History of Our Agency

1962–2012: “50 Decades of Good” History Timeline Highlights of Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley, Inc.

(On January 1, 2017, GICV officially changed its name to “Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies.”)

Open a PDF version of this timeline.


In the Fall of 1960, a select group of concerned citizens in Johnstown, Pennsylvania banded together because of their common interest and concern for individuals with disabilities and the lack of opportunities available to them for good-paying jobs. Many of these citizens had links to Johnstown’s Franklin Street United Methodist Church. This led to their interest in Goodwill Industries, founded in 1902 by Methodist minister, Reverend Edgar J. Helms, who pioneered the organization that gave people hope, dignity, and independence. The citizens group later formed an agency, naming it Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley and incorporating it on December 6, 1962.

GICV’s Board of Incorporators*
GICV’s First Board of Directors**

  • George Bockel, BOI Treasurer* **
  • Thomas Carroll* **
  • Joseph Casale, BOI Secretary* **
  • Paul Dech, BOD President* **
  • Thomas Fulton, Jr., BOI Chair* **
  • Edwin Golob**
  • Patrick Green* **
  • Robert Himes, BOD Vice-President* **
  • D. Dwight Lehman, BOD Secretary**
  • David Levin**
  • Walter Liebfreid**
  • Dr. Elmer Match, BOI Vice-Chair*
  • Joseph Roberts**
  • Ed Schellhammer, BOD Treasurer* **
  • Robert Seifert**
  • Harold Swank**
  • Charles Todorich**

GICV purchases its first building at 944 Ash Street in the Hornerstown section of Johnstown for $20,000, thanks to a matching-funds loan from member of Board of Incorporators and first Board of Directors, Paul Dech.

GICV is awarded its first Federal grant with a 25% match and begins creating a formal plan of service.

Representatives from Goodwill Industries of America (GIA), Inc. and the Goodwill mascot come to Johnstown for parade to introduce GICV to the community.

GICV opens its first Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in Johnstown in late 1964.

Bethlehem Steel Corporation awards GICV one of its first contracts for persons with disabilities to repair safety glasses, respirators, and steel helmets.

GICV opens a Medical Evaluation Center, employing a full-time nurse and part-time psychologists to provide work adjustment evaluations for its program participants.


GICV begins providing prevocational job training to persons with severe disabilities, opening the Work Activities Center in Coopersdale section of Johnstown.

GICV is now serving the eight counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Somerset, and portions of Westmoreland.

GIA awards accreditation to GICV for its Vocational Rehabilitation services at GICV’s Work Activities Center.


GICV obtains its first janitorial contract and begins the Transitional Mobile Work Program, providing work opportunities for people with mental illness.

GICV expands work opportunities for individuals with severe disabilities through contracts by Pennsylvania Industries for the Blind and Handicapped (PIBH) for sewing and for staffing at the PA Drivers License Center, Cambria County.

GICV and General Cleaning Services form partnership for custodial projects and training.

GICV centralizes processing of donated goods for distribution to its Goodwill Retail Stores and Donations Centers, providing prevocational job training for individuals with disabilities at the Work Activities Center.

GICV creates formal programming for individuals with serious mental illness through its Transitional Employment Training Program in partnership with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Cambria County Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR), providing work experience on mobile janitorial crew.

GICV is awarded cleaning contracts to employ individuals with disabilities with the PA Department of Health, Richland Township Fire Department, PA Department of Revenue, PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Employment Security, State Police Barracks in Ebensburg, State Police Barracks in Johnstown, Cablevision, the City County Clinic in Johnstown and Ebensburg, and GICV locations.


National Industries for the Severely Handicapped (NISH) awards contract to GICV for custodial services at Army Reserve Center in the Upper Yoder section of Johnstown.

GICV broadens its Mobile Custodial Program to include Supported Employment Services and Community Employment Services for job placement, job coaching, and support services.

GIA, Inc. becomes Goodwill Industries International (GII), Inc.

GICV opens Altoona Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in 1995 at 207 Park Hills Plaza (West Plank Road). (Only currently operated stores as of this 2012 publication are included in timeline.)

GICV purchases Donations Processing Plant and an adjacent house on Oak Street in Hornerstown section of Johnstown for administrative staff.

history2Phyllis J. Bandstra joins GICV in 1995 as Director of Employment and Training.

