Being a good neighbor is in Goodwill’s DNA. The organization was founded by a minister who was moved to action by the plight of the poor and downtrodden in his own community.
More than a century later, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee remains true to that spirit, beginning with its primary mission of providing free job training, education and employment assistance. Across the 48 counties Goodwill serves, 36,081 people took advantage of these services in 2015, of which 15,412 were placed into jobs.
But Goodwill also engages in an array of partnerships and initiatives to improve lives in communities across middle and west Tennessee.
One such effort is Goodwill Cares, which annually provides gift cards worth tens of thousands of dollars to dozens of partner nonprofits for distribution to needy families and individuals.
“I’ve seen what Goodwill can do for families that are homeless. It shows there are organizations who really understand deeply what people need,” said Gelila Feyisa, a case manager for Catholic Charities of Middle Tennessee.
Catholic Charities’ Family Empowerment Program helps homeless families find a place to live, and Goodwill gift cards help them furnish their new homes. Goodwill Cares aids disaster victims through the American Red Cross and disabled and homeless veterans by partnering with Operation Stand Down Tennessee.
“We strive to be a resource and friend in all ways that further our mission,” said Karl Houston, Goodwill’s Senior Director of Marketing and Community Relations. “Our organization is only as strong as the communities we serve, and we consider it a daily privilege to extend a hand up, rather than a handout, across middle and west Tennessee.”
Mercedes: Mercedes had never held a job before. When she came to Goodwill. READ HER STORY
Linda: Linda’s husband died in 2009, she lost more than her spouse… READ HER STORY
Kevin: For most of his life, Kevin wore his unique ability to adapt like a… READ HIS STORY
Ernest: Ernest served in the U.S. Army for more than 18 years, and though he… READ HIS STORY
Providing Meeting Spaces
Goodwill routinely provides meeting space to civic, school and church groups and government agencies whose goals align with Goodwill’s mission. Goodwill recently partnered with Cable-Nashville to host a speaker series on issues affecting working women.
Supporting Partners, Events and Causes
Goodwill frequently donates merchandise for use in worthy community events and causes. Recent examples include clothing provided for a Dress for Success Fashion Show held by the League of Servant Leaders at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, books given for a new Boys & Girls Club Library in Pulaski and school uniforms provided to underprivileged children in several school districts. Goodwill also donates medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds and crutches, to nonprofit partners who distribute it to people with disabilities who are in need. Goodwill donated 29 bulk boxes of medical equipment and eight hospital beds in 2015.
Helping With Legal Issues
Goodwill facilitate meetings with county court officials and provides other assistance to help eligible employees and Goodwill Career Solutions clients learn how to expunge a criminal record or get a driver’s licenses reinstated.
Partner Agency Assistance
Works collaboratively with other agencies helping youth, older workers, the homeless, people with disabilities and ex-offenders.
Youth & Young Adult Programs
Goodwill conducts several programs for youth and young adults, including:
Goodwill provides a non-custodial parent program to assist such parents in becoming employed and engaged with their children.
Good Life Program
Goodwill offers a Good Life Program that assists employees and clients who need access or help with community resources such as housing, utility assistance and education.
— By Chris Fletcher
Prior to joining Goodwill as its PR & Communications Manager in 2014, Fletcher was a professional journalist for
more than 25 years working at media outlets in three states, including the Associated Press.