If you don’t already know Kansas City’s Terri Goddard, you’ll want to now. Calling herself the planner of fun, she’s one of those gregarious event planners and non-profit fund raisers who not only knows how to plan a fun event and ask people for money to support it, she also gets them to donate because she believes each event or cause she supports is a worthy one.
Her day job is as manager of resource development and community outreach for The Whole Person, a non-profit organization in Kansas City, Missouri that connects people with disabilities to needed resources by supporting independent choice and advocating for positive change within the community, making it more inclusive and accessible to everyone.
But she also does the same event planning and fund raising as a community volunteer, much of it involving sports organizations and the LGBTQ community, particular anything AIDS-related. Sharing that her greatest personal achievement is raising over $22 million for a variety of charitable organizations in her community, both as a professional and a volunteer, Goddard says “Raising money is my passion.”
In spite of the fact that much of her life revolves around sports, in a surprising and fun twist Goddard isn’t really an athlete. Her lifelong love affair as a sports spectator began at the tender age of 18 months. Her mother would take her to watch her big brother play sports year round; they’re all part of her earliest memories and she emphasizes that “I love being the 12th man and take my job really seriously.” For the kid who loved being active and having something to do, her involvement in sports is the perfect adult corollary.
In 1984 Goddard came out of the closet after meeting a woman and they began a relationship. The woman was a competitive softball player for a team that was part of the Heart of America Softball League (HASL). As fate would have it, the team was really good and in 1985 went to Milwaukee to play in the first Gay Softball World Series (GSWS) ever held by NAGAAA, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance. According to Goddard, “… the rest is kind of history. I’ve pretty much been a staple in the gay league [NAGAAA] ever since.”
Once one of the softball coaches asked her to be a fill in score keeper, it gave her something to do, a way to become part of the team instead of just sitting in the stands. She’s still keeping score and still loves it! Then when the league commissioner asked if she could help with a couple of fundraisers that same year, it was the icing on the cake. Holding their first team talent night, they raised $1,400, thus beginning her lengthy run serving on the league’s board of directors.
Goddard says that nothing in her life has given her a greater sense of accomplishment than serving as the director of NAGAAA’s GSWS in 1999 that included two years of meetings and fundraisers with an awesome supporting team. And she’s taken on the task as director of fundraising and special events for the 2019 GSWS. It’s no wonder that NAGAAA inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2013 without her ever setting foot on a softball field! This summer the HASL named one its awards the Terri Goddard Team Award, another special moment for her, especially since she’s gotten to induct several of her best friends into the HASL Hall of Fame. As she reflects on her life in sports, Goddard says that “Some of my greatest moments have been sports-related and I hope there are many more to come.”
By Miriam Latto
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