Presenting Sponsor of Fishing For Life

OUR MISSION

SERVING YOUTH, FAMILIES, VETERANS & COMMUNITIES THROUGH FISHING & OUTDOOR PROGRAMS

Who We Are

Founded in 2004, Fishing For Life has dedicated over a decade to serving youth, families, veterans, and communities through its fishing and outdoor programs. While the organization’s mission centers on these activities, its core values lie in fostering relationships—first and foremost with Christ, who serves as the driving force behind their work.

Intentionally designed fishing and outdoor programs serve as avenues for building relationships with various groups across the state, including at-risk youth, families, veterans, and communities in Minnesota and throughout the Midwest.

Through its outreach efforts, Fishing For Life has positively impacted thousands of youth, veterans and families over the years, and it remains committed to expanding its reach and making a lasting difference in the community.

Fishing For Life’s emphasis on building relationships underscores its belief in the importance of connection, both with each other and with a higher spiritual purpose.

Our History

Tom Goodrich found himself in an Army tent amidst the scorching heat and swirling dust of Afghanistan, a world away from the tranquil lakes of Minnesota. As he typed an email to his family, a message, not in words but in a profound feeling, descended upon him—a message from God. Initially perplexed, he sensed something about 10,000 kids. At first, he interpreted it as a vision of children reading a book he was writing for his son. Yet, upon deeper reflection, he realized it was a divine call to action—to inspire 10,000 youngsters to support inner-city communities.

Returning to Minnesota in April 2004 adorned with the rank of Major and a Bronze Star, Goodrich embarked on a mission close to his heart. Armed with a background in social work and a fervent passion for grassroots activism, he founded Fishing For Life. The organization’s flagship initiative, the annual Fish-A-Thon, aimed to empower young people to fund church-based programs for inner-city youth.

Goodrich’s journey was shaped by diverse experiences. From his upbringing in the Brainerd Lakes area, where he honed his love for fishing, to his role as campaign manager for Barbara Carlson’s mayoral bid in 1997, he traversed varied landscapes. A pivotal period as a producer on the KSTP-AM morning show deepened his involvement with urban ministries, ultimately leading him to resign and devote himself to church work.

His deployment to Afghanistan in 2003 underlined his sense of purpose. Tasked with rallying international support for the war on terror, he found himself wrestling with a divine mandate: mobilize 10,000 kids. Recognizing the financial strains faced by urban pastors, he envisioned Fishing For Life as a means to alleviate their burden, employing inner-city youth to fundraise and support their communities.

Returning home, Goodrich rallied leaders from urban churches, proposing the Fish-A-Thon as a vehicle for change. With resolute determination, he sought partnerships across sectors, enlisting support from businesses, the fishing community, and beyond. His tenacity, sometimes brusque, served him well in navigating the challenges of fundraising.

Yet, setbacks loomed large, testing his resolve. Encouraged by a divine revelation, he pressed on, securing critical funding and forging ahead. Along the way, he remained attuned to divine guidance, navigating the delicate balance between purpose and pragmatism.

For Goodrich, the mission transcended mere evangelism; it was about leveraging his strengths to effect tangible change. Rejecting the notion of a one-size-fits-all approach to faith, he embraced his role as a financial catalyst, acknowledging the diversity of callings within the Christian community.

In the tapestry of his journey, from soldier to advocate, Goodrich found his calling—a testament to the transformative power of faith and action. As a fisherman turned foot soldier, he continues to cast his net wide, weaving threads of hope and opportunity for generations to come.

MEET THE TEAM

Staff

All

Tom Goodrich

Chief Executive Officer

Director of Development

Chad Lanners

Chief Operating Officer

Vaughn Blackburn

Director of Ministry and Volunteers

Ryan Strugar

Camp Director

Laura Hudson

Director of Administrative Services

Linda Crosson Posavad

Development & Marketing Administrative Coordinator

Development & Marketing

Michael Schlueter

Program Coordinator

MEET OUR VOLUNTEER BOARD MEMBERS

Aaron Heisel

Board Member

Brad Patterson

Chairman of the Board

Mary Wilcox

Board Member

SUPPORTERS

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