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Ambassador FALL 2015

Summer Youth Program Prepares Teens for Employment Goodwill Brings Life-Changing Mission, Pocketbook-Saving Bargains to Bellevue Loyal Goodwill Donor Hails New Pickup Service


FALL 2015


I Got it at Goodwill


Goodwill Success Stories 2015

President and CEO


Summer Youth Program Prepares Teens for Employment



Breaking Through With Goodwill’s Summer Work Program

Matthew S. Bourlakas Karl Houston

Senior Director of Marketing & Community Relations

Editor and Writer Chris Fletcher

PR & Communications Manager

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee earns Three-Year GII Accreditation

Art Director

Goodwill Brings Life-Changing Mission, Pocketbook-Saving Bargains to Bellevue

Ambassador is a quarterly magazine published by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc., 1015 Herman Street, Nashville, TN 37208.


Shopper’s Generosity is Music to Employees’ Ears


Goodwill Anticipates Opening of Relocated Jackson Store

For the nearest retail store, donation center, or Career Solutions center, please call 800.545.9231 or visit www.giveit2goodwill.org.


Halloween Shoppers Find Plenty of Inspiration at Goodwill


Loyal Goodwill Donor Hails New Pickup Service


Home Donations Pickup Service Revs Up


Track Your Goodwill Donations Online


‘The Voice’ of Goodwill


Finding Housing, Making it Home

opportunities for people who have


I Change Lives: Laura Donigian

trouble finding and keeping jobs.





EJ Kerr

Manager of Creative Services

Ambassador provides readers with stories of the events, activities and people who support the mission of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. We are pleased to provide you this information and hope you will share our publication with others. Please note that the opinions expressed in Ambassador do not necessarily reflect the opinions or official position of management or employees of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

The Goodwill Mission We sell donated goods to provide employment and training

Ambassador Fall 2015

disabilities and others who have

Our mission is changing lives.



gotit at

Off The Table:


GREAT FINDS AND DEALS FROM GOODWILL SHOPPERS Do you have some fabulous finds in your home or closet that you purchased at Goodwill? Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and we might feature them in our next edition!

Tiffani wrote: "Found several children's outfits just in time for back-toschool."

After being tipped off by a friend, @ckmodern bought this midcentury Harvey Probber table from the Goodwill Outlet. Online research revealed it's worth more than $12,000.

Post your great finds:


Tammy Wrote: "My Goodwill find today (at the Columbia store)... a complete calendar from my birth year! How cool is that!?!"

Dana wrote: "Couch $49.99, mirror on wall $7.99, smaller pic $3.99, recliner $29.99, gray rug $14.99, coffee table $9.99 and decor, all from Ft. Campbell Blvd. Goodwill in Clarksville, TN."

Ambassador Fall 2015


3 2




Thank you!


For Andy, the keys to happiness are more than a figure of speech. They are real keys — the kind that

unlock doors. “When I came to Goodwill, I didn’t have any keys,” he said. Once, Andy had been married, with a son, a good job and a home. But he had a dark secret — addiction. When Andy separated from his wife at age 37, he lost

­­­­– Andy

everything. For a decade, he was homeless, hopeless and in and out of jail. Eventually, he got “fed up with being fed up” and felt ready to re-enter the workforce. But he found most doors still locked to him. “The past 10 years made it hard for people to give me a


Thank you!

chance,” he said. While spending nights at a Nashville Rescue Mission in 2011, Andy heard about Goodwill Career Solutions. As he was getting used to sobriety, he learned basic computer skills, interview skills and earned his forklift certification from Goodwill. His diligence and positive attitude were rewarded with a job as a Goodwill dock employee and

­­­­– Mercedes

later with a promotion to box truck driver. Now, Andy drives all over Middle Tennessee, picking up donated goods from drop-off points and residents. “Goodwill takes chances on people,” he said. “They saw


Thank you! ­­­­– Linda


Ambassador Fall 2015

a willingness in me to leave that past behind and get on with the future.” Besides keys to a truck, Andy now has keys to his own apartment. And he has regained the trust of his ex-wife and his son. “(Goodwill) gave me my son back,” he said. “It’s given me the ability to lead the life I led prior to my addiction.”

Our mission is changing lives.


Mercedes Anderson wanted to help her mother pay their bills.

She also wanted to make some new friends. But Mercedes had never held a job before. When she came to Goodwill Career Solutions in 2010, she


When Linda’s husband died in 2009, she lost more than her spouse of 40 years. She lost

her entire way of life. During those four decades, the homemaker, wife and mother had never held any other job.

received training in appropriate work behaviors and

“He left me virtually penniless,” Linda recalled. “I had

skills. Three months later, she was hired as a part-time

to move in with my daughter and son-in-law. As I got a

processor in the Goodwill store on Hillsboro Road in

little past my grief, a friend of mine told me I needed to


come to Goodwill.”

Mercedes was assigned a job coach to give her some

In 2010, Linda visited the Goodwill Career Solutions

extra guidance through Goodwill’s Transitional Em-

center in Union City. She was filled with worry and

ployment Services Program. “I always do my best job

self-doubt, because the only office skills she possessed

and help my boss-man and boss-lady,” she explained.

dated to the 1960s and she had never even turned on a computer.

Store administrative assistant Maria Myers said Mercedes brings joy to her co-workers every day with

She was directed into Goodwill’s Transitional

her sunny disposition. She loves teasing with them,

Employment Services Program, and she soon found

and her infectious laughter often rings through the

that her counselor and others on the staff were patient

store. Her ever-present smile makes her a favorite of

and encouraging. She acquired many useful job skills —

customers as well.

including a working knowledge of computers.

“Mercedes is a wonderful worker, and if we’re feeling

“I couldn’t see there ever being life after (my husband),

down she does her best to make us feel better,” Myers

and Goodwill just turned that all around for me,” Linda

said. “She helps make the workday not feel so long,


because you have a little bit of fun with it.”

In 2012, she was offered a job as the administrative

These days, Mercedes rides the trolley independently

clerk in the Union City Goodwill Career Solutions.

to get to and from work, making friends along the

Now, she works energetically to further Goodwill’s

way. She helps her mother with expenses around the

mission as a true-believer and example to others.

house and still has enough money to go to the movies whenever she wants.

“The knowledge and confidence I have gained and the friendships I’ve made because of Goodwill have made

“It’s great working here with other people,” she said.

it possible for me to be on my own and self-sufficient,”

“Because of Goodwill, I have friends.”

she said. “I wish the same thing for all the people who walk through our doors.”

Ambassador Fall 2015




Summer Youth Program Prepares Teens for Employment


hey weren’t quite magic beans, but

During two month-long sessions in June and July, 24 program

they did open up a new world. As

participants enjoyed numerous engaging and educational

Debbie Grant held the 16-ounce can of

activities, such as CPR certification classes, volunteering at Second

baked beans in the aisle at Kroger, four

Harvest Food Bank, ice skating and touring Belmont University, a

teenagers huddled around her, peering at

fire station and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

the can's label and hanging on her every word.

They also were visited by guest speakers. One, a Metro Nashville police officer, asked each of the young people about their

“It was an ‘aha’ moment,” explained Grant, who is director of

career goals. Their answers were often specific and ambitious:

development for Goodwill Career Solutions.

environmental engineer, emergency physician, forensic

She explained that the teens, who were participants in Goodwill’s


Summer Youth Job Readiness Program, had never shopped for

Elijah, a 14-year-old sophomore at Hillsboro High School, got an

their own groceries before. The concept of comparison shopping

unexpected, first-hand introduction to his ideal profession. When

was especially new to them, and they were amazed to learn that

his grandfather’s doctor told him about the Goodwill summer

in this case it was more economical to buy three small cans of

youth program, he had pictured sitting in a classroom all day with

beans than one industrial-sized can.

no breaks.

“This teaches them how to best spend their money, to recognize

“Until I saw the schedule. It said we would visit Channel 5 News,

cost-per-unit and how to budget. We’re also teaching them about

and that was the first thing I was looking forward to, because I

nutrition, because we want them to be healthy. These are skills

want to be a sports broadcaster,” Elijah said.

that are going to help them in life and when they get a job."

At the TV station, Elijah was impressed by the studio, with its

Later, the young people returned to Goodwill’s Nashville

green screen for graphics, video screens built into the news desks

headquarters, where they experienced another first — cooking

and robotic cameras with teleprompters. A Channel 5 employee

and eating a meal using the groceries they had purchased with

even showed him where the sports broadcasters worked.

the guidance of a nutritionist. It was all part of the recipe of the summer youth program, which aims to prepare young Davidson County adults, ages 14-18, for the working world.


Ambassador Fall 2015

“I thought it was awesome,” he said. “I’d really like to do something like that.” (See YOUTH on Page 13)

Our mission is changing lives.


This teaches them how to best spend their money, to recognize cost-per-unit and how to budget. We’re also teaching them about nutrition, because we want them to be healthy. These are skills that are going to help them in life and when they get a job.�

Ambassador Fall 2015



Breaking Through With Goodwill’s Summer Work Program Joshua was often ignored by other students in junior high school because of his autism and his speech impediment. Because he was home-schooled after that, he had few opportunities for socializing, much less work experience. One day this summer, the 16-year-old’s grandmother, Reba Foxall, walked into a Goodwill facility and asked if they had any summer programs to help young adults find work. Joshua got the last available slot in Goodwill’s Summer Work Program for 16-22 year olds. About 80 young adults took part in the six-week program, which teaches them about the responsibilities of having a job, including safety standards and the rewards of earning a paycheck. Some students obtain permanent part-time employment through the program. Joshua was one of those. After receiving training at a Donations Express Center in Brentwood, he was hired to work as a donations attendant at the nearby Goodwill store on Nolensville Pike.

Joshua is a great example of what the

Joshua’s grandmother said between his

Summer Work Program is intended

new job and continuing speech therapy,

to accomplish, said program manager

he has made great strides toward

Leslie Weed.

adulthood. He recently got his first

“I think it’s important because it gives these young people self-confidence to

bank account, and he is helping with his family’s expenses.

work and be successful,” she said. “It’s

But for Joshua, the best reward is his

“I thought the training would be hard for

awesome to watch them go from being

newfound confidence.

him, but he got along well with the guys he

scared when they start, and by the end

worked with and his job coach was great,”

of six weeks they are eager to work

his grandmother said. “I think he learned

again. It’s very fulfilling.”

“I was always afraid of getting a job,” he said, “but now I’m not afraid anymore.”

that he could do more than he thought he could.” Goodwill store manager Angeline Bivens said having Joshua on board has been a pleasure. “I think he’s opened up a lot since he’s been here,” she said. “He has adapted really well, and he does an excellent job.”


Ambassador Fall 2015

I think it’s important because it gives these young people self-confidence to work and be successful. It’s awesome to watch them go from being scared when they start, and by the end of six weeks they are eager to work again. It’s very fulfilling.” — Leslie Weed, Summer Work Program Manager

Our mission is changing lives.

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee Earns Three-Year GII Accreditation


oodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee

Retail, Donations and Career Solutions facilities were all minutely

has received a three-year accreditation

scrutinized, and investigations ranged from inspection of store

from Goodwill Industries International.

dressing rooms to reviews of financials and meeting minutes to

To maintain affiliation with GII, the

interviews with employees, clients and board members.

165 independent, community-based

“They did a very thorough going over of who we are and what

Goodwill agencies in the United States

we say we’re going to do, to make sure we are in fact doing those

and Canada are required to receive regular accreditation by

things, and we passed,” Gloster said.

demonstrating commitment to quality programs, good corporate

The examiners made some

governance practices

recommendations for

and services for their

improvements, all of which have


been implemented. One example

In the past, Goodwill

was the creation of a shared

Industries of Middle

computer portal so that approved

Tennessee received

Goodwill Industries of Middle

accreditation from CARF

Tennessee supervisors can view

International (founded

and track documentation on

as the Commission

safety drills at all locations.

on Accreditation for

Though the examiners were in

Rehabilitative Facilities).

Nashville for only three days, the

But while some of the

preparations that preceded their

work Goodwill Industries

visit took many months. And

of Middle Tennessee

while this latest accreditation is

performs is related to

valid through March 31, 2018, it

rehabilitative services, the majority is not, said Matt Gloster, senior director of Career Solutions for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. The expertise and assistance CARF examiners were providing was mostly administrative, Gloster said. The other accreditation available to Goodwills was from GII. So in 2015, GII examiners were invited to Nashville. “Our logic was we would get people who knew Goodwill inside and out,” Gloster said.

won’t be long before Compliance Manager Barbara Taylor and her team will have to start getting ready for the recertification examination in 2017. It’s well worth the effort. Gloster said accreditation is important for one simple reason: “Donors to Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee want to be sure their donations are being used for the purpose that was intended and used in an efficient and appropriate way. By verifying how we manage these assets through sales in our

That proved to be the case, as GII conducted a far-ranging

retail stores, and by undergoing a review of the client services

examination, diving much deeper into all areas of operation

we provide, we provide assurances to the community that their

than had been done in any previous accreditation process.

generosity is well rewarded.”

Ambassador Fall 2015



Goodwill Brings Life-Changing Mission, Pocketbook-Saving Bargains to2014 Bellevue BY THE NUMBERS


y 8:15 a.m., when the doors officially

death,” when she learned there would be one so close to home.

opened on the first full-service Goodwill

And there was another reason for her enthusiasm: She wanted a

in Nashville’s Bellevue community,

job. “I need to be around people, and I want to help people worse

Betty Sowell had been waiting outside

off than me. I like to stay busy,” she explained.

for five hours. The 72-year-old was sitting on her walker at the head of a line that included hundreds of people

and stretched around the building. “I’ve been coming by here for a long time thinking, ‘When are they going to open?’” Sowell said. ‘“Then I read about all this happening today, and I’m just real excited about it because I go to Goodwill all the time.”

Sowell had been unemployed for six or seven months since breaking several ribs in a fall and having to give up her caregiving job. After her shopping trip, she planned to go next door to the new Goodwill Career Solutions center to investigate the different types of free job training offered there. Inside the center, Career Counselor Glenn Brown was busily preparing for a 12-employer job fair to be held later that morning. Brown has worked in several positions and locations for

Bellevue Harpeth Chamber of Commerce President Jad Duncan

Goodwill, most recently as career counselor in Lebanon, but he

echoed her enthusiasm during introductory remarks before the

moved to Bellevue and the not-for-profit decided it made sense

June 18 ribbon-cutting on the remodeled former Toys “R” Us

for him to open it’s newest Goodwill Career Solutions center

building at 7663 U.S. Highway 70 South.


“We couldn’t be happier to have an employer like Goodwill come

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s just such an exciting

here to Bellevue, as committed as they are to giving back to our

challenge and adventure. I’ve told people that helping people

community,” he said. “And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have this

get jobs is my drug of choice. When I put someone to work —

gorgeous space, which they’ve renovated and done an absolutely

especially someone who’s got a significant barrier to employment

phenomenal job of. The place looks top-notch.”

— you have to slap the smile off my face.”

Sowell, a Bellevue resident used to have to travel to Franklin,

One example of why Goodwill’s career counselors take so much

Spring Hill or elsewhere to shop at Goodwill and to donate her

satisfaction in their jobs could be found that very morning in the

used clothing and household items. She said she was “tickled to

processing area at the back of the new Bellevue store.


Ambassador Fall 2015

Our mission is changing lives.

Desiree was taking purses and other accessories from boxes and

I am impressed with the opportunity and scope of the job center. Not only will area residents benefit from help in securing employment, our area businesses have a resource for employment outreach and on-boarding. It is a win-win for everyone." Sheri Weiner, Nashville Metro Councilwoman in Bellevue

hanging them on racks to be sold. Though no one might have guessed it, she was also turning over a new leaf. Desiree, 31, got out of prison on April 21. After years of doing drugs, mistreating family members and letting others care for her two children, she found religion while behind bars and now attends addiction recovery meetings, she said. After spending some time in a halfway house, she and her young son now live with her grandparents in Greenbriar. Every day she travels several hours both ways to get to work, catching multiple buses. She gets by on very little sleep so she can spend time with her son and her 11-year-old daughter, who visits on weekends. Desiree cried when asked whether all the sacrifices were worth it. “I want to prove to everybody that I can and that I’m not the person I used to be,” she said. “Goodwill has given me faith that I can be something better.” Out on the sales floor — Goodwill’s second largest in 48 counties — shoppers with carts full of bargains crowded the aisles. Many lined up to show their unique finds to Mary Hance, also known as Ms. Cheap, a columnist on thrifty living for the Tennessean newspaper. Hance was giving Goodwill gift cards to those she felt made the best purchases. A man showed off the large original landscape painting he bought for $5. Another had paid $2 for a pair of stereo speakers worth $40. Several women brought up Vera Bradley purses and attractive blouses with the tags still attached. Barbara Powell, a 43-year resident of Bellevue, proudly displayed an antique Japanese ginger jar she bought for 99 cents. She said she’d been shopping at Goodwill stores for decades, and her children are also “Goodwill fanatics.” “I’ve always said I could hit the Powerball and I’d still be digging at Goodwill,” she said. After the event, Sheri Weiner, who represents Bellevue on

Nashville’s Metropolitan Council, said she believes the new

We couldn’t be happier to have an employer like Goodwill come here to Bellevue, as committed as they are to giving back to our community." — Jad Duncan

Ambassador Fall 2015

Goodwill will be an important asset for the community. “I am impressed with the opportunity and scope of the job center,” she said. “Not only will area residents benefit from help in securing employment, our area businesses have a resource for employment outreach and on-boarding. It is a win-win for everyone.”




Shopper’s Generosity is Music to Employees’ Ears


customer at the Goodwill store

Though he didn’t leave his name, the anonymous customer/

on Indian Lake Boulevard in

donor left a note with the record player that read, in part,

Hendersonville put a new spin on

“My hope is that it might fetch a higher price this second time

supporting the not-for-profit.

around with additional revenues going to an organization

Store Manager Anna Lindsey said the man bought an old Sound Design

which serves our community so faithfully.” He ended the note with a message for the future buyer: “Please

record turntable from the store’s electronics section in late June

enjoy it and share it with someone less fortunate when you no

or early July.

longer need it. Blessings, TW.”

“He told me he was purchasing this turn-table because he loved

Lindsey and her staff found the customer’s gesture inspiring.

restoring old things like this. He also stated he was a regular customer of Goodwill and loved shopping here,” she recalled. On July 12, the man showed up at the store’s Donation Express

“We were really amazed at his generosity and pleased that a customer sees what we are working to accomplish with this organization,” she said.

Center, where he donated the same record player back to the store, fully restored and cleaned.


Ambassador Fall 2015

Our mission is changing lives.

Goodwill Anticipates Opening of Relocated Jackson Store Oct. 20

(YOUTH, continued from Page 6) The summer youth program, which is sponsored by Goodwill and the Metropolitan Development Housing Agency of Nashville and Davidson County, offers more than entertainment, though. The teens were sometimes pushed well beyond their comfort zones. On one day, they sat down for mock job interviews with professionals from Deloitte Consulting LLP. Marqualus, a sophomore at East Nashville Magnet High School, admitted having some anxiety before his turn. “I’m nervous about overcoming it,” he said. But he garnered praise from his two interviewers for his energy and responses to questions such as, “What have you learned about yourself?” and “What are some areas you could improve on?” Their main suggestion: Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. “Working with people is a really good skill, but there are other

Construction is nearing completion on a new Goodwill retail store in one of Jackson’s premiere shopping areas. The modern and attractive store at 1495 Vann Drive will replace an older, outdated one at 53 Carriage House Drive. Grand opening ceremonies are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 20. The 23,000-square-foot facility will feature a 16,400-square-foot sales floor, numerous skylights and a covered, drive-through Donations Express Center. It will not include a Goodwill Career Solutions center, however, as the area will continue to be served

things an employer might be interested in, like your attention to detail, or getting the job done or being a perfectionist,” said Deloitte Solutions Architect Adnan Hashmi. Fifteen-year-old Amiyah was singled out for a special honor. All of the participants prepared short speeches about their experiences which they delivered during a “graduation” ceremony on the program’s last day. But she was asked to deliver her speech one other time — to the board of directors of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee.

with job training and employment opportunities from the existing centers at 15-B West University Parkway and 1320 S. Highland Ave. in Jackson.

“It was really awkward because I never met those people before,” Amiyah said. “I wanted to do a great job, but I was very nervous and didn’t think I was going to be able to do it.” Amiyah came

“The new store is based on our latest prototype, which is designed to maximize the experience of both shoppers and donors,” said David Jenkins, vice president of retail for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. “Other ones like it can be seen in Mt. Juliet and Clarksville.”

through with flying colors, Grant said.

About 35-40 employees will work in the new building,

favorite part of the program was the friendships she had made.

including workers who will transfer from the older facility.

“I’m sad,” she said. “It feels like it was over really quickly.”

Ambassador Fall 2015

On program graduation day, Good Life Training Manager Samuel Smith congratulated participants on how far they had come in such a short time and encouraged them to continue pushing themselves to greater achievements. He paraphrased author Norman Vincent Peale: “Shoot for the sky in everything you do, and even if you miss you still will land among the stars.” Like most other participants, Amiyah said at graduation that her




Halloween Shoppers Find Plenty of Inspiration at Goodwill


yka Bertrand

Because Goodwill separates clothes by

“It was like, "Are you serious? I would

wanted to look

size and color and has “an abundance of

have just gone to (another retailer) and

like Peter Pan,

simple pieces,” Myka felt confident.

paid a million dollars for a costume."

to Never Never

“I knew I’d be able to find (the items) fairly

That was last year. This year, Myka just

Land. She was

cheap in the color I needed,” she said.

got braces on her teeth, so she plans to

but not for a trip

headed to her workplace on Nashville’s

go to the Halloween party dressed as

Music Row, where they were having a

And because she shopped on the first

Darla, the dentist’s rambunctious niece

Halloween party for employees.

Saturday of the month, everything in

from the movie “Finding Nemo.” She will

the store was half off the regular price.

be returning to Goodwill to search for a

“Since I had to wear it to work, I thought

She said she spent $10 for everything

plaid schoolgirl skirt.

of it more as an outfit than as a costume,”

she needed to complete her costume. It

Myka explained.

wasn’t her greatest Goodwill find ever —

She advises others who are going to shop

that was a pair of Seven brand designer

Goodwill for Halloween to go in with a

jeans she got for $7 — but it came close.

plan, shop on sales days such as the first

She had a hat, shoes and pants she thought would suffice, but she needed

Saturday of the month and to think of

a green sweater and T-shirt and a belt

Her co-workers loved her outfit, and

their costumes as outfits. That way, they

to make her ensemble fly. She headed

they were even more impressed when

can re-wear them, and like Peter Pan,

to her favorite Goodwill store near

she told them she got a lot of it at

they will never have to say goodbye.

Rivergate Mall in Madison.



Ambassador Fall 2015

Our mission is changing lives.

“I still wear my green sweater to work,”

to fulfill with a Power Ranger costume

Myka said, “and I’m actually wearing my

purchased from Goodwill last year. It

belt right now!”

matched perfectly with a mask and sword from separate shopping trips.

Frequent Goodwill shopper Rebecca

for the upcoming theatrical release of

Wright keeps an eye out for Halloween

With Halloween coming up, Rebecca

props year-round. With two boys at

suggests that Goodwill costume hunters

home who love to play dress-up, she

be creative and have an open mind.

“It never fails that once Halloween

said. “Then you’ve got a costume with props for under $10.” Last year, she found a Disney Store Hercules costume for her now 5-yearold son Wyatt. It was “a steal at $2.99,” she said. The costume appeared to have barely been worn, and a little research revealed a similar costume was priced at nearly $50 online. The sword to match was a

its 2012 hit animated film. With the

“Just because it looks like it’s supposed to

Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez,

be one thing doesn’t mean you can’t turn

Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Fran

it into something else,” she said.

Drescher, Jon Lovitz, David Spade,

comes around we find the entire costume to match the props,” Rebecca

“Hotel Transylvania 2,” the sequel to

return of a star-studded cast (Adam

often buys plastic masks and swords, etc., from the toy section.

Goodwill Industries International is partnering with Sony Pictures Entertainment

Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell), “Hotel

It never fails that once Halloween comes around we find the entire costume to match the props. Then you’ve got a costume with props for under $10.”

Transylvania 2” promises to be another fun, family experience for Halloween. Characters from the film will be featured in a nationwide “Be Your Own Monster” campaign encouraging families to shop Goodwill for their Halloween costumes. Special events are planned in Nashville ahead of the Sept. 25 movie premiere. For additional details visit:


previous Goodwill purchase for just 99 cents. Rebecca’s Halloween shopping doesn’t end with her children. The award for the best Halloween find goes to her husband Jason who found a heavy, silk Superman cape for just $2. The tag revealed it originated from an expensive costume company with a price of $300. This year, she already has one costume out of the way. Her 8-year-old Tyler expressed his desire to be a Power Ranger. Their stockpile of costumes for play time at home made his request easy

Ambassador Fall 2015




Loyal Goodwill Donor Hails New Pickup Service


udy Bond has

taker because she couldn’t get them to a

her residence. They carefully gathered

donated her

Goodwill Donation Express Center. Then

up and removed a collection of items

gently used

recently, while shopping in her local

filling nearly half of her living room,

clothing and

Goodwill retail store, she noticed a sign

including a large upholstered chair,

small household

advertising a new Home Pickup program

some bookshelves and lamps, an antique

items to

for donations.

sewing machine and a 7-foot-tall, solid-

Goodwill for

wood armoire.

decades, because she believes in the

“Right there in the store, I said, ‘Hot

not-for-profit’s mission of helping people

diggety-dog!’” she recalled. “The (cashier)

The items will be sold in Goodwill’s retail

find work.

looked up at me, and I said, ‘Pickup service!

stores, and the proceeds will be used to

It’s about time. I’ll be calling you.’”

provide job training and employment

But since her husband died, whenever

opportunities for people in Murfreesboro

the diminutive Murfreesboro widow had

Bond did call. And on July 21, two

and communities across Middle and

large items she wanted to donate — such

Goodwill Home Pickup program

West Tennessee.

as furniture, she had to find another

employees arrived in a box truck at


Ambassador Fall 2015

Our mission is changing lives.

Before her husband died in 2005, they

Home Donation Pickup Service Revs Up: Now Available in 16 Counties

downsized from a large house to a much

In just a few months, a fledgling Goodwill

couch, for example, and for one reason or

smaller one. She said she is still working

service that picks up gently used

another can’t bring those donations to us,”

to weed out unneeded furniture and

furniture and other household items from

she explained.

household items.

donors’ homes has expanded from a single

For Bond, the service is a godsend — and one she said she plans to use again.

Nashville subdivision into communities

Items donated to Goodwill Industries of

Another reason Bond chooses to give to

across 16 Middle and West Tennessee

Middle Tennessee are sold in the not-

Goodwill is her son, who was born with


for-profit’s retail stores, and the proceeds

cerebral palsy and other health issues.

are used to provide job training and

She was his caregiver throughout his

The Home Pickup Program, which

employment opportunities for tens of

life until he died in 2009 at age 36. She

began a year ago as a small test service

thousands of people across Middle and

said the experience left her with a deep

in Nashville’s Forest Hills community,

West Tennessee.

appreciation for Goodwill’s long tradition

is growing rapidly, Donation Specialist

of helping people with disabilities.

Jamie Goss said. Expansion began in

Goss said donations gathered in the Home

late April, and the program now serves

Pickup Program are usually delivered to

“Goodwill is very good about giving

parts of 11 Middle Tennessee counties,

the closest Goodwill store, meaning that

disabled people a job and giving them a

from Clarksville to Columbia and from

they directly benefit the area where the

chance in life,” she explained.

Lebanon to Dickson. It also serves parts

donor lives.

of five West Tennessee counties around One further reason Bond supports

Jackson and Lexington. The program

“So when people donate, they’re helping

Goodwill was sitting beside her on the

averages 18 to 20 pickups per day. It is

their neighbors,” she said. “Their

couch as her home pickup took place.

a fairly straight-forward service, Goss

generosity cycles back into their own

Kim Warren, Bond’s niece, worked



for 15 years, founding and promoting

“Basically, if you can’t get it to us, we’ll

Home pickups are currently scheduled

a program that provides free medical

come get it from you,” she explained. “The

primarily Monday-Friday, though

equipment to those in need. The two

service is intended for people who have

Saturday and Sunday pickups are also

now share Bond’s home.

large items, like furniture or appliances,

conducted in a few communities. Because

they can’t deliver to one of our 80-plus

of high demand for the service, those

“She has drummed it into my head:

Goodwill Donation Express Centers.

requesting a donation pickup should do so

‘Don’t throw that away — Goodwill

But we will also come and get smaller

at least a week in advance.

wants that. Give it to Goodwill!’” Bond

donations like boxes of books or bags of



Her niece laughed.

Senior citizens, people who have

for Chattanooga Goodwill Industries

numerous items to donate and those “We know the mission of Goodwill, and

without automobiles or vehicles big

that’s what’s important to us,” Warren

enough to transfer donations are typical


of clients who use the service, Goss said. “But it’s also for the average person who wants to get rid of a kitchen table or a

Ambassador Fall 2015

More information about the program is available online at www. giveit2goodwill.org/ pickups, and pickups can be scheduled through the website or by calling (615) 425-0100. giveit2goodwill.org



Track Your Goodwill Donations Online


ax return preparation is difficult enough

have been giving donors a flier directing them to a website —

without having to rifle through the

mygoodwilldonation.org — where they can log their donations

glove box of your car in search of that

throughout the year. They can also retrieve information on

elusive charitable donation receipt.

all their donations when needed and print it out to get a tax deduction from the IRS.

It’s an unpleasant task donors to Goodwill Industries of Middle

“When the donations attendant hands you a flier, you just

Tennessee no longer need to worry about. In early August,

follow the directions in the blue box on front, go online, create

the organization rolled out a new way to electronically track

a profile and start logging your donations,” Donations Specialist

donations for tax purposes, while getting a discount on

Jamie Goss explained. “It’s really easy.”

haircuts in the bargain. While a few other Goodwills around the country have Since early August, instead of handing out receipts that can be

an online receipt program, Goodwill Industries of Middle

easily lost, attendants at Goodwill’s Donations Express Centers

Tennessee is the first to partner with a business — Great Clips


Ambassador Fall 2015

Our mission is changing lives.

— to defray costs of its program. This allows more money from donations to be channeled toward Goodwill’s mission of providing job training and opportunities to those with barriers to employment.

‘The Voice’ of Goodwill

The partnership also gives donors an opportunity to save some money by using a coupon on the flier to get a $9.99 haircut at Great Clips in Middle and West Tennessee. When donors register online to track their donations they can get an additional coupon for a family member. Goss said donors who are not computer savvy or don’t have online access shouldn’t worry. Goodwill donation attendants can still provide them with a traditional receipt upon request.

When the donations attendant hands you a flier, you just follow the directions in the blue box on front, go online, create a profile and start logging your donations. It’s really easy." — Jamie Goss, Goodwill donations specialist

An acapella singing contest held Aug. 14 on the supervisor’s platform in the donation processing area of one of Goodwill’s Nashville warehouses had employees dancing in the aisles. Tammy Marcum’s slithery vocal stylings on Tom T. Hall’s novelty, “Sneaky Snake,” brought lots of smiles and applause, while Emma Sullivan’s soaring rendition of the gospel anthem “I Want to be


Ready” energized the hundreds of workers on the floor. But it was Melvin Coleman’s soulful take on The Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” that won the hearts of his co-workers

Request electronic receipts

and the contest.

Create a list of donated items

Coleman, who has worked in Goodwill’s clothes hanging

Determine the impact your donations are making Provide a tax summary of your donations for tax purposes

Ambassador Fall 2015

department for eight months, said he has sung occasionally in church but never professionally. He was surprised to win the top prize — a comfy new throw blanket.

“I was just in it for the fun,” he said. “It’s just about being involved.”




educational goals for parents and children, connection to affordable health care, assistance with goal-setting and referrals to community resources. Families are directed to the year-old

Finding Housing, Making it Home

program by Metro Nashville Public Schools or other social service agencies. Goodwill Cares comes into the picture after families have found a place to live. Many people served by the Family Empowerment

hen Lura Griffin hands a family a gift


Program have no furnishings whatsoever.

card from the Goodwill Cares program, the response is almost always the

“They can use the Goodwill Cares gift cards to buy just about

same. “They get very excited,” she said.

“They plan out what they are going to purchase at the stores and make time during the weekend to go shopping and pick out some items for their homes.” For many of the families Ms. Griffin works with, buying their own chairs, curtains, dishes or even extra clothing seems an

anything they need to get their home set up

“They can use the Goodwill Cares gift cards to buy just about anything they need to get their home set up and inhabitable.”

and inhabitable,” Griffin said. But the relationship between Goodwill and the Family Empowerment Program does not end there. Griffin said unemployment is often one of the barriers that prevents families from finding housing. Griffin said she has frequently directed unemployed parents to a Goodwill Career Solutions center for training and help

incredible luxury. That’s because the Family

finding a job.

Empowerment Program of the Catholic Charities of Middle Tennessee, for which Ms. Griffin is one of

“People are often referred to our program after a family crisis,

three case managers, serves families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

such as loss of income, leaves them behind on their rent and they end up getting evicted,” she said. “They often just need a little bit of assistance to return to a stable condition in the community.

The Family Empowerment Program offers longterm case

Thanks to partnerships such as the one we have with Goodwill,

management for up to 24 months, one-on-one financial

the Family Empowerment Program is able to give them that

counseling, housing search and placement, assistance with


Thanks to partnerships such as the one we have with Goodwill, the Family Empowerment Program is able to give them that assistance.” — Lura Griffin, Family Empowerment Program


Ambassador Fall 2015

Our mission is changing lives.

Ambassador Fall 2015





Laura Donigian

Online Goodwill Bookstore Lead

Laura Donigian is responsible for posting thousands of donated books and media per day to Goodwill’s online store, onlinegoodwill.org. She directs a team of four employees to fill customer orders, answer customer service emails and complete refund requests. She coordinates with her team and other departments to overcome all the many daily challenges of e-commerce. How did you end up working for Goodwill?

What do you enjoy most about your job?

With three children under the

bookstore lead job in 2012 while at the

donated after it’s released. Two days after

age of 10, she needed something

Downtown Nashville Career Solutions

the new Harper Lee book was released, we

Center taking classes in job search,

had one come in. Also, a specific book can

interview skills and resume writing. It just

be very popular, then by not too long no

worked out that I happened to like books, I

one wants to read it.

Laura worked a series of odd jobs, then a temporary position with a Nashville book publisher.

more permanent. She had some college education, but she also had a felony on her record. “A lot of times answering ‘yes’ to

I stumbled upon a description for Goodwill’s

had a little bit of experience and the job was available.

the question of a felony on an application leads to an employer ignoring the rest of your application,” she explained. It was a barrier not only to work —

What are some of the challenges you face?

I’m sure everyone faces this, but getting

forcing her to apply only where

everything done is the biggest challenge.

felons were hired — but also to

Our quota of books and media to put online

education. Many college degree paths lead to fields where people with felony records cannot find a job. She heard from friends, and through advertisements, that Goodwill Career Solutions could help.

It’s always fun to see how quickly a book is

is a minimum of 800 per person a day. With additional listers, it can be from 1,600 to 2,000 a day.

What has surprised you most in your time with Goodwill? The amount of donations. Just seeing the

Why is your job important to Goodwill’s mission?

Ultimately, everybody’s job is important, because we’re creating more jobs. I train and lead people in entry-level positions. Sometimes they haven’t been in the workforce in a long time, so it’s really good to be able to help people get back in the groove of a 9-5 job.

How do you change lives?

I’m kind of like a team cheerleader. I’m always trying to help people see the positive side.

number of people that donate to Goodwill and its mission is always impressive.


Ambassador Fall 2015

Our mission is changing lives.

Board of Directors OFFICERS Chairperson: Fred McLaughlin

Secretary: Chad M. Grout

Vice Chairperson: Julie F. Wilson

Treasurer: Dave M. Fentress

Goodwill President and CEO: Matthew S. Bourlakas

Legal Counsel: Christopher S. Dunn and Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

Goodwill VP & Chief People Officer: Betty J. Johnson

DIRECTORS Woodretta Allen

Ryan R. Loyd

J. B. Baker

Ty H. Osman

Bryan L. Bean

Christine E. Skold

Steele Clayton

Todd A. Spaanstra

Andrew Davidson

Grant Starrett**

Chris Dunn

John W. Stone, III

Robert W. Duthie

Kathryn I. Thompson

Dave M. Fentress

John C. Tishler

James B. Foley

John Van Mol

Kathryn S. Gibson

Jeff Young

Chad M. Grout

Donna Yurdin

Philip G. Hull

** Intern

Robert B. Kennedy R. Craig Laine

TRUSTEES Chairperson: Robert W. Duthie Robert McNeilly, III Robert B. Kennedy

Ambassador Fall 2015



OUR MISSION We sell donated goods to provide employment and training opportunities for people who have disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.

Profile for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee

Ambassador Fall 2015  

Ambassador Fall 2015