GICV decentralizes donations processing from a single location and incorporates this job training into many of its larger Goodwill Retail Stores and Donations Centers.

GICV opens its Ebensburg Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in 1999 in Walmart Plaza, 300 Jamesway Road.

GICV opens its Huntingdon Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in 1999 at 7513 Huntingdon Plaza.

GICV’s President & CEO, Phyllis J. Bandstra is appointed to the SAWIB.


GICV’s first Business Advisory Council is formed, comprising professionals from area organizations and companies.

GICV opens its Northern Cambria Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in 2000 at 4211 Crawford Avenue.

GICV is awarded from SAWIB, Workforce Investment Act (WIA)Title I services for Adults, Dislocated Workers, and Youth in Cambria, Blair, and Bedford Counties.

GICV expands its service population to include Youth with Disabilities through partnership with Intermediate Unit 8 to provide School-to-Work Transition services in its Goodwill Retail Stores and Donations Centers.

GICV opens its Somerset Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in 2002 in Somerset Plaza at 1606 N. Center Avenue.

GICV opens its Bedford Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in 2003 at 9481 Lincoln Highway.

history3GICV purchases the CT Evans Building at 540 Central Avenue in Moxham section of Johnstown for administrative and workforce development staff.

GICV staff obtain nationally recognized certification and credentials in both Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Career Development Facilitation.

GICV receives $50,000 grant from the Lee Initiatives Health and Wellness Endowment for its Cambria Mobile Recovery and Community Integration Project to provide mobile psychiatric rehabilitation services to individuals age 18 and older with severe mental illness in northern Cambria County. GICV later sustains the project through funding by HealthChoices and Managed Care Organizations.

GICV is awarded funding by U.S. Department of Labor to begin operating YouthBuild® Johnstown, a program that enables at-risk youth to earn their GED certificates and earn wages as they rehabilitate or build low-income housing.

In partnership with Administrative Office of Juvenile Court Cambria County, GICV begins its Learn to Work program and later expands to include referrals from Children and Youth Services and area school districts.

GICV becomes first state-licensed Psychiatric Rehabilitation program in Central Pennsylvania Region and provides Site-based Psychiatric Rehabilitation (based on Boston University Approach) through start-up funding from Cambria County MH/MR.

GICV is awarded grant from PA Department of Labor and Industry to convene the Southern Alleghenies Career Education Partnership (SACEP) to stimulate collaboration among school districts, high-demand industries, and workforce development organizations to prepare students for in-demand jobs.

GICV moves its Indiana Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center from the Martin’s Plaza in 2006 to its current location at 1470 Oakland Avenue.

GICV moves its Blairsville Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center from 30 W. Market Street in 2006 to its current location at 164 E. Market Street.

GICV is awarded funding by PA Department of Public Welfare to operate Working Wardrobe Program (later renamed PA WORKWEAR) to provide individuals who are unemployed with proper attire for interviews, job training, and their first days on the new job.

GICV begins State-Licensed Peer Support Services for individuals with serious mental illness, provided one-on-one in the community by State-Certified Peer Specialists who have personal experience with mental illness and first-hand knowledge of the recovery process.

GICV purchases former bank building at 1715 Lyter Drive and moves its Westwood Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center, and Shopgoodwill staff, from the Westwood Shopping Plaza in 2008.

GICV holds grand opening of its newly constructed 10,000-square-foot Richland Goodwill Retail Store and Donations Center in 2009 at 1326 Eisenhower Boulevard. This replaces previous Richland store at 1115 Scalp Avenue.

GICV is awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Justice through GII and kicks-off its Goodwill GoodGuides® Youth Mentoring Program that matches caring adult and peer volunteers with youth ages 12+, creating a support system for youth to succeed in school and beyond.

GICV launches its new website at www.gicv.org.


Goodwill announces computer recycling program with Dell called Dell Reconnect that is designed to keep used computers and equipment from landfills and to educate residents on importance of proper computer recycling. GICV begins the recycling program at all of its 10 Goodwill Retail Stores and Donations Centers and Donations Sites.

The Capitol Connection of The George Mason University Instructional Foundation, with reporter Howard Ondick, visits Johnstown to film segment on GICV’s YouthBuild Johnstown Program as participants rehabilitate a home in the Kernville section of Johnstown that is owned by the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority, a YouthBuild partner. Program receives extension through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding.

