‘Inside Goodwill’ Tours Begin on June 18
For the first time in its 58-year history, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee will soon offer regularly-scheduled, guided tours of its downtown Nashville headquarters to the public.
The one-hour tours, dubbed “Inside Goodwill,” will be available starting Thursday, June 18. They will take participants through the not-for-profit’s operations — from the receipt of donated clothes and household items through their processing and sale to fund training and employment opportunities for tens of thousands of Tennesseans each year.
“Though Goodwill has always prided itself on being open and transparent, relatively few people have personally glimpsed the inner workings of this historic social enterprise,” said Matthew Bourlakas, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. “Middle and West Tennessee have an absolute gem in Goodwill, and touring it is an amazing, eye-opening experience. What people see and hear on these tours will educate and inspire them.”
Bourlakas said while he had considered public tours in the past, his decision was cemented when U.S. Sen. Bob Corker visited Goodwill’s headquarters last November and encouraged Goodwill’s leaders to find a way to share the experience with others.
“Inside Goodwill” participants will follow the path taken by donated items as they move through Goodwill’s warehouses, from the dock, down an array of conveyors and past hundreds of employees who sort, tag, box and distribute items for allocation to Goodwill’s 34 stores. They will also visit Online Goodwill, an e-commerce operation, as well as a Goodwill Career Solutions center where free training, job fairs and employment opportunities are provided to people with disabilities and others struggling to find work.
Tour-takers will meet key staff and gain insight into Goodwill’s impact on communities, the environment and the economy. They will also hear testimonials from a few of the many individuals who have overcome hardships and challenges with Goodwill’s help.
“It’s a perfect activity for school, church and civic groups or individuals who just want to learn more about how Goodwill changes lives through the power of work,” Bourlakas added.
Participants will also receive a brief introduction to Goodwill’s history. Goodwill was founded in 1902 by the the Rev. Edgar J. Helms in Boston, Mass. Helms went door-to-door in wealthier districts, asking for donations of used clothing and household goods that could be repaired and resold to provide jobs for the needy and those considered “unemployable.”
As one of 165 Goodwills now operating independently in the U.S. and abroad, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee continues Helm’s work through the sale of donated goods. What began in 1957 as an offshoot of Outlook Nashville now serves people with disabilities and others struggling to find work across 48 counties. In 2014, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee served more than 28,000 people and helped more than 9,500 land jobs.
“Inside Goodwill” tours will be conducted at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at 937 Herman St., Nashville. More information and tour sign-ups are available online at www.giveit2goodwill.org/about/tours or by calling (615) 346-1601.
‘INSIDE GOODWILL’ TOURS
When: Third Thursday of Each Month (except holidays), Beginning June 18
9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Where: Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee headquarters
937 Herman St.
Book a Tour:
or call (615) 346-1601