Goodwin Connections is named in celebration of a bold female philanthropist and true Seattle trailblazer, Eda Goodwin.
Like many of the parents we serve, Eda’s family dreamed of brighter futures for their children. Eda was born in Minnesota in 1875 but her family soon moved west looking for greater opportunities. She was married at age 16 in South Dakota to Ervin S. Goodwin. They eventually made their way to Seattle and settled down to raise their family.
While Ervin and his two brothers were founding the Pike Place Market, Eda was carving her very own place in Seattle’s history.
Eda was a pioneering member of Seattle’s charitable community, giving back in many volunteer and leadership roles with other noteworthy organizations like the Seattle Council of Camp Fire Girls and the League of Women Voters.
But, Eda is best known and most beloved for being one of the founding women of what is now known as Goodwin Connections. In January of 1907, a group of intrepid women gathered for the first official meeting of what became known as the Seattle Fruit and Flower Mission. The group’s initial mission was to raise funds to bring cheer and nourishment to those recuperating in the hospital.
Eda supported the Seattle Fruit and Flower Mission for many years. She served as Board President for 13 years (1920-1933)–the longest tenure of any President in our 112-year history. Eda was revered as an exceptional orator and for her inspirational leadership. She steadied the organization through the Great Depression and ultimately grew the membership from 400 to 700 women.
The organization evolved to meet the changing needs of local families. During the Depression and World War II, we provided milk and food to people living in poverty. Eda led the charge to change our name to Seattle Milk Fund in 1935. The name stuck for more than 80 years as our work continued to shift focus.
“The Fruit and Flower Family has grown and prospered…from a graceful sapling, it has taken on the proportions of a sturdy tree whose roots are the purpose and object of the organization.”— Eda Goodwin
During the 1960s, Seattle Milk Fund’s focus shifted to providing college scholarships and funds to fill basic needs for low-income students and their families. In the 1990s, childcare assistance was included for parents working toward their college degree. In 2014, in response to our region’s rising cost of living and childcare expenses, we focused our program on making childcare more affordable for parents who are working toward a college degree.
We are inspired by Eda’s commitment to helping others and her foresight in building and transforming our organization. In 2019, we became Goodwin Connections to honor her. We thank Eda for her big heart, brave ideas, and her vision of brighter futures for all families.