Team Goodwin Volunteer Highlight

Lynn and Don Murphy have supported our families for decades. Whenever we see Lynn, she is always quick to ask, “How are our families?” And we always get to tell
her about how amazingly determined our students and their children are. Lynn and Don lead with their hearts in everything they do, which makes them pretty darn incredible themselves.

Lynn and the Terese Smith Howard heritage circle are well known for their annual wreath sale, which last year raised a whopping $10,000 for our families! Lynn also currently serves on Goodwin Connections’ Advisory Board.

Softchoice, our technology sponsor

Last fall, we began surveying our students about their technology access and needs. We discovered that students were borrowing neighbors’ computers to complete assignments, using computers with cracked screens, and relying heavily on computer and printer access on campus. And, when college campuses closed this spring and went online, access to reliable and current technology became a barrier for students to complete their courses.

The timing of Goodwin Connections’ new partnership with Softchoice Cares could not have been better. Just before the COVID-19 crisis hit, we received $11,600 in funding to launch a Technology Fund for our student parents. In addition, just weeks after schools closed, Softchoice pledged to make an additional donation to support Goodwin Connections’ families.

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Dear Friends of Goodwin Connections

As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit our region, you stepped up to help our student parents and their families. The Emergency Support Fund assisted students immediately with grocery cards, computers, wi-fi access, tuition and utility bills. And during May’s GiveBIG, more than $22,000 was raised to keep our parents on track to graduate this spring. You supported EVERY one of our 79 families during the spring during the spring quarter — and all 30 students who planned to graduate this year are graduating!

Much of the work that goes on behind the scenes is thanks to our volunteer board and committee members. Since January, the Goodwin Connections Board of Directors has welcomed new board members to the team. A warm hello to our new Board Vice President Yvonne Muench, and our new officers Annabel Quintero, Rocky Torres, Bill Benham, Robyn Duckett and Melissa Lewis! We will look to the board’s expertise as we embark on our next strategic plan in early 2021.

We are so grateful to our longtime Board member Jane Pedersen, who recently retired from the Board of Directors. We thank her for her dedicated service, enthusiasm for our mission and heartfelt kindness towards our families.
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We met Raymond about 24 hours after his daughter was born. He had just come from the hospital for his initial meeting with us. He applied to our Family Connections Program months earlier, knowing that he and his wife, Althea, needed childcare if they were to keep working toward their degrees.

We said, “let’s reschedule”, but his response was, “this meeting can’t wait.”

Raymond had some time before he needed to be back home with his new little family.  So we met with him and he was accepted into the Family Connections Program on the spot. He and his wife were laser-focused on earning their college degrees. The childcare assistance would help them stay the course.

Like many of our students, the road to college is not linear. Twists and turns, blockades and barriers make getting ahead even more challenging.

Raymond remembers his first, life-changing action after he was released from prison.

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Congratulations to our Graduates!

We are immensely proud of these 30 scholars who, despite increased challenges due to COVID-19, have made it to graduation day! Whether they’re continuing on to earn their next degree, or jumping into a new career, we know exciting things are in store.

Thank you to all who donated and supported Goodwin Connections this year.

Click on the video below to hear from, Tara, one of this year’s graduates.








A message to our Student Parents

To our Student Parents,

We want to acknowledge that these are incredibly hard times for many of you, especially our Black families. Like us, you are probably feeling sadness, anger, and frustration about the death of George Floyd, we are grieving with you and with our nation.

We wanted to let you know that we understand the challenges you face every day go far beyond the need for childcare, and to assure you that we see you, we support you, and we stand with you. Hatred and bigotry have no place in the Goodwin Connections Family or in the world.

Over the years, we have adapted to meet the changing needs of our families. Most recently, we’ve supported you through COVID-19 and will continue to do so. Now is another one of those times. We want to hear how we can help amplify you and your voices within our program and our shared community. Institutionalized racism hurts us all and we will not just be a passive supporter in the fight against it, but rather actively working against it.

We stand with our Black families. We are listening, we are learning, and we are ready to help make sustainable and meaningful change.

As always, please reach out if you need anything from us. We are here for you.

The Goodwin Connections Family

Good news to report!

Dear Friends of Goodwin Connections,
We are so overwhelmed by your caring hearts!
Not only did you surpass the GiveBIG goal, but you allowed us to meet our match. Your $12,844 in online and mailed in gifts plus the $10,000 match means that this has been the most successful GiveBIG ever for our families.
Like so much of what we do, we do together. GiveBIG was a true team effort. Thank you, thank you, to our board members, committee members, long-time supporters, and new supporters.
We are so amazed by your generosity and commitment to keeping our families safe, healthy, and connected to school through this spring, summer, and into the new school year.
We look forward to updating you with a lot of good news next month, as many students will be celebrating their college graduation.
Take care,
Maggie Skinner
Executive Director

P.S. Below is a video of thanks from Rachelle, a student from Seattle Central College, who will be graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Health this spring.


We met Tara just before her little one was born. A few weeks later, she welcomed her daughter into the world, and we welcomed Tara into our Family Connections Program. She started in the dental assistant program at Clover Park Technical College soon after.

Today, Tara has a dental assistant job waiting for her after graduation this spring, and she will eventually begin classes towards her ultimate goal of becoming a dental hygienist.

There is a shortage of dental assistants and hygienists in Washington state. And, once Tara graduates, she will help fill the need for trained dental technicians in our region.
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GiveBIG for a Good(win)!

Every donation between now and May 6, 2020, will count toward our overall GiveBIG goal and will make a difference for our families.

Goodwin Connections has been supporting Puget Sound families since 1907. Together, we’ve helped families through the influenza outbreak of 1918, the Great Depression, and two world wars. Throughout our long and rich history, our ability to show flexibility and respond to changing needs has given us the ability to continue our work.

Now, our student parents and their families are facing uncharted territory with the COVID-19 outbreak. Many are unsure if they’ll be able to complete their classes and graduate this spring, and some are scrambling to fill the holes in childcare that school closures have left.

For the last several decades we have focused on making childcare more affordable for student-parents who are earning a college degree. Today, we need to expand that focus to include keeping students housed, fed, and healthy.

Our students are resilient; thanks to generous donors and corporate support we have ensured that each of them has what they need to complete spring quarter from home.
However, this work is far from done. When school resumes in the fall, many of our students will be facing a vastly different landscape. Childcare, already in short supply, may be harder to find. Childcare centers throughout the region have closed, and it’s unclear how many will reopen.

Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work to support our community, just as we’ve done for over a century. A gift of $25, $50, or $100, in addition to your annual gift, will help us get students to graduation day.

Learn more about the student parents you are supporting with your gift.

If you would prefer to schedule your gift and have it go through on May 6, you can do so at our GiveBIG campaign page at:


We would like to thank a generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for matching GiveBIG donations up to a total of $5,000.

We’d also like to acknowledge and thank our technology sponsor, Softchoice Cares for funding computers and internet access for students, along with our partners at Interconnection, for working so quickly to get students online.

We’re incredibly grateful to be part of such a generous and compassionate community.

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.
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