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Success Stories

When you give to Goodwill, you change lives! The simple act of donating the clothes, furniture, household goods and shoes that you no longer need, want or use, means job training and opportunities for thousands of Tennesseans. It’s easy to calculate the impact of your donations. We want to make sure you see all the good you’re doing when you “give it to Goodwill.” Whether you want to measure the effect of your donation in monetary terms or in terms of how it’s changing lives, you can find it all here.

Walk in the shoes of the people you’ve helped when you’ve donated or shopped. Watch the videos below and read the success stories of our clients and employees who know the fulfillment of earning a paycheck. It’s good for them, it’s good for their families and it’s good for their community—an ever-widening ripple effect.

Use the Goodwill Donation Calculator to the right and you’ll see what giving a dozen pairs of shoes, or a bag of clothing, or a purse, adds up to in terms of funding job training and placement. You’ll discover that when you give one dozen pairs of shoes you provide more than one hour’s worth of free career counseling for someone who is searching for a job with the help of Goodwill’s career counselors. Donating is more than just a good way to clean the clutter from your closets, avoid the hassle of a yard sale or to take advantage of a tax write-off. Your donated shoes fund job training and placement for people who want to work but may have a disability or other barrier standing in their way.

Donate forward, fuel our mission to improve lives, to better our communities, and to serve Middle and West Tennessee. No matter how you measure it, giving to Goodwill is good.

Meet Cindy

When Cindy came to Cookeville in 2003, she had reached an all-time low in her life. Read Cindy’s Story.

Meet Stephen

When Stephen started working at the Columbia Goodwill store in 2005, he was quiet and shy, but you’d never know it if you met him today. Read Stephen’s Story. 

Meet Cindy

Cindy had been out of work for a year and a half when she stopped by the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Jackson for help. Read Cindy’s Story.

Meet Kenneth

After serving three years in prison, Kenneth went to work for a local company. Thirteen months later, his past came back to haunt him. Read Kenneth’s Story.

Meet Joel

Joel spent 52 years in the household moving and storage business, relocating people worldwide. He was in his seventies when he finally retired, but he soon realized retirement life wasn’t for him. Read Joel’s Story.

Meet Dorothy

A stay-at-home mom, Dorothy had been out of the workforce for over 30 years. Goodwill was the first place she applied and, just days later, she was offered a job. Read Dorothy’s story.

Meet Jose

In 2011, Jose’s mom and sister drove him to the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Spring Hill. “My sister said, ‘They help people like you.’ That visit changed my life.” Read Jose’s story.

Meet Shelley

For nearly two decades, Shelley lived a secret life. “I was a meth addict for 19 years, and then the inevitable happened,” she said. Read Shelley’s story.

Meet Shenita

Shenita is always in a good mood. “I like to make people laugh,” she says. Read Shenita’s story.

Meet Lam

Lam had a successful career in Vietnam as a machinist, but when he made the move to America in 2001 he couldn’t find a job. Read Lam’s story.

Meet Ian

A car accident left Ian with permanent brain damage—damage that made it difficult for him to find work. Read Ian’s story.

Meet Charles

Charles had been an industry supervisor most of his life. After retirement, he decided he needed something else to keep him going. Read Charles’s story.

Meet Randall

Two years ago, Randall had been out of work for months and needed a job. He decided to turn to Goodwill Career Solutions for help. Read Randall’s story.

Meet Laura

Laura had been out of work for three years and desperately needed to find a job to support her three children. Read Laura’s story.

Meet Steve

Steve had been working from home, repairing electronics, when he got a job offer he couldn’t refuse. Read Steve’s story.

Meet Robert G.

Spend a little time talking with Robert and you’ll want to see the world the way he does. Cataracts took his sight from him at the age seven, but he has not let that stop him from achieving his goals and doing what he loves. Read Robert’s story.

Meet Eric

If you need someone to brighten your day, just visit the Donation Express Center in Hermitage and ask for Eric — one of the sweetest and most polite people you will ever meet. Read Eric’s story.

Meet Lisa

For 16 years, Lisa did contract work for an organization in Jackson, Tenn., that’s committed to helping adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2008, she moved to Nashville, and shortly after she started working for Goodwill as a hanger associate. Read Lisa’s story.

Meet Robert

A retired machinist, Robert quickly learned that retirement life wasn’t for him. “I needed a little income, and I didn’t want to sit around the house,” he said, “but no one wanted to hire me because of my age.” Read Robert’s story.