Commentary and conversations about life in Richmond, Indiana


Giving away money to encourage acts of kindness

Updated August 4, 2019: This project has been retired.

I keep a growing list of things I’d like to do to steer Richmond toward an even better version of itself. Some are practical and strategic, others more whimsical and fun. When I was a bit younger and had fewer responsibilities, I was able to act on my ideas more frequently. These days I tend to add to the list more often than I check things off.

Philanthropic giving is one way I “stay involved” even when I’m too busy to do as much directly myself as I have in the past. I like supporting other people who bring their own ideas for community improvement out in the open and act on them. And lately I’ve been thinking about how to provide some balance to all of the meanness, selfishness and conflict that pervades public life our country.

So today I’m launching an experiment that I hope will encourage people to bring their best ideas to the table, and act on them. And not just any kind of community improvement ideas; I’m looking to spark new and creative acts of kindness for the simple sake of spreading kindness itself.

I’ve set aside some funds that I’ll give to people who plan and carry out acts of kindness in Richmond, Indiana. Each month I’ll pick one idea for funding that stands out above the rest. Maybe it’s gathering a bunch of volunteers to clean up a park. Maybe it’s getting food, entertainment or good company to folks who need some happy news in their lives. Maybe it’s helping strangers on the street enjoy each other and the world around them in a fun new way for a few minutes.

Maybe – hopefully! – it’s something I haven’t thought of yet.

I’m starting out with $250 available for distributing to one selected idea in April 2018, and then again in May 2018, and then again until we have too much kindness going around. If others end up contributing to this project then maybe the pool of funds will grow for the idea selected in future months, but if not that’s fine too.

You can see all of the details and submit your ideas at the project website, KIND.ARMY. You can also sign up to volunteer for acts of kindness that other people organize.

It’s a little weird, I know. Even the name is strange, but I liked the website address. Constructive feedback and suggestions are welcome. And maybe we’ll find out money isn’t a limiting factor in spreading kindness here. Like I said, it’s an experiment, and I’d like to try it out to see what happens.

I hope you’ll spread the word, and maybe some kindness along the way.


  1. I’ll contribute to kindness. Share the ideas and I’ll pick one I like too!

  2. Susan isaacs

    This is so awesome! Maybe I can help too…

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