09/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

5 Million Pound Donation Drive: It Adds up for our School Kids

I happen to be blind but I never allowed blindness or discrimination to slow me down. I started to lose my eyesight in the third grade. I have a form of macular degeneration but it didn't prevent me from envisioning a great life for myself.

Blindness has never stopped me. As a kid, I played sports until I could no longer see the ball. As a Purdue University school of engineering student, I starting using a cane for mobility during my junior year after a variety of encouraging situations where I realized that utilizing a white cane would be a very useful tool. I am the first blind person to graduate with an MBA from Harvard Business School. Blindness didn't hold me back from a rewarding career. I have held leadership positions with AT&T and National Industries for the Blind. Today, I am president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International .

I work hard and I have been lucky. I have always had the support of a loving family and a close circle of friends, mentors and colleagues. Despite obvious challenges, I have had the tools to succeed.

The Tools to Succeed

Stop for a second. Consider what tools you need to succeed. I bet you have probably relied on the same tools I have utilized. These are the same resources that are needed by people who have a disability, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. These are the same tools that people everywhere need to succeed.

That's where Goodwill® comes in. In cities everywhere, Goodwill provides the tools that each of those people need. Goodwill Industries® is one of the nation's top five most valuable and recognized nonprofit brands and one of the leading nonprofit social services enterprises. We provide employment training and job placement and other social services to 1.5 million people. In 2008, more than 172,000 Goodwill program participants in North America obtained meaningful employment as a result of Goodwill's career services programs. Collectively, these employees earned $2.3 billion in salaries and wages and contributed to their communities as productive, tax-paying citizens.

Donate Today

Times are tough these days. At Goodwill, we sell your gently-used clothing or household goods in more than 2,300 retail stores nationwide. We are certainly seeing an increase in people shopping at Goodwill -- people like you and me looking for a way to stretch their dollar. Maybe you have gently-used clothing around your house. Now would be a great time to make that donation. In fact, in August and in September, Goodwill is teaming with Family Circle magazine for a back-to-school clothing drive. Our goal is to collect 5 million pounds of donated clothes between August 1st and September 30th! Think about that - 5 million pounds of clothes for school children in communities like yours! That's a lot of clothes, and that's why we need your help.

To find out more about how you can be a part of this effort, click here. Download a donation coupon, which will ensure that your donation is counted as part of the 5 million pounds.

I promise you. Your donations will not only help a mom and dad clothe their families. It will provide funding for necessary community training programs. In my life, I have been fortunate to have opportunities and support to demonstrate my abilities in the athletic field and corporate America. Wouldn't it be great if every child and every person in your community was given this opportunity? Someday, with your help and with Goodwill in your community, everyone will have the tools they need to work hard and fulfill their dreams.