Goodman Community Center | Looking Back with Gratitude

Looking Back with Gratitude

A look back on what we accomplished in 2021 (spoiler: it was A LOT).

January 19, 2022 |
GCC CEO Letesha Nelson dances with preschool students.
CEO Letesha Nelson gets silly with our preschool Yellow Room on school picture day.

Dear community,

It’s hard to believe I started as Goodman’s CEO & Executive Director almost exactly one year ago. Back then, I couldn’t have predicted what the next 11 months would have in store.

I talk often about my dad, who was a community leader in Milwaukee. He worked for the Social Development Commission and did a lot of the same work I have the privilege of doing now with Goodman. He taught me the importance of community and of taking care of each other. I know he’d be so proud of what the Goodman Center is doing for Madison, and I can say that in my nearly 20 years of nonprofit work, this has been the most fulfilling year of my career.

In 2021, we did it all. Provided meals and activities for older adults, helped kids with virtual learning and then gave them a summer to remember, hosted COVID-19 vaccine clinics and provided families who needed it with a variety of nutritious foods – to name just a few.

Our staff pivoted and shifted often when our community needed them to, and in a COVID year, that was A LOT. The whole year was a labor of love and community, with the safety of our kids, families and neighbors all at the top of mind. It was my greatest honor to witness our staff work so hard to strengthen lives and secure futures – with support from you and so many others.

Your statement of giving to Goodman for 2021 is enclosed. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read on to see how your gifts – working with the kindness and generosity of so many others in our community – helped brighten your neighbors’ lives and make some of the challenges of the past year a little easier to bear.


Letesha Nelson, CEO / Executive Director

Your Impact By the Numbers

Here are just a few things that happened in 2021 – there are so many more we could list! All of this because of your generous support.

“The staff at the Goodman Center are the kindest and most warm-hearted people I've ever met. And I don't ever want to leave here.”

523 children and teens learned in a safe environment.

From full-day care and virtual learning assistance at the beginning of the year to a little closer to “business as usual” in the fall, 523 kids ages 3-19 had a place to learn and grow that was safe both physically and emotionally.

96 teens earned real-world work certifications.

Every year, our dedicated staff support TEENworks teens in learning work and life skills, while also building a sense of connection and community among these young people. Every teen also earned a real-world work certificate that they can carry into their work outside of Goodman.

TEENworks in action at the Goodman Center.
Catering Chef Jeff Schmidt works with teens to prep for a catering event.

499 older adults knew they weren’t alone.

Here’s something extraordinary: From the time the pandemic hit Wisconsin until today, the number of older adults participating in our program stayed steady. That’s thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers who hit the ground on Day 1 checking in with our seniors, making sure they had food they needed, and coming up with virtual and in-person ways for them to stay connected to Goodman and one another.

“I looked forward to Friday's coffee hours. I had it circled on my calendar.”

714 households visited our food pantry more than 7,500 times.

Our community’s need for our food pantry ebbed and flowed during 2021, some weeks seeing incredible demand and others returning to pre-pandemic numbers. One thing remained constant: We provided food to families who needed it when they needed it.

12 weeks packed with summer fun and learning.

Our preschool and elementary-age kids learned and explored during fun-filled days, while our Lussier LOFT teens mixed fun with practical life and career skills. All groups got out and about on field trips around Madison and beyond, exposing kids to experiences they might not have otherwise had.

Beekeeping at Goodman Summer Camp

4 Girls Inc. overnight camps where girls learned how strong, smart and bold they are.

This was a new one for us, and wow, was it great! We hosted four Girls Inc. outdoor adventure camps that each ended in an overnight campout. It was a big swing for us, something we’d never done before. And you know what? The girls LOVED it. The best part: The camp was totally free for every participant, thanks to you.

“You make us feel welcome, not like we're low class.”

5 COVID-19 vaccine clinics helped serve our community.

Because of our commitment to keeping our community safe, we partnered with the African American Health Network to host a series of vaccine clinics to make getting this important vaccine accessible to everyone.

1,000s of hours of cleaning using 100s of gallons of disinfectant.

Through this public health crisis, our community’s safety has been our No. 1 priority. Our custodial staff have worked hours sanitizing surfaces and keeping our buildings clean to ensure that anyone who comes in – whether they’re in preschool, elementary after-school, our teen center, attending older adult lunch or using our room rentals – is walking into the safest environment possible.

“At the Goodman Community Center I feel safe and accepted.”

The last two years have been a season of shifting. Your gifts have allowed us to stay nimble during these ever-changing times while remaining focused on our mission of strengthening lives and securing futures.

Thank you for your support!

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