Jennifer Goldman


What was your class year and major/minor?

I was in the class of 1987, and majored in English.

What is your current job?

I am the Director of Development and External Relations at the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine.

Did your academic or extracurricular experience at Bowdoin influence how you are involved in communities now? If yes, how so?

My experience at Bowdoin heightened my awareness about inequality, especially regarding wealth disparity. Coming from a public high school and having fewer opportunities to experience travel and many of the other luxuries that my classmates took for granted often left me feeling isolated on campus. After college, I committed myself to working to make sure no person, regardless of income, gender, sexual orientation, or race, ever felt alone or isolated because of who they were or where they came from.

In what ways have you been engaged with the community since graduating from Bowdoin (both professionally and personally)?

I have been engaged in my Maine community on many levels. I worked for many years to pass marriage equality, I served as chair of the Maine Womens Fund, building economic security for Maine women and girls, and I worked to make sure women leaving prison had access to employment and housing. My wife and I are very committed and intentional about our philanthropy.

What's been your favorite or most meaningful experience in public service since you graduated?

My current position at the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine is the most meaningful. The mission of our organization is to promote a widespread cultural and systemic shift to how Mainers approach wrongdoing by advancing the use of restorative justice through training, networking, infrastructure development, education and advocacy. The ultimate vision we hold is to build a restorative state. It is the most meaningful to me because I have the opportunity to work with Mainers to change the way we look at justice and shape criminal justice policy.

Have any unexpected challenges or difficulties related to this work popped up along the way? If so, what did you learn from these challenges?

It is always challenging to change systems, whether its same sex marriage, economic security or criminal justice. People fear change and when times are tough, resistance is the quickest route to further discomfort and unhappiness. What advice do you have for students who want to work for the common good after Bowdoin? Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Whether it’s a political campaign, animal shelter, land trust or social justice organization, find your passion and do something! Stuff envelopes, be a fundraiser, use social media, clean litter boxes! Recognize that you CAN make a difference in your community.