Molly Goodwin ’09

DEGREES: B.A. in American studies; M.P.A. with concentration in nonprofit management, New York University

JOB TITLE: Program manager for matching grants at Jewish Funders Network

ACTIVITIES WHILE AT TRINITY: Hillel (president during senior year), class secretary, studied abroad at Trinity in Paris, Senior Admissions Associate, Writing Center

What originally drew you to Trinity?
I knew I wanted a small liberal arts college located in a city. I visited Trinity as an 11th-grader and decided I’d apply early decision to Trinity on the spot. 

Which professor(s) had the most impact on you and why?
Brennan Maier and my professors in Paris. I loved how they gave me the opportunity to pursue the topics that most interested me, and I’m still appreciative of the critical thinking and writing skills that I honed in their courses and use daily in my professional role.

What was your favorite College course and why?
“American Autobiographies” or the “AMST Junior Seminar” with Brennan Maier. I loved the reading, the class discussions, and the wide open paper topics.

What is your favorite memory of Jewish life at Trinity?
I’m most proud of starting the Pink Shabbat program, which is now in its eighth year. My favorite memories of Jewish life in College are Friday night  services where I was given an opportunity to reflect on my week and befriend students I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

What did you do after you graduated?
I moved to NYC and worked as a development assistant for a new campaign at UJA-Federation of NY.

How did you come to the position you hold today?
My supervisor at a part-time job I had while I was in graduate school asked me to make a list of dream jobs a few months before I graduated. Jewish Funders Network was the first organization on my list, and my supervisor sent recommendation e-mails to JFN’s CFO. A few days later they called me and asked me to come in for a meeting, even though there wasn’t an official job opening. About eight weeks after the meeting, they called me and offered me my current job.

How did Trinity help guide you in your life?
Because Lisa Kassow allowed me to participate in Hillel board meetings (not the student board) and speak about Hillel at Hartford Federation and other fundraising events, I was inspired to pursue a career in fundraising. My Trinity connections, both friendships and professional connections that I’ve developed over the years, have helped me network when job searching. Trinity also prepared me for a rigorous graduate program, without which I could not have secured my current position.

What has been your involvement in the Jewish community, in the past and currently?
My family was always involved in our synagogue and in giving tzedakah. My grandparents’ commitment to philanthropy inspired me to consider becoming a Jewish communal professional and inspires me in my current role working with large Jewish foundations and individual philanthropists all over the world.

What role do you think Hillel plays on college campuses across the country and at Trinity?
I always loved that college students are empowered to make Hillel whatever they want it to be. Hillel is a powerful institution on college campuses because it is positioned to constantly change and adjust its programmatic offerings to fit students’ interests. I saw Hillel’s role at Trinity as one of few campus organizations on Vernon Street that were inclusive and welcoming 24/7. Being part of Hillel was also about being part of something bigger than Trinity’s campus–giving students an opportunity to think about repairing the world and placing ourselves within the larger community of Jewish college students and citizens of the world.

What do you hope to see from the upcoming generation of Jewish college students?
I hope that Jewish college students will take advantage of all of the extracurricular offerings on campus–including Hillel. Because the job market is so competitive, it’s easy for students to limit their college experiences to rigorous course work and internships. Hillel prepared me for my professional life in countless ways that I could not have honed in the classroom or as an intern. I hope that students are able to take advantage of what Hillel has to offer them and use it as an opportunity to work with lots of different people (especially students they may never even talk to outside of Hillel) and think about how they want to be Jewish as young professionals.

A bit about Molly’s family roots at Trinity: Born in Ukraine in 1883, Gustave A. Feingold emigrated with his parents and older siblings to New York City 10 years later. After his family settled in Hartford in 1903, he was a factory worker at the Underwood Typewriter Company and attended night school. He received a scholarship to attend Trinity, which he entered in 1907 (at 24 years of age).

A brilliant student, Feingold was elected to Phi Beta Kappa his junior year. Additionally, upon his graduation with a B.S. in 1911, he received honors in philosophy, English, and chemistry and was class salutatorian. He was probably one of Trinity’s first Jewish graduates. Feingold also received a master’s degree from Trinity the following year.

By this time, Feingold had received a scholarship to attend graduate school at Harvard. He earned a second master’s degree in 1912 and his Ph.D. in psychology in 1914.

In 1917, unable to find work as a professor, Feingold became a teacher of math and foreign languages at Hartford High School. In 1926, he became the first principal of Hartford’s Bulkeley High School and the city’s first Jewish high school principal. He remained in this position until his death in 1948. He is buried in Zion Hill Cemetery, adjacent to Trinity. 

In 2001, after the College’s Zachs Hillel House was built, Marshall Feingold donated a collection of Yiddish books in his father’s memory. (Yiddish had been Gustave’s first language.) When I visited Trinity for my admissions interview in fall 2005, I toured Hillel with Lisa (Kassow) and noticed the collection honoring my paternal grandfather’s great-uncle. Of course I hope that my Hillel leadership left a new mark of Goodwin family legacy on the Zachs Hillel House and its community.