When I was a little girl growing up in the rural mountains of northeastern Arizona, we lived in a small tight-knit community, the kind of place where everyone left their doors unlocked. During the summer, us children would roam the woods with our friends — only to return home once the mountain dusk settled in. Every once in a while, a large bear would be spotted roaming the woods foraging for food. Immediately, the adults would spring into action initiating a phone tree from house to house alerting everyone of the danger. Usually, the parent closest to the unwieldy children would round us up and give us cookies and milk until danger had passed. Out in the mountains, all you have to rely on is each other, and our community was better for it.
As I grew up, I left that small town and spent most of my adult life in big cities. But, I’ve always missed that sense of community and the idea that I could rely on my neighbors if I ever needed anything.
Today, it doesn’t seem like we can rely on much of anything. The world somehow seems scarier — rising inflation, a lingering global pandemic, and lack of faith in our government can make it feel like we are each on our own. Social issues seem intractable and bigger than us. For all the good intentions of private philanthropists, so often they seem out of touch with the needs of everyday people or more driven by their preferred agenda. In a moment like this, I remember that we can’t do it alone, we must rely on each other if we are going to rebuild our communities.
That’s why we are launching the Nextdoor Kind Foundation.
We are a different kind of charitable organization, one that doesn’t rely on top-down solutions, but rather seeks to empower individuals, small businesses, and community organizations on the frontlines to solve issues in their own neighborhoods and to help us rely on each other.
The Nextdoor Kind Foundation believes when many are struggling with daily expenses, that we all have a responsibility as good neighbors to raise our hands to help. For this reason, we are focused on microgrants to individuals, nonprofits, and small businesses to support neighborhoods at the hyper-local level. We believe small gifts can inspire and empower new leaders across the country, and the world, to deepen our connections to each other and inspire kinder communities.
We want to work with people who are lifting up their own neighborhoods — the scrappy, the persistent, the hidden doers. We believe good ideas start at the grassroots level. People know their own neighborhoods better than anyone else and, with a little help, are well-positioned to be a force for positive change in communities.
Our hope is that these microgrants light a spark within recipients to drive change in their community and inspire similar efforts in communities around the world — ultimately creating a movement of kindness rising.
To start, we are launching the Keep It Local Business Fund in partnership with the NAACP and Hello Alice. Experienced partners like the NAACP and Hello Alice bring deep expertise to reaching small businesses owned by people of color that historically have less access to capital. The Keep It Local Business Fund will offer $5,000 microgrants to entrepreneurs of color who make substantive contributions to their community. In the coming years, we will expand our programming to give microgrants to small nonprofits and individuals making a big difference in their neighborhoods.
By partnering with Nextdoor to harness the power of the platform, we are uniquely positioned to galvanize civic engagement at scale — from matching neighborhood volunteers with their local food bank to helping to supercharge fundraising efforts for nonprofits with small gifts.
We look forward to working with you!
Learn more about the Nextdoor Kind Foundation here.
To connect with your local neighborhood, download the app or login at nextdoor.com.