South Carolina Goodwill® CEO Honored for Creating an Inclusive Work Environment

During his 20 years as president and CEO of Palmetto Goodwill, Robert Smith has demonstrated a commitment to fostering a workplace that is considerate and inclusive of all people. He has introduced several internal and external efforts that contribute to a diverse and inclusive Goodwill environment. For his work ensuring that his organization provides equitable opportunities for all, Goodwill Industries International is honored to award him with its 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Award.

Smith has worked to ensure that individuals at all levels of the organization have an active voice and are considered when making organizational decisions. The Palmetto Goodwill employs more than 1,400 individuals from various demographics and diverse social economic backgrounds. 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, including seniors, veterans and military members, military spouses, individuals from 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 the Goodwill to provide upward mobility and enhanced employment opportunities to employees with disabilities.

Under Smith’s leadership, Palmetto Goodwill also participated in the first inclusion summit held by the Mayor of Charleston. The summit brings together organizations and employers throughout lower South Carolina who pledge their support for inclusion in the workforce, specifically for individuals with disabilities.

“Robert Smith has been an exceptional leader and vessel for connecting us to the community we serve, and the specific diverse populations that could benefit from Goodwill programs and services,” said Reginald Hughes, vice president of commercial services for Palmetto Goodwill. “In the past three years, we’ve built relationships with more than 5,000 veterans, provided training services to more than 700 senior workers, and gotten closer to bringing an adult charter high school to South Carolina. We’re continuing to meet the needs of our diverse community.”

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.

Smith will receive the award at Goodwill Industries International’s annual meeting of the Delegate Assembly this June in Pittsburgh, PA.

Denver Merrill
Public Relations Officer
Palmetto Goodwill
Phone: (843) 566-5277
[email protected]

Lauren Lawson-Zilai
Senior Director, Public Relations
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5266
[email protected]

Palmetto Goodwill’s programs and services are funded through the sale of generously donated household goods and clothing in 30 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.

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.

Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that offer job placement and training services, and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,300 stores collectively and online at®.

Goodwill helps people facing challenges to finding employment, including people with disabilities, veterans and military families, youth and young adults, older workers, people reintegrating into society, and others working to advance their careers. Local Goodwill organizations build revenues and expand employment opportunities by contracting with commercial, state, government and non-government organizations to provide a wide range of business services, including janitorial and grounds maintenance, flexible staffing, food service, manufacturing and contracts packaging, reverse logistics, document imaging and shredding, and laundry services.

Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed more than 288,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 36 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills, and more than two million people received in-person services.

Goodwill is both an icon and accessible neighbor: more than 82 percent of the U.S. population resides within 10 miles of a Goodwill location.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl.