UPDATED: Goodwill’s impact $11.2M in Putnam County

New MTSU study gives glimpse of agency’s footprint in Middle Tennessee

Goodwill's Cookeville store is located at 575 S. Jefferson Ave.
Goodwill’s Cookeville store is located at 575 S. Jefferson Ave.

COOKEVILLE – In Putnam County, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee annually generates wages and salaries of more than $7 million and business revenues of about $11 million – while placing hundreds of people into jobs – according to the results of a study released this week.

The Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University says every dollar spent by Goodwill creates an additional $3.30 in benefits to the region. Total economic impact of the not-for-profit is approaching a half-billion dollars across the 48 counties it serves.

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas joined the author of the economic impact assessment, Murat Arik, director of MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center, in releasing the results at Goodwill’s Nashville headquarters Wednesday.

The Cookeville Goodwill, located at 575 S. Jefferson Ave., is the only one in the Upper Cumberland. Officials say it opened in March 1998 and currently employs 55 people. The store handles nearly 20,000 customer transactions per month. The Career Solutions Center helps match people with jobs.

“This study validates what we have long suspected – that Goodwill is much more than a non-profit and social enterprise,” Bourlakas said. “It’s an economic engine that propels businesses and communities forward while giving a hand up, rather than a handout, to those individuals who need it most.”

The 58-year-old organization serves half of Tennessee’s counties in a territory stretching from Cookeville to Union City. It is one of five independently operated Goodwills in the state.

The local Goodwill provides free training and employment opportunities for people struggling to find and keep jobs for a wide variety of reasons, such as disabilities, criminal records or lack of computer skills, and to others simply wanting to advance their careers. This mission is funded through the sale of donated goods in Goodwill’s retail stores.

In 2014, the agency helped 9,558 people find jobs. The vast majority went to work with other employers in Middle and West Tennessee. The effect of those job placements – including salaries earned by formerly unemployed people, the impact of their spending and resulting sales taxes collected by the state – are included in MTSU’s calculations, along with Goodwill’s direct hires and salaries.

Highlights of the study include:

  • Goodwill contributed to $7 million in wages and salaries and $11.2 million in business revenues in Putnam County in 2014
  • Goodwill facilitated the employment of 421 people in Putnam County in 2014
  • Goodwill accounts for $476 million in business revenue across Middle and West Tennessee
  • The organization is responsible for nearly 13,400 jobs across its territory, including external job placements and its own employees, which number more than 2,100
  • Goodwill spends about $77 million annually, while wages and salaries associated with Goodwill jobs and external job placements total nearly $277 million. This means each dollar spent by Goodwill creates $3.30 in benefits to local communities
  • Goodwill generates about $21 million in taxes and fees for state and local governments
  • Goodwill and its mission results are expected to grow rapidly over the next decade and by 2024 are forecast to contribute to 21,659 jobs annually – a 62 percent increase over current employment impact
  • Total business revenue created or stimulated by the not-for-profit is expected to surpass $717 million by 2024


The assessment did not attempt to measure Goodwill’s many welfare benefits to taxpayers, such as reductions in unemployment compensation payments, decreases in the prison population through prevention of recidivism or curbed landfill use through resale of used goods, salvage and recycling. The BERC may attempt to gauge those benefits in a future study, Arik said.

The complete, 65-page economic impact assessment can be viewed at www.mtsu.edu/berc/docs/goodwill.pdf. More information on Goodwill’s impact can be found at www.giveit2goodwill.org/annualreport.

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