GICV’s President & CEO, Phyllis J. Bandstra is interviewed on Comcast Newsmakers, which airs on Headline News (HLN), formerly CNN, hosted by Erick Lauber, to promote GICV’s mission and GoodGuides Program. Segment airs 50 times May through June in the Laurel Highlands region to more than 135,000 households in the 8-county region of Bedford, Cambria, Clarion, Clearfield, Indiana, Jefferson, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties.

GICV becomes the first and only organization in Cambria County to employ Certified Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®) Facilitators, and only the second organization in PA whose entire psychiatric rehabilitation and peer support staff (14 employees) consist of Certified WRAP Facilitators. Certification is through The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery and is made possible by a grant from Lee Initiatives, Inc.

GICV receives reinvestment funds from Behavioral Health of Cambria County to target youth ages 18–25 in transition from youth mental health services to adult mental health services through its Psychiatric Rehabilitation track.

GICV introduces Goodwill Fresh corporate fruit baskets for businesses in Cambria County, providing meaningful work for individuals with barriers to employment as they assemble and package each basket.

GICV opens New Beginnings Drop-In Center in Indiana to provide recovery-oriented, member-run environment for consumers of mental health services.

GICV begins self-funding four large programs. Three programs previously supported through State and Federal funding are YouthBuild Johnstown, SACEP, and GoodGuides. One newly created program is Goodwill Works.

GoodGuides volunteer mentor, Steve Purich of Johnstown is named the Elsine Katz Volunteer Leader of the Year by Goodwill Industries International for his community volunteerism and leadership after nomination by GICV.

GICV adds new donations collection site in Duncansville with attended donations truck in parking lot of Hicks Memorial United Methodist Church.

Phyllis J. Bandstra, GICV’s President & CEO is appointed by Goodwill Industries International (GII), Inc. as first-term, three-year member to its Board of Directors, composed of independent Goodwill agency CEOs and lay board members. Includes an appointment to GII’s Conference of Executives’ Executive Council and its Leadership Development Committee, and Board Membership Standards Committee.

GICV receives $5,000 charitable donation from Northwest Savings Bank through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program of the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.

Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Dr. Gerald Zahorhcak cites GICV’s mentoring and workforce development programs as vital in supporting students in our region and knowing their achievement expectations — in his Johnstown Tribune-Democrat Guest Editorial, “Invest in Our Children to Become Leaders,” September 14, 2012.

Goodwill makes Forbes’ list of “America’s 25 Most Inspiring Companies.”

GICV’s SACEP Program and the Cambria Somerset Human Resources Association (CSHRA) partner to form the CSHRA Youth Outreach Committee to organize its first Youth Professional Development Conference to prepare high school students for the workforce in a local competitive market. Conference attracts nearly 200 youth from 13 high schools in Cambria and Somerset counties.

On December 6, 2012, GICV turns 50 and holds a “50 Years of Good” community celebration at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ).

history4On December 6, 2012, Senator John Wozniak presents a Pennsylvania Senate Citation Commemorating 50 Years of Service to Ed Schellhammer, member of GICV’s 1962 Board of Incorporators and first Board of Directors, and to Phyllis J. Bandstra, GICV’s President & CEO during GICV’s “50 Years of Good” celebration at UPJ.

On January 1, 2017, GICV officially changes its name to “Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies.” This change more accurately reflects the counties that the agency services, which are Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Huntingdon, Indiana, Somerset, and a portion of Westmoreland. The new name is updated with a new logo and a new website address of www.GoGoodwill.org.


Online Shopping at Goodwill

Through the Shopgoodwill online auction site, you can experience a fun and exciting way to shop for specialty items such as one-of-a-kinds, collectibles, antiques, estate pieces, jewelry, nostalgic items, and more!

At Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies, we know that our donors value their donations to Goodwill and want us to get the maximum value possible to support our mission. Listing these items on Shopgoodwill allows us to generate more revenue because these items go to the highest bidders who know the values of the items.

Donors can be sure that the revenue generated from the sale of their donated items on Shopgoodwill.com will support job training and employment services for people in their community – just as it does through purchases made in our 10 Goodwill Retail Stores.