Thank you from Maria

Last week, we received this letter from a student that we’re so happy to pass on to you. After all, you made this happen.

Now that school is back in session and things are a little more in place I would like to thank you for all the things you’ve done for me, in the last month especially, with all the emotional support and check-in emails. So I wrote a short letter from the bottom of my heart.

In this letter, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to every single person involved with Goodwin Connections and all the donors for their generous contributions towards the education of many students in the state, but especially to those who have helped to support my education during these uncertain times we are living. When I first enrolled for my spring classes at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, I was sure that tightening my family budget would help me pay for my classes and other expenses. I was not aware of the tremendous impact the COVID-19 virus would have on the education and the lifestyle of most of us.
Read more.

Kristen

Unlocking my Strength

By Kristen

Ten years ago, I was trapped in a domestic violence (DV) relationship. The consequences of this relationship were extensive, affecting my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. During this period, I was prescribed oxycodone for multiple injuries. As the abusive relationship got worse, so too did my abuse of oxycodone.

Eight years ago, I successfully navigated my way out of that DV relationship and my addiction. I have been sober for eight years. This is my story of discovering my strength against the odds and using it to reach my fullest potential.

At seven months pregnant, after hours of being locked in a room—berated with verbal abuse, smothered, struck, and strangled—my water broke. I convinced my abuser that if either the baby or I died, no amount of “it won’t happen again” would save him from legal ramifications and that 911 needed to be called. He was arrested, while I was airlifted to a Seattle hospital. Read more.

Where are they now? Meet Rich.

A decade ago, Rich was a self-employed contractor working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. He rarely got to spend time with his wife, Rachel, and their two young kids. Still, his health was suffering. Their home was facing foreclosure. They felt stuck.

“It wasn’t sustainable,” Rich says. “I wanted to go to school but the cost of childcare made it prohibitive to not work full time.”

They couldn’t live solely off Rachel’s public teacher salary.

Then they discovered the Seattle Milk Fund (now Goodwin Connections) and their entire outlook changed.
Read more.

Nordstrom Employees Give Back, Then and Now

Big kudos for a job well done to our newest group of corporate volunteers! Devin Tonseth from Nordstrom and his team joined us at our annual Luncheon and also spent a recent afternoon help us prepare for the JOYful Gathering event—by packaging gift bags with donated presents for our families.

Devin’s mother was Sandy Tonseth, a past President and longtime supporter, who belonged to our Everett W. Nordstrom Circle. She and her friends from Nordstrom created the original Nordstrom volunteer team back in 1979. These women continue to fundraise for our program to this day. It is so incredible to see the next generation of Nordstrom
employees supporting our families.

And, in late-breaking news, we just received notice that Goodwin Connections is the recipient of a $1,000 gift from Nordstrom to honor their employees. Thank you, Nordstrom, for being a tremendous community partner and for encouraging your employees to give back.

If your corporate team would like to volunteer in 2020, connect with us at volunteer@goodwinconnections.org. We also have ongoing volunteer opportunities through our Team Goodwin and Storytime volunteer positions. We look forward to chatting with you!

JOYful Gathering Update

Thank you to everyone who supported our families over the holidays! We surpassed
our goal of $20,000 and raised more than $25,000 to make our families’ holidays even
brighter. Thank you to our lead sponsor Capital One Café and the employees from
Parker, Smith & Feek, Indeed.com, and F5 Networks for donating towards our JOYful
Giving Season. 2020 looks very joyful for our program and the families we support.
Thank you for all you do to make our program and our families successful!

Denise Nicole

At the beginning of the school year, Denise Nicole spoke to our guests at our annual luncheon. Here is her story…

Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here. My name is Denise Nicole, and my four-year-old son, Kingston, and I just joined the Family Connections Program.

I am here on behalf of all the new and returning student parents and their families to thank you for believing in us and our children.

My journey has been filled with hardships that could have impacted my life in a negative way. There have been hurdles and obstacles that could have stopped me in my tracks. But I have persevered and stayed true to my path because I am worth fighting for!
Read more.

JOYful Giving Season

The JOYful Giving season is right around the corner! It begins November 18! This is our holiday and year-end giving campaign to support families participating in our program. In addition to making childcare and preschool more affordable for student parents, we also provide their entire family with additional basic needs support throughout the year–including over the holidays.

NEW this year, if you make a gift in honor of someone special during the JOYful Giving season, the recipient will receive a holiday card letting them know of your thoughtful gift to support our families.

Learn more about all the different ways you can get involved, give back, and make a difference for local families this holiday season…

Thank you to Capital One, Parker, Smith & Feek, and Little Rae’s Bakery for sponsoring our JOYful Giving season.

Thank you for fueling our families’ futures!

Thanks again to our guests and supporters for making our largest fundraising event of the year a success for our families. From our supporters to our students to our sponsors, everyone had a hand in making this our most successful luncheon to date! All in all, $108,475 was raised to support our families.

Thanks to our sponsors: GM Nameplate, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Safeco Insurance, Umpqua Bank, Four Seasons Hotel, Alaska Airlines, Spilt Milk Nannies, Byen Bakeri, Dabbawalla Bags, Third Place Books, Choice Organic Teas, and LegUP.

Check out the event photos here!

Community Outreach: Workplace Giving

Throughout October, we are visiting several workplaces and groups to talk about our Family Connections Program and various volunteer opportunities, like joining Team Goodwin or becoming a volunteer with Storytime.

While we were at Microsoft last week, employees took part in a micro-volunteer event where they wrote letters of encouragement to all of our student parents. Thank you to Board Member Sherry White and past program participant, Jessica Laughlin for inviting us!

Did you know that your employer may have a matching program? Check with your HR department to see if your gift to Goodwin Connections is eligible for matching funds.

Thank you to Microsoft, the King County Employee Giving Program, the Washington State Combined Fund Drive, and the Kirkland Kiwanis Club for hosting us this month!

Alexandra

This week, we announced Goodwin Connections’ inaugural Sandra Tonseth Scholar. An honor that will be bestowed upon a University of Washington student from the day they enter our Family Connections program through their graduation day. Named in memory of Sandy Tonseth, a past Seattle Milk Fund President and founding member of the Everett W. Nordstrom Circle. Sandy and her friends were Nordstrom employees who wanted to give back in a meaningful way and they found purpose in helping Seattle Milk Fund families. Sandy herself attended the University of Washington and studied art.

This year’s Sandra Tonseth Scholar is Alexandra. Alexandra is in her final year at the University of Washington majoring in Comparative History of Ideas with a minor in Environmental Studies.

She is an artist at heart who has a passion for music and documentary filmmaking. In addition to school, Alexandra also volunteers for 350 Seattle, a grassroots nonprofit working on the climate change crisis.
Read more.