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Palmetto Goodwill CEO honored for creating an inclusive work environment

Palmetto Goodwill President & CEO Robert Smith recently received the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Award at Goodwill Industries International’s annual meeting of the Delegate Assembly, held in late June in Pittsburgh, PA. The Goodwill Diversity and Inclusion Award is presented to a Goodwill executive in recognition of inclusive leadership and outstanding diversity practices and accomplishments. The award recognizes a CEO who consistently demonstrates strong leadership in inclusion and diversity.

During his 20 years at the helm of Palmetto Goodwill, Smith has worked to ensure that individuals at all levels of the organization have an active voice and are considered when making organizational decisions. Palmetto Goodwill employs more than 1,400 individuals from various demographics and diverse social economic backgrounds.

Smith stated, “We have an amazing organization that I’m honored and humbled to lead. Our leadership team is strongly committed to having a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace that truly enhances Palmetto Goodwill’s ability to accomplish its mission, which is to help people overcome their individual and specific barriers to employment and reach their full potential through the dignity and power of work.”

Through Palmetto Goodwill’s “in-touch” process, employees can share feedback and speak up on areas where they’d like to see change. From this feedback, an in-touch committee — made up of a cross-section of individuals from all levels of the organization — develops a strategic plan to implement those ideas in ways that bring value to its diverse array of workers, which includes seniors, veterans and military members, military spouses, individuals with disabilities and workers from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds, and more.

Palmetto Goodwill is an active member and grant recipient of SourceAmerica’s Quality Work Environment program. The grant is presented annually and acts as a continuous support mechanism of the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts, funding research activities and programs that allow Palmetto Goodwill to provide upward mobility and enhanced employment opportunities to employees with disabilities.

And under Smith’s leadership, Palmetto Goodwill helped organize and participate in Charleston’s first Inclusion Summit, which brought together organizations and employers throughout lower South Carolina who pledged their support for inclusion in the workforce, specifically for individuals with disabilities.



Palmetto Goodwill’s programs and services are funded through the sale of generously donated household goods and clothing in 31 retail stores across lower South Carolina. More than 90 cents of every dollar Goodwill generates helps provide support, education and job training for members of our community. In 2018 Palmetto Goodwill served 15, 398 unique individuals, placed 3,094 into new jobs and trained 4,152 people.


Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 160 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. For the past three years, Goodwill was ranked in the top five brands that inspired consumers the most with its mission in the World Value Index, commissioned by the creative agency, enso. Goodwill has been on Forbes’ list of top 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years, the only nonprofit featured on that list.