In 2014, a Columbus Foundation donor approached the Foundation with an idea—to establish a fund that provides one-time grants to help lift up individuals and families who experience an unexpected setback.
The Gifts of Kindness Fund was established in September 2014, with a generous gift of $500,000 from that compassionate donor. The goal is not only to provide financial support, but to illustrate how acts of kindness throughout our community make a difference—and inspire others to do the same.
“We were inspired to create the Gifts of Kindness Fund for two reasons: to provide meaningful, one-time, life-changing gifts to help lift people up during a setback, and to motivate others to participate in acts of kindness as well.”
—Gifts of Kindness Founding Donor
The Foundation is partnering with 13 local nonprofit organizations that represent many clients in need throughout the community. Participating nonprofits apply for a Gifts of Kindness grant on behalf of clients who are currently served by one of their programs. The average grant in 2014 was $1,784. These grants have taken many forms since the fund started—including support for rent, car repairs, or to keep the lights on.
The effort was also created to encourage the central Ohio community to give kindness in any way that one is able, including kind acts to others or volunteering. From its inception through December 31, 2014, the Gifts of Kindness Fund awarded more than 100 grants, totaling over $182,000. Anyone can give to the Gifts of Kindness Fund through PowerPhilanthropy,® the Foundation’s online marketplace.
Gifts of Kindness Grant Examples:
A 54-year-old woman raising her two grandsons was unable to work while undergoing treatment for cancer. Assistance from the Gifts of Kindness Fund enabled them to maintain their housing until she was able to return to work.
A pregnant single mom on unpaid maternity leave with a six-year-old son was given rental assistance through Gifts of Kindness because she had to use her savings to contest a utility account that was fraudulently opened in her name.
A man with cancer lost his employment during treatment. After he and his significant other depleted their savings, they were finding it difficult to make ends meet. He went through loan modification for his mortgage to decrease his monthly expenses and applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). A Gift of Kindness grant helped fill his income gap until he started receiving SSDI.
Gifts of Kindness Nonprofit Partners as of 12/31/14
- Catholic Social Services
- Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center
- Columbus Area Integrated Health Services
- Goodwill Columbus
- The Homeless Families Foundation
- LifeCare Alliance
- Lutheran Social Services
- OSU Extension-University District
- The Salvation Army
- Volunteers of America
- YWCA Columbus