UC Berkeley Professor To Award $1,000 Each Month For Act Of Kindness

October 12, 2022

A professor at UC Berkeley has launched an initiative aimed at promoting, celebrating, and rewarding acts of kindness in his community.

professor gifts student 1k for act of kindness
Alan Ross / chriskindnessaward.org

Professor Alan Ross has named it the "Chris Kindness Award" and recognizes one person every month for their kindness.

That person is then rewarded with a $1,000 prize.

Ross named the award after Chris Walton, the greatest teacher he had ever known. Walton was a pre-school teacher at the Berkeley JCC pre-school and had recently passed away. He taught Ross' children and was someone "who believed in the power of kindness and practiced it every day."

professor gifts student 1k for act of kindness
Chris Walton / chriskindnessaward.org

"Chris may not have reduced the carbon footprint of a Fortune 500 company or changed the labor practices in factories halfway around the world," Ross shared, "but he taught my children to care for the earth through the school's small garden, or about life cycles by caring for caterpillars until their release as a butterfly, and how to play with each other patiently and respectfully. The effect he had on the community is undeniable and will be sorely missed."


How it works

A person is nominated for their act of kindness.

"Maybe someone on your block helped a neighbor while they were ill. Did someone help locate a lost pet, return a lost wallet? Do you know a nurse, a delivery person, a teacher - who went above and beyond what their job requires?" the website says.

At the end of each month, the community votes for their favorite act of kindness. And in an effort to inspire others to engage in acts of kindness, the winner's story will be featured on the Chris Kindness Award's website and social media platforms.

Right now, Ross is focused on nominees that either work or reside within the City of Berkeley. But he hopes the idea will catch on in surrounding cities and others might adopt the kindness campaign.

"We believe kindness can change the world around us," project leaders stressed, as Ross added, "These awards will deepen our appreciation for acts of kindness in our community. Chris would have loved it."

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