A Letter from the Founder
From a Great Loss Came Creation
January 21, 2012, my husband, Eric died – losing his battle to a rare form of kidney cancer four days after his 48th birthday. He left behind me, our 9-year-old boy/girl twins and our 18-months old baby girl. During the last month of his life, Eric recorded videos for our children.
“As you go through life, you’ll realize that words, words can hurt people. Be nice to others, and more will come back to you in the form of niceness.”
Watching “Words Hurt” was life changing. My mission, to make people go outside of their comfort zone and interact with strangers in a way we’ve lost sight of in the modern, over-connected, over-sharing world. I started a company called Gift it Forward, Inc. The handmade rag bracelets were made to be shared, with one kept and the other given away for no other reason than to be nice to someone on purpose. This a practical application of our mission statement, “Encouraging people to do random acts of kindness in a purposeful way.”
Finding My Mission
Though Gift it Forward, Inc. was successful and growing, I felt unfulfilled. I was nothing more than a manufacturer and the real message was lost. After one year, I closed the business.
After struggling for three years trying to figure out what Gift it Forward, Inc., was missing that I had my ‘aha’ moment. It was early 2015, during an ordinary conversation at home with my partner Michael we had this conversation. “There are so many different movements around, and of course they’re important to those that belong to them, but doesn’t it seem like we are in an “us versus them” world? How can we understand what any of these movements are about if we’re not willing to have conversations with people with the purpose of gaining an understanding of the other person’s perspective? All these groups matter but doesn’t “being nice matter”? If we can’t come from a private place of being nice, then we will continue to be divided and never be able to show compassion to those whose struggles are different.
The Re-Birth of Gift it Forward, Inc.
Soon, Gift it Forward, Inc. was back but as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization. Our slogan changed to #BeingNiceMatters, and our mission became “Give people of the world the tools they need to fight and win the war against hate.”
The core values of Gift it Forward, Inc. haven’t changed.
If anything, our original mission has become more urgent. Every day, it seems, we’re being pushed to extremes as people stop communicating with each other due to the dehumanizing influence of online discussion. We feel that by being nice to each other in a compassionate, selfless way that we can bring back the spirit of civil debate that people now remember wistfully.
While this should be a very simple concept, it’s been our experience that it is NOT easy for most to be actively nice to others in real life and on purpose.
To Unite We Must Be Nice
Bringing the #BeingNiceMatters mission to the public is an exhausting experience. It involves not only my personal grief but that of my children. From the day I uttered the words being nice matters up to and including today feels like a lifetime.
I’m involved in all aspects of creating and managing Gift it Forward, and I feel an enormous responsibility to do it right for our children’s sake.
I cannot sit by and allow my children or any other children to grow up in a society where the division of people is acceptable. Guess what happened next? You got it, a new mission was born.
Everything we do as a company will revolve around this six-word statement.
TO UNITE WE MUST BE NICE!
From the bottom of my heart I am so grateful to you for all you’ve done and continue to do to support the #BeingNiceMatters movement.
We would not be making a difference without you.