Julie Goodridge
Founder and CEO, NorthStar Asset Management

With her daughter heading off to college, Julie Goodridge has more time to give back to the community. And she recently acquired a much better space to do it in.

Until last year, NorthStar Asset Management's offices were just down the street from Goodridge's home — in a house just like it. The location was convenient for raising a child, but did little to raise the company's profile in the Boston area. "If we were hidden," she says, "how were we supposed to be seen as part of the local economy?"

Last year, Goodridge bought and renovated a 3,000-foot, former medical office in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood on the southern side of Boston.

With enough space to host community events, she prepared to offer financial planning seminars for low-income women. The seminars are intended for "a diverse population," but focus on the needs of college students.

"I wanted people who were on full scholarship, or close to full scholarship," Goodridge says, "so they could understand not only the struggles that their parents had in terms of paying for college, but also the kinds of responsibilities that they might have when they graduate."

NorthStar tested the curriculum over the summer and planned to offer its first official seminar in the fall. Goodridge says she'll work with local nonprofits and community groups to find women who could benefit from the program.

"My goal is sort of selfish in one way," she says. "I really want to understand what the needs are of these folks, so that I can put together... a loan product that will allow these women to have credit, to borrow money, to start businesses."

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