people into employment.
  • Goodwill expands into the Midlands region, with the first Columbia-area store opening on St. Andrews Rd.
  • Job training programs expand via the establishment of the Food Service Training Program.
  • Goodwill serves 312 people and places 144 people into competitive employment.
  • Goodwill opens its first Job Connection at the Western Square facility in Berea, followed by Job Connection locations in Columbia, Greenville, Simpsonville, Anderson, and Greer over the next 5 years.
  • Goodwill moves to its current headquarters and distribution center at 115 Haywood Rd, Greenville.
  • The Food Service training program moves to Haywood Rd., taking on the identity of a Subway franchise owned by Goodwill and operated by clients training for the Food Service industry.
  • Goodwill opens its first Clearance Center at the Haywood Rd location.
  • Goodwill Industries of Upper South Carolina becomes Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina.
  • Goodwill serves more than 9,000 people.
  • Goodwill celebrates one million “safe hours,” earning multiple recognitions from the National Safety Council.
  • Goodwill launches a program to train people with visual impairments in the operation of JAWS (Job Access With Speech) software.
  • The Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program launches.
  • Goodwill serves more than 17,800 people and places more than 2,800 in employment.
  • Goodwill launches the Manufacturing Skills Standards Certification (MSSC) training program.
  • Goodwill serves more than 32,000 people and places over 6,000 in employment.
  • Goodwill begins the Contact Center (Call Center) Training Program.
  • Goodwill’s 16th Job Connection opens.
  • Goodwill opens its 1st Financial Stability Center in Simpsonville, in partnership with the United Way of Greenville County. 
  • Goodwill’s 17th, 18th, and 19th Job Connections open.
  • Goodwill starts the Cleaning Management Institute (Custodial Services) Training Program. 
  • Goodwill’s opens the 20th, 21st, and 22nd Job Connections.    
  • Goodwill's 2nd Financial Stability Center, a United Way Center for Working Families, opens in Greenville.
  • Goodwill places over 10,000 into employment. 
  • Goodwill’s opens the 23rd and 24th Job Connections.    
  • Goodwill's 3nd Financial Stability Center, in partnership with United Way of Kershaw County, opens in Camden.
  • Goodwill serves 36,438 people and places 10,596 people into jobs. 
  • Goodwill opens its Midlands-area headquarters in West Columbia.  The facility includes regional offices, retail store, outlet store, and Goodwill's 25th Goodwill Job Connection.
  • Goodwill is awarded a grant to start a YouthBuild training program in Greenville County.  The program launches in March 2016.  
  • Goodwill also launches a construction training program specifically for ex-offenders.  
  • Goodwill places 11,149 people into employment. 
  • Goodwill opens the Travelers Rest store, and relocates the E. North Street store in Greenville to N. Pleasantburg Drive.
  • Three new Goodwill Job Connections opens, in Travelers Rest, Anderson, and Greenville.   
  • Goodwill places 11,786 people into employment, the highest number in our history.