December 16, 2019

Congressman demonstrates commitment to supporting the AbilityOne Program 

MT. PLEASANT, S.C (December 16, 2019).— Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) was recently honored as an AbilityOne® Congressional Champion of employment opportunities for people with disabilities

SourceAmerica® distinguishes members of Congress for going the extra mile to help nonprofit agencies gain recognition in their communities or with legislative requests. Cunningham is part of a list of 160 certified Congressional Champions from 43 states and the District of Columbia. 

“I’m so proud of the AbilityOne Program,” said Rep. Cunningham. “I witnessed first-hand the program in action, and I could not be more proud of what it’s doing for our community, our state and country as a whole.”

In order to become an AbilityOne Congressional Champion, members of Congress must complete four steps that include visiting a contract site, utilizing AbilityOne products or services, and showing public support for the program. Cunningham met with advocates of the AbilityOne Program in his D.C. office in June and visited the Charleston Galley contract site. His office also utilizes products that are manufactured as part of the program. 

“Creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities has always been a primary goal of Palmetto Goodwill. Having the support of elected officials like Congressman Cunningham is crucial to that effort. We are extremely thankful to have another member of Congress advocating on their behalf. With his support we can continue our efforts to support people with disabilities through additional training and employment programs,” said Robert Smith, president and CEO of Palmetto Goodwill.

Each Congressional Champion receives a plaque that incorporates a commemorative coin and two personalized certificates. The awards are framed and matted by people with disabilities at Eastern Carolina Vocational Center, Inc. in Greenville, North Carolina. Once certified, members of Congress stay on the list until they leave office.  

“The AbilityOne Program was created decades ago through the efforts of three visionary members of Congress who saw the potential in all Americans, but especially in Americans with disabilities,” said John Kelly, senior director of public policy at SourceAmerica. “Modern day champions like Congressman Cunningham carry on that legacy and help ensure that people with disabilities continue to have opportunities in South Carolina and all across the nation.”

The AbilityOne Congressional Champions Program was established in 2002 to honor representatives and senators who have demonstrated a commitment to constituents with disabilities and the AbilityOne Program. More information about the AbilityOne Congressional Champion Program is available online.  

About SourceAmerica
Established in 1974, SourceAmerica creates employment opportunities for a skilled and dedicated workforce of people with disabilities. SourceAmerica is the vital link between the federal government and private sector organizations that procure the products and services provided by this exceptional workforce via a network of more than 750 community-based nonprofits. Headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, SourceAmerica provides its nonprofit agency network with business development, contract management, legislative and regulatory assistance, communications and public relations materials, information technology support, engineering and technical assistance, and extensive professional training needed for successful nonprofit management. Visit SourceAmerica.org to learn more, or follow them on Facebook (@SourceAmerica), Twitter (@SourceAmericaUS) and LinkedIn (@SourceAmerica).

About Palmetto Goodwill 
In operation since 1979 Palmetto Goodwill is a proud SourceAmerica and AbilityOne partner and provider.  Palmetto Goodwill programs and services are funded through 14 AbilityOne contracts and 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 facing barriers to employment. In 2018 Palmetto Goodwill served 15,398 unique individuals, placed 3,094 into new jobs and trained 4,152 people.

About the AbilityOne Program
The AbilityOne Program is one of the largest sources of employment in the United States for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Approximately 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities, including approximately 3,000 veterans, are employed at approximately 500 nonprofit agencies nationwide, across 15 time zones, from Maine to Guam. AbilityOne provided more than $3.3 billion in products and services to the federal government in fiscal year 2018. The Program operates at more than 1,000 locations, representing 40 government agencies, including more than 150 Base Supply Centers at military and government installations.