When it comes to being involved in the community, few people can top the record of Katherine Goodwin. She is active in local schools, city government and the arts scene among other endeavors. When a group is in need of assistance, there’s a good chance that she will be there to answer the call.
Goodwin and her husband were married in 1988 and moved to Plano in 1989. She is a University of California at Berkeley grad who once dated a punk rocker. Her husband served in the Marine Corps and went to Ole Miss.
When they moved to their home near Coit Road and 15th Street, she figured she would live there five years or so. Then life happened, and before they knew it, they were empty nesters still living in Plano. Looking for something that better fit their new lifestyle, they moved to the Rice Field area at the beginning
The following year she ran for a seat on the Plano ISD Board of Trustees. Although she lost, she promised her friend Angela Miner that she would remain active in the schools. So she continued to volunteer in PTA even after her kids were grown.
Wanting to serve her neighborhood, in 2020 Goodwin joined volunteers from the Plano West Rotary Club to help the Douglass Visions nonprofit distribute food to neighbors in need.
Food distribution became much more streamlined through their efforts in the early pandemic. What used to take hours was now being completed in about 40 minutes.
That experience made her want to help school kids in need over the holidays because long lines at food banks at the time worried her. She couldn’t get the program started by Christmas, but she set up a food drive-thru in February 2021 with the help of James Thomas of Plano ISD Student and Family Services. Volunteers from Plano West Rotary and Douglass Community turned out, this time to help those in need in the Barron Elementary community.
“At that point I was becoming really good friends with James Thomas. We were becoming like partners in crime in food distribution,” she says.
With the help of several Rotary Club volunteers she organized weekly food distribution outposts at three locations during the summer of 2021. Each student received a meal bundle that contained seven breakfasts and lunches. The volunteers distributed more than 95,000 meals to 6,808 students.
According to Goodwin, the people who truly deserve credit are the district’s food service workers who continued to work throughout the summer.
“We were helping by being the one that stood outside and distributed the food so that they could keep doing their jobs without having to stop and come out in the hot sun,” Goodwin says.
Food distribution continues throughout the school year. At Armstrong Middle School, the project is done in conjunction with the North Texas Food Bank, parent involvement and liaison Kattia Saenz. At Bowman Middle School and Williams High School, it is done in coordination with Minnie’s Food Pantry in collaboration with Plano Up and Texas Health Resources, coordinated by Amanda Rhodes.
Goodwin says volunteering has taught her the importance of making sure other volunteers have a good experience. She pays particular attention to things like starting the project on time and making sure it’s organized.
“You want to give volunteers things to do so that they know they are doing something needed and will be more likely to come back,” she says. “People don’t want chaos, so I try to make sure that everything is well-coordinated.”
In addition to her rotary and PTA work, Goodwin serves on the board of directors and the finance committee for Art Centre Plano. She also serves on the Plano ISD Board of Trustees Diversity Advisory Committee as well as multiple City of Plano boards.
Goodwin says she has no interest in retiring and having nothing to wake up and do in the morning. She enjoys community services and plans to find new ways to support causes that are important to her and the city. Ultimately, she hopes her efforts will bring more opportunities and a better life for more people. When people tell her there are only so many ways to slice a pie, she has a quick retort.
“I’m all about working with people in projects where they make more pie for everyone instead of cutting up the pie,” she says.