top of page

Act of Kindness: $1,000 Monthly Award

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

UC Berkeley professor Alan Ross
Alan Ross |

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."

"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."

For the monthly Chris Kindness Award, people nominate others 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.

Chris Walton teaching a child
Chris Walton |

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. As the website says: No act of kindness is too small – even everyday acts can have ripple effects that are just as impactful as huge acts of kindness. We believe kindness can change the world around us and we hope to inspire you to spread it throughout Berkeley and beyond!

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.



bottom of page