When the Gifts of Kindness Fund was established at The Columbus Foundation in fall 2014, the thought was simple—to encourage kindness by lifting up people with one-time financial gifts that could help them overcome a sudden obstacle.
Larry Mann was one of those people. His sons use words like “nice,” “helping,” and “hard worker” to describe their dad. But things haven’t been easy for Larry. A single father who recently gained full custody of his three boys, he was injured on the job and fell behind on his bills while he was unable to work. He applied for a grant from the Gifts of Kindness Fund through his relationship at Goodwill Columbus, where he participated in a work experience program and was eventually hired in one of the retail stores.
“Kindness begets kindness. Witnessing an act of kindness makes one more likely to be kind.”
—Bob Walter, Founding Donor, Gifts of Kindness Fund
The grant helped cover critical costs like rent and utilities until he was back on his feet. It gave him the boost he and his family needed to remain on a path of self-sustainability.
“It helped a whole lot. If I didn’t receive that help, I would have been evicted,” Larry said. “It allowed me the opportunity to pay some of my bills, too.”
The Foundation partners with local nonprofit organizations that represent many clients in need throughout the community. Gifts of Kindness grant recipients are determined through an application process that involves both the nonprofit and Foundation staff.
Contributions to the fund have come from a number of Columbus Foundation donors who want to support the kindness movement.
“What we’re really trying to do is make the whole community kinder in different ways and hope that this catches on,” said Bob Walter, Columbus Foundation donor and founding donor of the Gifts of Kindness Fund. “I believe it has already had an impact.”
When it comes to his future, Larry is positive, but his focus isn’t on himself.
“My future revolves around the boys,” he said.