Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville
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P.O. Box 682722
Franklin, TN 37064
Organization Details



Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville supports the principles of fair trade and empowers artisans in developing countries by selling their hand crafted products and sharing their stories. Our non-profit store provides a unique shopping experience where everyone can participate in the fair trade mission.


Ten Thousand Villages is an independent, locally governed, non-profit, fair trade store that sells handicrafts made by over 20,000 artisans in 30 developing countries. The goal of the organization is to benefit the artisans by telling their stories through their products. As socially concerned individuals, customers and staff promote principles of love, justice and faith when purchases are made. The Nashville team of volunteers, staff, board members, customers and community groups help artisans earn a fair living wage while remaining active in their own communities. Together, they form a global team. A Mennonite missionary, Edna Ruth Byler, planted the seed for Ten Thousand Villages in 1946 by selling embroidery she had bought from disadvantaged women in Puerto Rico. Eventually, craft sales to benefit artisans became a major initiative of the Mennonite Central Committee. The first Ten Thousand Villages retail store opened in 1972. In 1999, a team of fair trade advocates began to explore opening a Nashville store. They recruited volunteers, hired an Executive Director and established a 501(c)(3) corporation. The overwhelming success of their trial seasonal store in 2001 precipitated the August 2002 opening of a permanent Green Hills store. In 2008, after five consecutive years of economic success, the organization began to explore its options for leasing a larger space. The move to a new space still in the Greenbriar Plaza in Green Hills took place in October 2009. In May 2019 we moved to a slightly smaller space also within the Greenbriar Plaza. On April 30, 2024 we lost our lease for the Green Hills store because we could not afford the rent increase. We want a new brick-and-mortar store if we can find one we can afford. In the meantime we are doing pop-up sales and we have applications in with two marketplaces. One in Franklin, TN and one in Columbia, TN.


Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville continues the challenges to stay in business. In 2019 we reduced expenses by moving to a smaller space within the same shopping center and cutting our rent expense by 20%. However, we did not anticipate the 2020 Covid-19 disaster, which will continue to impact our organization. Our expenses significantly exceed our income. We also received a SBA disaster loan and it is the only reason we will be able to limp along financially. Our five year lease expired April 30, 2024, and we no longer have a brick-and-mortar store. We are committed to our mission and we will stay in business as long as possible.


We need to raise at least $75,000 to open a new brick-and-mortar store and we will need ongoing donations of approximately $50,000 to be able to keep Fair Trade alive in the Nashville area.

CEO Statement

Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville operates locally but we think globally. We uphold the principals of fair trade: (1) Creating jobs for people who aren't usually hired (2) Caring for the environment (3) Capacity building (4) Paying a fair price (5) Giving women and girls the same opportunities as men and boys (6) Building sustainable long-term relationships (7) Supporting good working conditions (8) Educating people about fair trade and encouraging them to get involved. It is well documented that one of the keys to world peace is economic stability. Fair trade lifts people out of poverty and provides economic stability for our artisans. Our organization has experienced grant rejections because our mission does not have a local focus and perhaps because we have a retail earned revenue stream. Our earned income is a vehicle for social change but we need more contributed revenue to further our mission.

Board Chair Statement

Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville is a unique nonprofit organization and I am proud to serve as the Board Chair. I have served the board for 13 years and I have been the Board Chair for over eleven years. I am also a volunteer sales associate. I am now fully retired and serve multiple non-profit organizations, but Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville is the organization that gets the majority of my time and efforts. I am passionate about lifting people, especially women and children, out of poverty and sustaining a way of life that provides education, health care and opportunities for financial stability. I believe economic stability is one of the most important keys to world peace. Many for-profit retailers carry products made outside of the U.S. and many of these products are made using "slave" type labor produced in factories with unsafe working conditions. Some retailers carry a few fair trade products along with their non-fair trade products. However, only Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville can claim we are 100% fair trade in Middle Tennessee. One measure of success is our longevity. The Nashville store is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year. Yet, we are challenged to further our mission and expand our programs due to the lack of volunteers, diverse board member participation, and declining earned revenue. We need our local community to "think fair trade" when they make purchases and embrace what Ten Thousand Villages is doing in Nashville.

Service Categories

Primary Category: Community Improvement, Capacity Building  - Economic Development 
Secondary Category: Arts, Culture & Humanities  - Cultural & Ethnic Awareness 
Tertiary Category: Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy  - Women's Rights 

Areas Served

While the primary focus of Ten Thousand Villages of Nashville is to promote the well-being of artisans in developing countries through fair trade, we educate our customers, primarily in Middle Tennessee, about the importance of ethically sourced products in building a better world locally and globally.