January 20, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mike Riordam
JENNIFER RIORDAN FOUNDATION KICKS OFF 2020 KINDNESS TOUR
Multi-state tour will spread kindness to cities across America.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- An Albuquerque foundation established to recognize, support, and create acts of kindness is setting off across the US to spark kindness to celebrate the people who spread kindness throughout their own cities.
The Kindness Tour was inspired by Michael and Jan Riordan, the husband and sister-in-law of the late Jennifer Riordan, who tragically lost her life aboard Southwest Airlines flight 1380 on April 17, 2018. A foundation has since been established to continue Jennifer’s philanthropic enthusiasm and to support organizations that share her core values to always be kind, loving, caring, and sharing.
On the Spark Kindness Tour, the Foundation will visit non-profit organizations whose missions align with the ABC’s of Kindness: to Act kind, Be kind, and C kind. “Our vision is to live in a world where everyone has the courage and humanity to be kind, loving, caring and sharing,” said Michael. “We’ve been able to support some amazing organizations in our community, and now we’re ready to take this show on the road, and to spread kindness across the country.”
The tour will being May 10th with a special Kindness Day at Isostopes Park in Albuquerque, NM with stops in Amarillo, TX; Springfield, MO; Indianapolis, IN; Richmond, IN; Columbus, OH; Cleveland, OH; Buffalo, NY; and finishing in Colchester, VA with awarding the inaugural Kindness Scholarship on June 12th. The Foundation is interested in hearing from any community groups or outstanding individuals who exemplify kindness and would like to be part of the Kindness Tour. “I’m so glad for this opportunity to connect with so many people who are committed to making their communities a better place”, said Jan, who will be leading the tour. “It really doesn’t take much. Even these simple acts of kindness make a difference.”
The tour kicked off in December during the 2019 Student Athletes Day of Kindness, where college athletes spread kindness to the children of a local New Mexico children’s hospital and elementary school by gifting each of them their very own Kindness Bears, created in partnership with the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. Over the past year, the Foundation has developed an app that allows users to log acts of kindness, and has donated more than $50,000 in grants to local nonprofits in Albuquerque.
The Jennifer Riordan Foundation is established as a nonprofit 501c3. The Foundation focuses on four community pillars close to Jennifer’s heart: financial literacy, women’s empowerment, community vitality and childhood education. For more information on the Jennifer Riordan Foundation, please visit:
The Jennifer Riordan Foundation is supported by The Jennifer Riordan Sparkle Fund, an advisory fund under the Albuquerque Community Foundation (ACF), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in Albuquerque in 1981.
The Jennifer Riordan Foundation supports causes under 4 pillars: community vitality, financial literacy, childhood education, and women’s empowerment.
In the last year, the Jennifer Riordan Foundation has donated $50,000 to seven Albuquerque nonprofits:
Junior Achievement ($10,000) for middle school programming.
Working Classroom ($10,000) for “Spark Kindness” murals developed and painted by local artists and youth to promote and celebrate goodness in Albuquerque.
Barrett Foundation ($10,000) to help women and children gain stable housing.
Crossroads for Women ($5,000) for a scholarship supporting formerly incarcerated women to obtain educational and vocational skills.
Family Advocacy Center ($5,000) for a partnership between the Family Advocacy Center, Deep Dive Coding and NM Legal Aid to provide women survivors of abuse with coding skills.
Galloping Grace Youth Ranch ($9,000) “Sparkle Tent” to encourage acts of kindness among junior leaders during their annual Pumpkin Patch event.
Annunciation Catholic School ($1,000) for water bottle fillers to promote sustainable water sources.
In 2018, the Foundation challenged Albuquerque schools to use the Spark Kindness app by encouraging users to share acts of kindness they witness or are a part of. More than 480 acts of kindness have been logged, and five classrooms each won $5,000 grants for logging the most acts of kindness.
In 2019, Annemarie Ciepiela Henton became the first recipient of Business First’s newly created Jennifer Riordan Woman of Influence Community Impact Award.
The Kind, Loving, Caring and Sharing hot air balloon made its debut flight during the 2019 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
The Foundation has completed one of four Kindness Murals on the walls of local business partners in Albuquerque. The remaining three will be completed in 2020.
The Albuquerque Regional Sports Complex was renamed The Jennifer Riordan Spark Kindness Sports Complex in 2019.