Today, The KIND Foundation – a 501c3 started by KIND Healthy Snacks – announces the winners of its philanthropic program, KIND People, and launches a storytelling series that aims to reveal the transformative power of kindness. Through the program, the Foundation is awarding $1.1MM to seven people who are championing inclusivity and serving as beacons of empathy in communities nationwide.
The KIND People winners are addressing a range of societal issues – from infusing humanity and healing into Ohio’s prison system to providing clean water to Michigan families. Every day, these exemplars are working to ensure that all people – even the least understood and the most vulnerable – experience touches of humanity and have the opportunity to improve their lives.
“These remarkable human beings capture the spirit we need to elevate and the values that make America great, including kindness, respect and the conviction that we can make a positive difference in each other’s lives,” says Daniel Lubetzky, Founder & CEO of KIND and President of The KIND Foundation. “Most notably, these KIND People show us how to take steps toward understanding those who seem different, but deep down share our humanity.”
Since the program’s kickoff last January, nearly 5,000 stories of unsung heroes were submitted. Dana Rosenberg, Director of The KIND Foundation, says, “The response to the program reaffirmed our belief that good work is being done every day, and the extraordinary people leading this work deserve recognition and support. By showcasing their stories, we hope to encourage people everywhere to discover the kindness inside of themselves and take action in their own lives.”
Six KIND People winners will receive a $100,000 prize, and one grand prize winner, Doniece Sandoval, will receive a $500,000 prize. Sandoval’s organization, Lava Mae, stemmed from an idea that many thought was impossible — turning retired transportation buses into showers and toilets on wheels. Her pioneering approach has prompted advocates across the globe to devise innovative solutions to homelessness.
Unlike other programs, each KIND People awardee is given full discretion on how to deploy the funds, meaning they could use some or all for personal needs or interests. Sandoval, however, is allocating 100% of her prize to scaling Lava Mae’s services, launching an open source toolkit so that other communities can follow suit, and innovating new pilot programs. She says, "Since Lava Mae began, we've received more than 1,200 requests to replicate our services from across the U.S. and around the world. Now, with The KIND Foundation's support, we'll be able to help cities everywhere deliver hygiene and dignity for their homeless neighbors."
Over the coming weeks, KIND and The KIND Foundation – in partnership with SoulPancake, TakePart, and GOOD – will spotlight the winners through inspiring videos and profiles that will unpack their kindness. To learn more, visit kinded.com/kindpeople.