Carolina Alban-Stoughton
Director of Communication & Engagement
Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce

Every year in January, kindness takes over the world for a full week as kids from more than 110 different countries celebrate The Great Kindness Challenge. This initiative, which started in three Carlsbad schools (Jefferson Elementary, Hope Elementary and Kelly Elementary) back in 2012, is now ready to grow even more. “With the Kindness Certified program being so well received in the education sector, we decided to extend the program to the business sector, expanding the impact of kindness on our entire community,” says Jill McManigal, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Kids for Peace – the organization behind The Great Kindness Challenge. “With our schools, families, community and government partners already driving this kindness movement, we are now thrilled to formally invite, engage and recognize businesses through the Kindness Certified Company program.”

As the concept of a kindness program for businesses took off, McManigal, together with Program Director at Kids For Peace, Asia Moore, knew that they would need a strong ally in the community to get them started. That’s when they reached out to the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. “As a proud nonprofit member of The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, we are very excited to partner to extend the kindness movement to our local business community,” says Moore, adding that “thanks to the Chamber’s experience and leadership, we will be able to jointly provide benefits and opportunities that businesses desire and that truly bring value to our business community.”

“Companies are looking for additional ways to support our community, especially in light of this difficult year,” says President and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, Bret Schanzenbach. “As inclusivity, diversity and equity become more and more important in a company’s culture, we knew this partnership could provide the opportunity for organizations to act on those values by signing up.”

Jill McManigal and Asia Moore at the 2021 Green Business Expo, soft launching Kids For Peace’s Kindness Certified Company program.

Becoming a Kindness Certified Company

“A Kindness Certified Company is good to their people, community, planet and world,” says McManigal. “To become Kindness Certified, companies commit to upholding a set of values and aspirations with the goal of having a positive impact on their employees, community and the environment. For example, Kindness Certified Companies support the community by volunteering for at least one community service project a year and donating to a nonprofit organization serving our Carlsbad community. Overall, the commitment is aspirational and allows businesses to either start considering their social and environmental impact, advance it and receive well-deserved recognition for it.”

The program resonated immediately with Coldwell Banker Realty realtor Cheryl Collins, who signed up during the program’s soft launch at the Green Business Expo (which took place in April at the Flower Fields). “I signed up at the Expo because timing is everything! Right place at the right time!” says Collins, enthusiastically. For her, being associated with a kindness program was extremely important, personally and for her business. “Realtors can get a reputation for not being kind. I strive to change this thought process one client at a time. Kindness, ethics and fiduciary duty to my clients are the backbone of my business.”

Target River CEO Brian Epperson, also signed up at the Green Business Expo. “I was previously aware of Kids for Peace and their work. I came upon their booth at the Green Business Expo, where they were promoting the Kindness Certified Company program.” After a short conversation with McManigal and Moore, he was hooked. “As an organization, we are proponents of giving back and serving in our community as well as spreading kindness internally and externally with our clients. This was a natural fit to enroll!” He hopes this commitment will help him create an even better working environment. “Our expectation is simply that our involvement will help positively impact our interaction among our team members as well as those we work with and serve.”

McManigal and Moore believe that becoming Kindness Certified is a wonderful way for companies to formalize their commitment to kindness, build credibility and gain recognition. “Today, people buy, invest in or decide to work for companies based on their shared beliefs and values. Who wouldn’t want to work for a Kindness Certified Company?,” says McManigal. Moore says the benefits of joining the program go even further. “Kindness Certified Companies will join a community of like-minded companies and receive newsletters with helpful resources and employee engagement opportunities. They will also be invited to an annual community-wide service project, our annual Great Kindness Challenge and much more.”

For more information about the program and how to join, register for our official Kindness Certified Company official Virtual Launch Celebration on Thursday, May 13 at 4pm. Can’t wait for the 13 or can’t attend the event? You can also visit