When God echoed down from the heavens and spoke to Army Captain Tom Goodrich while on tour in Afghanistan, He issued Tom’s calling. Goodrich was to become a “financial engine” to help raise funds for inner-city youth church programs by casting his line in the water and… fishing. Fishing? The Lord works in mysterious ways.
With a background working in the faith community, and some downtime in Afghanistan, Mr. Goodrich recalled his efforts as an Executive Pastor working with a church in the inner-city of Minneapolis and he knew that many inner-city churches simply do not have the funds for youth ministry programs. He recollected that inner-city pastors spend a great deal of their time raising funds to pursue their work. God’s orders were very clear; Mr. Goodrich was to help motivate 10,000 kids to raise funds for cash-strapped inner city churches to fund their youth programs.
Captain Goodrich, an avid fisherman with a talent for organizing grass-roots community action programs, was steered by the word of the Lord and Fishing for Life was born. Fishing for Life is a nonprofit Christian group committed to raising funds to support urban youth ministries in the Twin Cities.
In order to do this, Fishing for Life coordinates three key operations:
1. Their “Real ‘Em In Kids” program collects fishing supplies (used or unwanted rods, reels, and tackle) to distribute to underserved youth at lake events and community festivals.
2. Fish Fair – an indoor winter fishing event for kids – affords kids an opportunity to create jigs, lures, and tie flies. But there is an educational component as well. They can also learn about the various species of fish and their habitats in Minnesota lakes, fishing techniques, proper and effective use of equipment, and sportsmanship. The event also plays host to clubs, organizations, and camps that offer fishing programs to youth.
3. Fish-A-Thon is Fishing For Life’s main fundraiser. It is an event that allows kids to raise funds for inner-city youth ministry programs and resources for urban communities, and has raised over $110,000 since its inception in 2004. The proceeds are donated to inner-city “Covenant Partners” that provide emergency assistance, summer camps, meals for the homeless, disaster recovery services, and year-round family programs to some of the most economically distressed
neighborhoods in the Twin Cities.
But raising money for these much-needed programs isn’t the only benefits Fishing For Life offers. Aside from helping families and children come together through the art of angling, Fishing For Life brings suburban and inner-city youth together under the net cast by faith. By working together, for the greater good of supporting urban ministries, the entire community is benefitted.
Urban ministries have little or no financial resources, and fundraising efforts like the Fish-A-Thon take time to plan for. Fishing For Life provides the financial mechanism through which a successful fundraising effort can thrive and allows pastors in inner-city ministries the time they need to serve the needs of youth in their communities. In this way, Fishing For Life donates both finances and time to underserved programs that provide youth with positive alternatives to the streets. Take a kid of the streets, put a kid on a lake? Sounds like yet another benefit of this program.