In the worldwide effort to save lives and stay connected during the pandemic, kindness often prevailed. Together, we witnessed neighbors helping neighbors with people and communities banding together to collect donations or simply share words of encouragement.
Now, as we continue to grapple with the impact of the pandemic and the unjust systems it exacerbated and exposed, we have an opportunity to reimagine our lives and our communities. How can we emerge from this global reset as a kinder, more compassionate world that respects and honors the humanity of one another?
The Foundation first named “kindness” a priority in 2014 when an anonymous donor established the Gifts of Kindness Fund. As of July 14, 2021, $3,777,578 have been deployed from the fund to assist Franklin County residents experiencing an unexpected setback and prevent one difficult moment from limiting a lifetime of opportunities. These one-time grants, administered in partnership with 38 local nonprofits, are safety nets to help keep individuals and families in their homes or provide them with reliable transportation and life-saving medical supplies.
Drawing on the success of the Gifts of Kindness Fund and the robust science behind the transformative power of kindness and social connection, the Foundation has deepened its commitment to advocating for and spreading kindness – the universal value to care for one another – in our region and beyond.
In May 2021, the Foundation created the Center for HumanKindness to cultivate a culture of kindness and the many forms it can take for the benefit of all. The Foundation’s interest in kindness goes beyond niceness or politeness. To paraphrase Ayisha Elliott, niceness is the pursuit of comfort whereas kindness is confronting challenges and leaning into discomfort. With commitment and practice, demonstrating true kindness to others and ourselves will positively shift mindsets, strengthen our connectivity, and foster a sense of belonging, helping our communities to flourish.
We’re all born with the ability to be kind and—like any skill—kindness can be strengthened and improved with practice. Accessible to all in an endless supply, kindness is for everyone. Together, we can spread kindness and make it contagious within our communities!
We invite you to join us on the kindness journey to grow our knowledge, serve others, and give to those in need. Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter to connect with new kindness topics each month and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for inspiration on your kindness journey.
Photo credit: "To be kind is to be strong" mural created by Thom Glick for the Short North Arts District Summer Spray Series.