The money was going toward his wife's cancer treatment.
The 80-year-old had dropped off some clothes at a donation center in Iowa City. He didn't check the pockets first, and ended up leaving his life savings in a suit jacket.
Now Goodwill is doing everything it can to track the money down.
"We serve people. That's what we do. The stores provide the revenue so that we can serve people, so we have a great staff that is always figuring out how they can continue to serve people and it comes down to that," said Dana Engelbert with Goodwill of the Heartland.
Finding the suit is proving difficult. Englebert said the gray suit may have already been sold at the Moline store or sent to a regional warehouse in Iowa City, where non-seasonal items are sent for storage.
The man wasn't sure when he made the donation, but Goodwill workers were checking back through all clothes dropped off since the last week of October. Engelbert said it was no easy task: more than 575,000 items have been donated to Goodwill in the past year.
Engelbert said it's not unusual for people to find money in donated clothes and return it to the store, but typically no more than $5.
The family is offering a $1,000 reward for the return of the money.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.