The KIND Foundation – a 501(c)3 charity started by KIND Healthy Snacks – has named the winners of its philanthropic program, KIND People. 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 and 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 percent 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.”
In addition to Sandoval, the Foundation will award the following people:
Jo Dee Davis
When Davis started volunteering at an Ohio prison 16 years ago, she never imagined it would become her community. Her organization, Healing Broken Circles, helps bring the voice of those affected into the conversation about incarceration, and its programs create a place for learning and self-discovery so that inmates can start life anew – inside and outside of prison.
An advocate for the underserved, Ho has dedicated his life to ensuring that people understand their rights and gain access to the legal services they deserve. He works 100 hours per week at Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA), bringing energy, purpose, and personal experience to his clients’ cases so that he can fight alongside them and make their voices heard.
Lewis-Patrick’s sense of justice and belief in her ability to enact change has united a community in the fight for water rights. It started after she learned that Detroit had cut off the water of a building occupied by mothers and senior citizens. She co-founded We the People of Detroit, a grassroots organization that gives low-income families access to water; provides education on water issues; and mobilizes people to take action.
After beating breast cancer, Goldberg started A Silver Lining Foundation to help others access the resources once at her disposal. Today, she provides funding for the entire spectrum of breast health testing (screenings through biopsy) as well as educational workshops to uninsured and underinsured women. Her ability to merge humanity with healthcare puts thousands of patients at ease.
75-year-old Shaughnessy, nicknamed “the lunch lady,” is an unstoppable force, feeding and uniting a community. Her tireless energy and generous spirit will help deliver an estimated 20,000 food packages this year to families in Copalis Beach, Washington, and surrounding areas. She not only delivers nutrition, but also gives hundreds of families something – and someone – to rely on every week.
Jodi Rae Ingstad
Known as a “joyologist,” Ingstad’s commitment to kindness extends past her day job at an elderly home. Whether materially or emotionally, she selflessly serves North Dakota’s most vulnerable – including the homeless, elderly, and families in need. Those whose lives she has touched describe her heart as one of action.