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Kindness Matters at Otterbein launched in 2017 with the support of The Columbus Foundation’s initiative Kind Columbus.

Kind Columbus

Creating A Community That Thrives On Kindness

The Columbus Foundation’s Kind Columbus initiative inspired thousands throughout central Ohio to cultivate kindness in 2017.

In February, the Foundation teamed up with Besa and other partners for Columbus Kindness Month—culminating in more than 10,000 acts of kindness and generating more than $100,000 toward the kindness movement.

Another positive example of the kindness culture alive and well in our community in 2017 was the launch of Kindness Matters at Otterbein University.

Otterbein’s Kindness Matters initiative, made possible with support from Kind Columbus, gives students and faculty on its Westerville campus opportunities to showcase kindness in their everyday lives—and encourages others to make an effort to practice kindness.

As one of the lead universities in this regional kindness effort, Otterbein’s pledge is that its students, alumni, donors, friends, and employees will help realize gifts and acts of kindness that make a difference.

The campus community has shown kindness through efforts big and small.

At its annual Welcome Week “President’s Convocation,” more than 300 plants featuring messages of kindness were given to faculty and staff—with a request to give the kindness away to another colleague, acquaintance, or neighbor. The kindness rippled from the start because a local greenhouse owner and alumnus donated the flowers.

The kindness continued through Welcome Week as incoming, first-year Otterbein students received hand-written notes from members of six different Westerville church congregations to personally welcome the students to their new community.

“I remember feeling very welcomed and encouraged by the kind and meaningful notes we received. It meant so much to me that people took time to write to people they had never met. Their kind words even encouraged me and many others to carry out our own acts of kindness throughout the year.”

— Megan Rumbalski, Otterbein University, Class of 2021

Many other kindness-centered events and programs have occurred since Kindness Matters launched in spring 2017. From letters to veterans and kindness bookmarks to hosting a student- organized penny war to raise money for a memorial scholarship fund and a pop-up burrito drive to support food pantry donations, Otterbein’s focus on elevating and encouraging kindness is an inspiration to the entire central Ohio community.

A Kindness Think Tank, held at Otterbein in October, brought together high school and college students, Otterbein employees, and community members for sessions that revolved around kindness in classrooms, neighborhoods, and how to harness kindness for the good of others.

“Otterbein is an institution where our students actually talk about kindness, are proud that their institution celebrates kindness, and understand that it’s part of our identity, our character, and our DNA. Compassion, servant leadership, and an outward-focused commitment to others are traits woven into Otterbein’s moral fabric,” said Kathy A. Krendl, Ph.D., Otterbein President Emerita.


The mission of Kind Columbus, an initiative of The Columbus Foundation, is to build community through the power of unconditional acts of kindness. By amplifying and enabling empathetic and compassionate actions, Kind Columbus will create a ripple effect of kindness that continuously inspires and fuels community members to do more good for each other and the community at large.

To learn more about Kind Columbus, the terrific acts of Kindness happening in central Ohio, and how you can become involved with the Kindness movement, follow along on Facebook at Kind Columbus.