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Sixty Years of Goodwill, Sixty Years of Service

June 28, 2017, marked the 60th Anniversary of the founding of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

Much has changed at Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee since it was incorporated in 1957. It has grown from a single store in downtown Nashville to 29 stores and two Outlets across a territory covering 48 counties. Where once it had just a few donation bins, it now offers more than 40 conveniently located Donation Express Centers. And where originally it was able to help just a few people with disabilities, now Goodwill annually assists thousands struggling with disabilities and other barriers to employment, such as a lack of job skills, homelessness or a felony record.

Throughout its history, Goodwill has found new and creative ways to serve its mission. In the early days, Goodwill operated a shop to repair donated bicycles. Later, Boy Scouts collected donations for Goodwill in an annual event known as “Good Turn for Goodwill Day.” In the 1980s, Goodwill even rolled out its own line of rebranded jeans called “Goodins” (Tennessee First Lady Honey Alexander modeled a pair for a newspaper photograph).

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has an amazing 60-year history and record of accomplishment. Its success and longevity are testaments to ideas passed down from the very first Goodwill, founded by a Boston minister in 1902. These include:

  • A hand up is better than a handout.
  • A job and a paycheck bring dignity, a sense of belonging and the opportunity for all people to reach their fullest potential.
  • The entire community benefits when those who are jobless find work.

The amazing operational model inherited from that first Goodwill — based on frugality, stewardship and sustainability — still carries us forward. But just as it was in 1902 and 1957, the key to Goodwill’s success is the generosity and compassion of its donors and shoppers. Without them, there is no Goodwill.

Please join Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee in celebrating 60 years of generosity. Sixty years of empowerment. Sixty years of changing lives.

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Historical Milestones Timeline – Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.


Goodwill is founded in Boston, Mass., by the Rev. Edgar J. Helms

June 28, 1957

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. is founded as an offshoot of Outlook Nashville.


Goodwill opens its first store in Nashville on 4th Ave. South, at the foot of the Shelby Street Bridge.


Goodwill places 10 metal collection boxes on commercial lots marking its first attempt at large-scale collection of donations.


Second Goodwill store opens at 10th Ave. and Fatherland St. in Nashville


Goodwill develops a job-training arm, Employment and Training, now called Career Solutions.


There are now seven Goodwill stores in Middle Tennessee, including Gallatin, Franklin & Columbia. Goodwill also employs its first job placement counselor.


The first attended donation center opens on Nolensville Road in Nashville, starting a trend that would later set the agency up for growth.


Goodwill begins selling recycled jeans under its own label, called Goodins.


Thousands of Boy Scouts collect donations for Good Turn for Goodwill Day.


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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


Goodwilly, the Goodwill mascot, joined the Goodwill family in August.

Two of the corporate campus buildings have solar panels installed.

Served 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.


Served 17,498 Goodwill 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 MyGoodwill Rewards 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.


Served 28,159 Goodwill Career Solutions clients and placed 9,558 in jobs.

Hosted an average of 100 job fairs per month at Goodwill Career Solutions Centers

Gave away two vehicles to employees through the Wheels-to-Work program.

Opened a new store and Goodwill Career Solutions Center in Mt. Juliet and a new Goodwill Career Solutions center in Lebanon and Clarksville. Relocated the store in South Jackson and opened a new Career Solutions center there as well.

Opened new Donations Express Centers in Hickman, Robertson, Williamson and Wilson counties.


Bellevue & Clarksville Tiny Town stores opened

Real estate donation pick-up program launched

School donation drive program launched


Opened new Columbia store

Served record number of people

Partnership with TN Reconnect began


Microsoft grant received

GED program for employees established

First Style with a Purpose event at East Nashville store


Diverted more than 32 million pounds of recyclables and other materials from landfills.