Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant Winners Announcement

Winners of the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant:
Mindy Ousley of Canton, OH
Ashley and Dustin Beeler of Bloomington, IN

There are compassionate people everywhere such as Mindy Ousley and Ashley and Dustin Beeler, who have wonderful ideas for kindness projects and are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to carry them out, but could use help with funding their ideas. That’s where the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant comes in. We help people make the world better, one kindness at a time.

Mindy, Ashley and Dustin were chosen as winners of the Kindness Grant of $250 after reading about their wonderful act-of-kindness projects.

Mindy wrote, “Last school year, after a very tragic previous school year in which we lost 6 students in our district to suicide, I felt it in my heart to start a Kindness Club for 3rd and 4th Grade students in my building. My mission as a teacher has always been to teach my students kindness, compassion and empathy. However, with a Kindness Club, I felt I could take this passion further. I want students to know they matter, that they are loved, and most importantly that they can be a catalyst for change by loving and caring about ALL people. The club was a huge success with over 75 students signing up to participate and 10 Jr. High students volunteering to help. In our first year as a club, we touched the lives of over 3,000 children and adults through the various kindness activities we did. We meet twice per month and each month focuses on a specific topic.

One month we learned about compassion for the homeless and partnered with a local homeless shelter to make placemats with positive messages for their residents. Another month we learned about being kind to those who have illnesses and we decorated meal delivery bags for chronically ill patients served through a local charity.

This grant would be such an amazing blessing in helping me obtain the supplies I need to continue with our mission to spread kindness this upcoming school year.”

We are honored to be giving Mindy the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 in support of the Kindness Club and their mission to spread kindness and compassion throughout their community.

Ashley Beeler wrote, “My husband and I have recently started a local chapter of The Little Free Pantry and we are seeking funds to help us tackle the high demand we have found for emergency food access. So far, we have gone out of pocket to build and fill our first pantry and two local churches have joined us and built and installed their own. All three of these units are getting a lot of traffic and use. Little Free Pantry (based on the Little Free Library concept but instead of books, it’s food and toiletries) has sparked a newfound sense of community and social responsibility here in Bloomington and we want to help it keep growing. Our community has a high rate of poverty and individuals experiencing homelessness, so the LFPs have become an important resource to expand access to free and nutritious foods as well as hygiene and household items. If we receive the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant we will be able to build and install two new pantries. The first will be placed at our local Recovery Alliance to serve families impacted by addiction. The second will go into a rural community that is considered to be a “food desert” because of its high poverty rates and physical distance from resources.”

We are honored to be giving Ashley and Dustin the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 to build two Little Free Pantries. We love the philosophy of give what you can, take what you need, with neighbors helping neighbors.

Both kindness projects will make a difference in the lives of so many people, and that doesn’t just mean the people who are in need. The people who give will also be profoundly affected as doing acts of kindness can improve your health and make you feel good.

We encourage anyone with an act of kindness idea to apply for the Kindness Grant which is given out twice a year.

This award is given in honor of Matt Kurtz (1985-2017), a young man whose personal philosophy was to live an honorable, compassionate and non-judgmental life. To give for the sake of giving, to expect nothing in return, to be aware of the world around him and to step in to help others without being asked whenever he saw the need. Matt believed in the ripple effect of a simple act of kindness – like a pebble dropped in water, it goes on and on. You can find out more about how Matt lived his life, examples of his many acts of kindness, big and small, and why this grant was created on MattsKindnessRipplesOn.com.

Jackie Kurtz is a blogger who is on a mission to make the world better, one kindness at a time. When her son died tragically, she started a kindness website and blog as a tribute to him. In his 32 years he impacted more lives than most people do in a lifetime. Her favorite quote is, “Even if we disagree about everything, we can still be kind to each other.” – Matthew L. Jacobson You can connect with Jackie on her website or through email.

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