Hey sorry I missed the follow up to this. In a word, I ended up hacking the progpress plugin for WP (http://jasonpenney.net/wordpress-plugins/progpress/). I added a filter for the buddypress xtended profile that I named Goals and it showed up like a champ on the profile pages.
I then made some edits to my theme, which is more of a hack, but now progress meters show up anywhere the member loop is used, and next to the user avatar in the profile page. That said, I wanted to take it one step further and improve the ui (you basically have to load in an html comment that the plugin filters for with a regular expression). I don’t know how to do that in buddy press, but if anyone knows how to modify the UI for the extended profile such that I could take a few different form elements and concatenate them on the WAY to the db, I’d finish off my little hacking and send it back to the plugin developer to see if he liked my extensions.
Just to follow up – somewhere along the line my wp-content dir had its permissions changed. That was the issue. I’d checked the individual image files, the files dir, etc, but not wp-content. That fixed it all up for me.
I have tried using the bp-custom.php file and it hasn’t solved my problem. If I get it wrong, it some how messes up all the images on my site, including the ones that make no references to buddypress. I’ve tried all the solutions listed here. When I follow the URL to just the image, it says it can’t find it or I don’t have permissions. I’ve checked permissions and they should let me see the files there…