Seven People Take Kindness to the Next Level
Cynics might lament that no good deed goes unpunished, but the 2016 winners of the KIND People program know differently. Earlier this year, The KIND Foundation, a nonprofit established by the folks behind KIND Snacks, set out to find individuals making the world a better place.
“We set out to identify selfless individuals whose work is worth amplifying—to further their impact in society and to inspire all of us to bring more kindness into our lives,” says Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND and president of The KIND Foundation.
In the program’s inaugural year, they did just that. The response was so overwhelming that seven recipients—instead of the originally planned six—were selected. The top honor, a $500,000 prize, is being awarded to Doniece Sandoval, whose organization Lava Mae offers mobile, private, clean shower stalls for the homeless. The six remaining winners are each receiving a $100,000 award for their tireless efforts. According to Lubetzky, they “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.”
Below, learn more about the recipients and how they embody a special type of kindness rooted in action, courage, empathy, and transformation.
With a mission of taking “radical hospitality” to the street, Lava Mae delivers mobile hygiene services to homeless individuals in San Francisco and Los Angeles. When Sandoval encountered a homeless woman on the street who was crying that she would never be clean, a lightbulb went off. While food and clothing is essential to daily life, cleanliness is key to restoring someone’s dignity, well-being, and ability to create new opportunities. To date, Lava Mae has provided more than 15,000 mobile showers to more than 3,000 homeless guests by creatively converting public buses and trailers into private shower stalls and toilets on wheels. The organization has also inspired replication of its services around the globe, raised awareness about the lack of access to showers for homeless individuals, and innovated Pop-Up Care Villages to more comprehensively meet the needs of the homeless.
Dr. Sandy Goldberg
A breast cancer survivor herself, Goldberg has experienced firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate the health care system, even with a good amount of support. Following her own trials and tribulations, the doctor wanted to do something that would help other women obtain the education and care they might not otherwise receive. From there, A Silver Lining Foundation was born. Through the company, Goldberg brings care, education, and generosity to the underinsured and uninsured.
Growing up in an immigrant home affected by domestic violence, Ho took negative childhood experiences and channeled them into positivity and motivation to help others in similar situations. Ho, a graduate of Harvard Law School, formed the Community Activism Law Association, which brings legal services to those in need. Handling everything from divorce to immigrant cases, CALA works with individuals to provide access to legal services while also tackling community-wide issues.
“The most touching and humbling part about receiving services from this accomplished man was that I knew from the moment he greeted me that his heart was one—in the same place, at the same level—with the minorities and victims that he works with,” said a client who worked with Ho.
Jo Dee Davis
Sixteen years ago, Davis—a teacher by trade—volunteered in prison for the first time. Her experience was so powerful that she formed Healing Broken Circles, an organization that provides “space for healing and learning for those touched by the justice system.” Through a variety of programs, from yoga and meditation to Spanish lessons and theater classes, Davis creates opportunities for inmates to gain skills and find meaning inside and outside of prison.
“Jo Dee did something that everyone before her, including me, couldn’t do,” said Dan, an inmate who has benefited from her work. “She looked past the tattoos that proclaimed my rage, past my flippant facade of indifference, and past the three-yard stare one acquires after six years alone in a cell for 23 hours a day. She saw me differently and convinced me, somehow, to do the same.”
Deeply disturbed by the water crisis in her home state of Michigan, Lewis-Patrick set out to provide daily essentials to those in need. She has helped low-income families and the elderly, from Detroit to Flint, gain access to clean water—something many of us take for granted. Through her work with We the People, the organization she cofounded, Lewis-Patrick has set up emergency water stations, opened hotlines, delivered water, provided education, and conducted community research to raise awareness. Her grassroots approach coupled with a steadfast commitment to justice has inspired people of all backgrounds to come together and build communities they’re proud of.
Jodi Rae Ingstad
Ingstad doesn’t focus her compassion on just one cause but rather shares it with everyone she meets. Offering everything from her own belongings to a caring ear for those in need, Ingstad is the embodiment of a kind person. Those who know her describe her heart as “one of action,” meaning Ingstad is always taking steps to improve the lives of those around her.
While volunteering at her local food bank, Shaughnessy became aware of a problem going largely unnoticed: the lack of a food program for children during the summer, when they aren’t in school. The 75-year-old set out to form Green Lantern Lunches, a program to supply kids in need with midday meals. Initially it was funded through several U.S. Department of Agriculture grants, but Shaughnessy found herself right back where she started when that money was cut off. She has since rallied her community for support and is on track to deliver an estimated 20,000 food packages this year.
To learn more about these people and how The KIND Foundation is celebrating them, visit kinded.com/kindpeople.
This sponsored story is presented in collaboration with The KIND Foundation.