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Raising the Bar

By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
Colin Goodpasture’s ’19 discovers joy and passion in service of "beautiful cause"
Colin Goodpasture’s ’19 first encounter with the Richmond SPCA came in middle school when he attended a Critter Camp. It was here that he learned of the nonprofit’s mission as a no-kill shelter and resource for our area’s animals. Prior to the camp, he had not been aware of the difficult landscape around homeless animals. He left the camp energized to make a difference, and make a difference he has.

Over the last three years, Goodpasture has raised more than $31,000 for the Richmond SPCA through his fundraising for the Richmond SPCA’s Dog Jog. This annual event takes place each March, and Goodpasture first participated in the 5K run in middle school. In 2017 he decided to focus his efforts on raising funds for the race, and that year he was the top youth fundraiser, gathering $5,495.  

According to Tamsen Kingry, chief operating officer of the Richmond SPCA, “The efforts of participants like Colin result in immense lifesaving for homeless animals. Through their hard work and dedication, they raise crucial funds to support myriad programs and services of the Richmond SPCA.  Additionally, these efforts raise attention and awareness for our mission and inspires the community to become involved in achieving this for the benefit of many thousands of deserving pets.”

Last year, Goodpasture was the top individual fundraiser overall, generating more than $14,000.  2019 was more of the same, as Goodpasture was again the top individual, bringing in over $12,000.  

While the sums are significant, it is not about the competition or a dollar figure to Goodpasture.  His passion lies in the mission of the SPCA and supporting its “beautiful cause.” As is often the case in philanthropic work, Goodpasture discovered unexpected joys along his journey.  

“My first goal was to run the race,” said Goodpasture. “I enjoyed being a part of it and all of the awareness that could be spread and the love of the community that is present for that event. Many people who weren’t able to go to the actual event were still able to participate through fundraising. I used email and social media to spread the word and the response was overwhelmingly positive.”

He was stunned by how far-reaching the effort became. “The experience taught me that humans have an endless capacity for compassion, and I was so moved by how many people contributed,” he said.

Tabitha Treloar, director of communications for the Richmond SPCA, said, “Seeing young people involved in our mission – whether it’s through advocacy, fundraising or volunteerism – is an incredible thing to witness. We have the privilege of interacting with many children, teens and young adults like Colin who display an admirable spirit of giving that comes from a place of kindness and compassion for animals.”

Those good feelings go beyond the event itself and have been restorative to Goodpasture. “Today we are assaulted by so much bad news, and events like this remind me that people are wonderful,” he said. “When we come together, we can support amazing things; it is incredible to see people work toward this beautiful cause.”

As for the event itself, Goodpasture encourages people to go and experience the atmosphere. “There is a furry-tide of animals and so many people who love them,” he said. “There is so much happy noise. The adoption rate on that day is so high, and there is a magic about so many like-minded people who are together working toward a common goal.”  

Goodpasture encourages others to get involved with organizations and causes for which they feel passion. “I encourage anyone to support a cause for which they feel passion,” he said, “It is so important to follow your passion. No experience necessary.”

Goodpasture hopes to continue his service during college. “I hope to find a way to continue to support the SPCA,” he said. “In a perfect world, I would like to continue to do it as long as possible.”

As we seek to encourage students to practice service to others and to engage with the world around them, Goodpasture has given us a case study in the power of following your passion and having the courage to make a difference.  
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About “Connections”

Connections is a regular online column, written from the first-person perspective of Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement:

In this space, I have the privilege of sharing stories of Trinity students, alumni, and faculty and staff who are carrying our mission beyond the boundaries of campus. Many of these stories might not make the headlines, but they will illustrate how every member of the Trinity community has a unique path to discover, and the ability to make an impact on both the Trinity community and the world beyond.

I am fortunate to have been a part of this community since my own adolescence. I have been a student, a teacher, a coach, and an administrator, and in these roles I have witnessed the school’s growth and evolution through the years. We have grown in size as well as spirit.

Stories here will capture how seeds planted at Trinity have taken root and flourished into full-grown passions. You’ll also read stories of those in our community who bring their gifts from outside to help us learn. At Trinity, we seek to develop lifelong learners, and stories here will illustrate real-life examples of that beautiful symbiosis.

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