GOODWILL INDUSTRIES-KNOXVILLE, INC.
Since this time, Goodwill's mission has grown into an international movement, improving the quality of life for disabled and disadvantaged individuals around the world.
Locally, in 1971, Knoxville Mayor George Dempster felt a need for a community program for the young disabled population. In loving memory of his wife, Dempster granted $10,000 to begin a workshop program known as Dempster Memorial Workshop overlooking Gay Street.
Stephen Casey served as the workshop’s first Executive Director from 1971 through 1973. Casey led the program through very difficult years, however it is due to his diligent efforts that the program survived.
After a heart attack, Casey could no longer assume the duties of Executive Director. He was replaced by a former Goodwill Executive Director in Minneapolis, MN. It was during this time that the overall program began to plummet. The Board of Directors had to decide whether to file bankruptcy or give it one last chance in early 1975.
The outcome of this decision left Robert G. Rosenbaum as Interim Executive Director after serving only two months as Director of Rehabilitation. In early September of 1975, the ‘interim’ was dropped from his title.
Since that time, the staff has expanded from six or seven to more than 350, while the number of individuals that Goodwill Serves has grown from roughly 75 to over 3,800 in 2011. The budget has also grown over the years, from bankruptcy to a budget over $13 million in 2012.
Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc. has grown into twenty-seven retail locations and five employment training and rehabilitation centers throughout its 15 county service area.
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