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.
  • The Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program launches.
  • Goodwill serves more than 17,800 people and places more than 2,800 in employment.
  • Goodwill serves more than 32,000 people and places over 6,000 in employment.
  • Goodwill opens its 1st Financial Stability Center in Simpsonville, in partnership with the United Way of Greenville County. 
  • Goodwill places over 10,000 into employment. 
  • 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 places 13,037 people into employment, the highest number of placements in our history. 
  • Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina (GIUMSC) ranks 3rd nationally, out of 150+ Goodwill organizations, for total placements in 2019.  GIUMSC ranks first for revenue consumed per placement and number of placements as a ratio to population in our service area.