By Kathleen McCarthy
The courageous act of kindness makes for a healthy snack and a better world
Daniel Lubetzky is a serial entrepreneur best known as the Founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks.
I encountered his book, Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately, through an act of philanthropic kindness. Each November, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation holds its Annual Community Gathering, and this past year Mr. Lubetzky was the keynote speaker. The event brings together hundreds of individuals from communities near and far to celebrate their year in philanthropy, creating an authentic space for conversations between grant funders and grant seekers.
While admittedly the book, which was distributed at the event as another act of kindness, sat on my shelf for some time, it constantly caught my eye with its bright colors and its silently bolded refrain to “do the kind thing”. So, at a time when I began to question the presence of kindness in our world, I reached for the book.
It can be easy to think of the field of philanthropy as being naturally imbued with kindness, empathy and authenticity. While that may be truer than the field of commerce, it does not come without effort and it cannot flourish without intentional “care and feeding”. Emphasis on inflexible outcomes or the imbalance of power between funder and funded may be perceived as un-kindly and may even obscure opportunities and stifle audacious ideas that could lead to greater impact. Lubetzky challenges us to not approach our work or our lives from an “or” philosophy but rather one of “and”.
Do the KIND Thing makes clear that acts of kindness, whether in the personal or business context, should never be viewed from an “or” philosophy or seen as an act of weakness, but rather an act of courage. Bringing a philosophy of kindness and empathy to our work in philanthropy can enhance collaboration, build bridges between communities and create real solutions to what often appear to be insurmountable challenges. To get to that transformational place however, we must put ourselves, and our beliefs, out there in ways that may be uncomfortable.
Although the book is filled with stories tied specifically to the building of the KIND brand, it is a fascinating and heartening reporting on how kindness can build a brand and transform the world. It left me thankful for the many kind acts I witness every day in my work with grantees and thinking of ways to use the “and” philosophy to keep the conversations started last November at the Weinberg Annual Gathering moving forward.