The American Psychological Foundation (APF) received a $1.5 million gift from Gainesville, Fla., developmental psychologist Jacquelin Goldman, PhD, who recently passed away. The donation will establish the Jacquelin Goldman Fund to support an APA Congressional Fellowship for a psychologist trained in developmental psychology.
Goldman was professor emeritus in the department of clinical and health psychology at the University of Florida, where she also directed children's services at the school's psychology clinic. She was a clinical child psychologist who believed in the power of developmental psychology to understand and help children, says James Johnson, PhD, who worked with Goldman for years at the clinic, so it's no surprise she would want to create a program to further children's issues.
"She wanted to see big things happen for children," says Johnson. "And something like a congressional fellowship can magnify your impact beyond the needs of the individual."
APA's Congressional Fellowships send early career psychologists to work for a year as special legislative assistants in the offices of a member of Congress. Goldman decided to fund a congressional fellowship because it would best serve her passions of strengthening the profession of psychology and helping children, says former APF President Joseph Matarazzo, PhD.
"Jacquelin believed that what happens in childhood affects all aspects of life and our society," adds her longtime friend Marilyn Sokoloff. "And she believed that the political process should make it a top priority to protect and enrich children."
To that end, the fellowship will allow psychologists to apply their knowledge to public policies that affect the psychological development of children including issues related to education, children's mental health and families. The first fellowship will be granted once the gift generates enough income to sustain the fellowship, which may take a few years, says APF Executive Vice President Elisabeth Straus.
It's not surprising that Goldman would give so generously to psychology, says Sokoloff. She was a staunch defender of the profession—serving on many APA committees as well as the American Board of Professional Psychology—and believed that psychologists had much to offer society.
"She was a thoughtful, determined person who had a commitment to do the right thing in all aspects of her life," adds Straus. "She gave to many organizations, and we are lucky she valued APF the way she did."
Beth Azar is a writer in Portland, Ore.