The Ashton Goodman Fund

On the morning of May 26th, 2009, a roadside bomb in Afghanistan killed twenty-one year old US Air Force Senior Airman Ashton Lynn Marie Goodman. She had been serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Panjshir Province; first, as a vehicles operator and later, on Women’s Affairs. In meeting the women of Panjshir Province, she had been quick to praise their intelligence and courage, and to advocate passionately for their education and increased roles in leadership. Days before her death, she had asked to stay on in Panjshir, as she felt she was making a difference, “with words, not weapons.” 

Professor Melissa Pritchard of Arizona State University, an award-winning writer and teacher, met Ashton when she traveled to Panjshir Province as a reporter in January 2009. After Ashton’s death, Pritchard  established AWWP’s Ashton Goodman Fund to transform the tragedy of Ashton’s death into an enduring  tribute to her brave spirit and an act of hope and support for the women of Afghanistan.

“I believe Ashton would be humbled and delighted to support the goals of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project,” says Pritchard. “These were ideals she also believed in: the power of shared stories and the  inherent right of Afghan women to literacy, education, and positions of leadership in society.”

Read more about Ashton’s life in Pritchard’s May 2010 issue of “O”, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, and click  below to donate to AWWP to support Afghan women who fight “with words, not weapons.”


photo credit: U.S. Air Force Capt. Stacie N. Shafran


  1. What a wonderful project and tribute. Thank you, Melissa, for making this possible and I am happy to give a donation. Best wishes for this worthy cause– Elizabeth

  2. Wonderful, Melissa! I am thrilled your persistence and vision for honoring Ashton has resulted in this worthwhile cause. I, too, am happy to offer a donation and wish you much success with this important initiative.


  3. Carrie Southern says:

    It’s official! Melissa! Ashton is still giving! Again, she would be very proud and honored. I will be making a donation to this forever giving cause. Your heart and works will not be forgotten. It sounds like your colleagues are to be acknowledged, also. Best wishes to each of you!

  4. Pam DePass says:

    I am glad to see Ashton’s dreams coming to fruition. Thank you Melissa for making this grant possible! I know Ashton would be ecstatic, honored, and grateful! Now, I can send out my letters to potential donors! I can’t wait to hear of the grant’s success!

  5. Thank you, everybody!!! Much love, Melissa

  6. David Nielsen says:

    Ashton would be happy knowing that she can still help other people and make a better future for someone’s life. I was with her on the team in Panjshir. Thank you for keeping her memory alive and helping all that you can, she would have liked to see this happen.

  7. David, thank you so much for your message…and for your words of encouragement.

  8. Hey Pam, you did an absolutely amazing job, in such a short time, of raising funds for Ashton’s Grant – thank you so much, think of all the Afghan women this will give hope and help to – and think how happy this must make Ashton! xx melissa

  9. Kudos to the brave Afghan women writers. And what a wonderful tribute to Ashton, a soldier and humanitarian. As a peace-seeker married to an American soldier, I write about bridging cultural, philosophical and political differences. I’ve found that through deep curiosity and mutual understanding and respect, differences can become – not the seeds of conflict – but the basis of intimacy and transformation. AAWP has my great admiration and best wishes (plus I am sending a check.) Thank you for this project!

  10. Melissa Pritchard says:

    Dear Sophia,

    Thank you for your beautiful note of support and compassion…someone who understands the crucial importance of bridges being build, crossing differences into understanding…and thank you, too, for sending a check to The Ashton Goodman Fund – I know Ashton would be so happy, her spirit lives on through the AWWP…thank you! Melissa Pritchard

  11. Dr Zahid Khan says:

    I offer my condolences to you and her family for her tragic death while serving in our home land firstly. Secondly, I am really thankful to USA and you guys for helping our motherland not only militarily but also economically, educationally and so on as the list is never ending. We are really thankful to USA for her help. Kindly if you can let me know if you are running any educational campaign/Program for Afghan females as well as I want to donate for that.

    Kind regards,

    Dr Zahid Khan


  1. […] and Pritchard began corresponding. Prtichard had started the Ashton Goodman Fund to support writing and theater programs for Afghan women — something Pritchard says she knew […]

  2. […] and Pritchard began corresponding. Prtichard had started the Ashton Goodman Fund to support writing and theater programs for Afghan women — something Pritchard says she knew […]

  3. […] a digital voice recorder, a video camera—all donated through the Ashton Goodman Foundation—a small library with books both in English and in Dari, a tall metal filing […]

  4. […] Faculty Achievement Teaching Award! Melissa is the author of The Odditorium and the founder of the Ashton Goodman Fund to support the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP), an award-winning online mentoring program […]

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