Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. is one of 165 independent community-based Goodwill organizations in the United States and Canada. Goodwill took root in 1902 when a minister in Boston recognized a need and helped people in his community find meaningful work opportunities. His goodwill efforts became a movement that would eventually grow internationally.
Edgar J. Helms worked as a missionary in the slums of Boston. People, many of them recent immigrants to the U.S., often came to his church looking for help. Rev. Helms did not shy away. He would gather burlap sacks and visit the wealthier residents in his community asking for items they no longer needed or wanted.
After collecting the donations, Rev. Helms took the items to his church where people repaired what was broken and then sold the used goods. He didn’t believe in charity. The reverend gave people a chance. The people he worked with found success through their own efforts and with work they gained the dignity that comes with earning a paycheck.
The Goodwill movement swept the country and, in 1957, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. was formed.
When our organization opened we worked primarily with people who had disabilities by providing job training and other services. In 1994 it became apparent that a growing number of people without disabilities would also benefit from our services. Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. then expanded its mission to include clients with challenges ranging from a lapse in their work history, no work history, lack of an education, those with a criminal record, former drug users and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.
Today our career counselors help a variety of people who come to Goodwill looking for an opportunity to work and to improve their lives.
- Served 17,498 Career Solutions clients and placed 5,615 in jobs.
- Established Wheels-to-Work program.
- David Lifsey retired after 40 years as president and CEO. Matthew Bourlakas began serving as the new president and CEO.
- Kicked off the MyGoodwillRewards program.
- Opened new facilities in Hendersonville and Murfreesboro. Both facilities house a store, Donation Express Center and Career Solutions center.
- Formed a partnership with the Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross to better serve the community during a crisis.
- Goodwilly, the Goodwill mascot, joined the Goodwill family in August.
- Two of the corporate campus buildings have solar panels installed.
- Serve 2,390 people looking for work at more than a dozen job fairs during Goodwill Week.
- Opened new stores in Donelson and in Brentwood, six Donation Express Centers across Middle and West Tennessee, and three Career Solutions centers.
- Received 38,594,942 pounds of textiles from 1,316,335 donors.
- Diverted more than 25 million pounds of salvageable and recyclable materials from the landfill.
- Opened four new Donation Express Centers.
- Served 13,160 Career Solutions clients and placed 3,022 in jobs.
- Installed solar panels on the roofs of the Berry Road store and the salvage operation located within the complex.
- In 2009, Career Solutions served 11,237 clients and placed 2,465 in jobs.
- A call center training program began, hiring five employees.
- Opened new stores in East Nashville and Shelbyville.
- Relocated the Outlet Store from the corporate campus to Berry Road.
- Launched Goodwill Cares, a program to assist those who have experienced hardship due to natural disaster, fire, domestic violence or unemployment.
- Celebrated 50 years of changing lives in 2007, and served one million donors the same year.
- Renamed the mission services department in 2006 from Employment and Training to Career Solutions.
- Opened stores and Donation Express Centers in Murfreesboro, Hendersonville, Union City and South Jackson.
- Opened four new Career Solutions centers in Union City, Lewisburg, Rivergate and Spring Hill.
- Launched the Transitional Employment and the Training Retail Associates Certification programs.
- Opened Employment and Training centers in Berry Hill, Franklin, Shelbyville, and Cookeville.
- Partnered with Safe Haven to provide services to the homeless.
- Added 14 counties in West Tennessee to the organization’s territory.
- Mission changed to include serving clients with other barriers to employment; officially changed the name of the rehabilitation offices to Employment and Training centers
- Opened Employment and Training offices in Franklin and in the Berry Hill area of Nashville (1999)
- Opened a Clarksville satellite rehabilitation office, the first outside of Nashville (1997)
- Opened first satellite rehabilitation office in Murfreesboro (1997)
- Started the Job Resource Program at Woodbine (partially funded by United Way)
- Started Retail Training Program (partially funded by United Way)
- Received first one-year CARF accreditation
- Received first three-year CARF accreditation
- Contracted with Senior Citizens, Inc. to run its cafeteria
- Summer Work Program for Youth began
- Employment and Training placed between 100 to 150 clients
- Contracted with Tennessee State Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities
- Contracted with Tennessee Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
- Started the Job Retention Program (partially funded by United Way)