It is cool to be kind. When alumnus Don Tolly ’87 opened his American Family Insurance office in St. Joseph, MO, he embraced the Kindness Revolution that was started by Ed Horrell in 2007. Through his book of the same name, Horrell encourages business owners to, “Live it. See it. Pay it Forward,” all through the lens of kindness. Tolly reaches out to members of his community and gives them an award of appreciation for good deeds and shared that most people are surprised when they receive a reward for being kind. He hopes each recipient will pay it forward and keep the Kindness Revolution moving.
When questioned about his time as a Wildcat, Tolly reflected that, “So much learning took place on ‘the Hill,’ even the learning of giving back and being a positive role model in our communities. Spreading kindness is just one way of giving back and making a difference, no matter where you live.” In addition to participating in the Kindness Revolution, Don also organizes a blood drive each year in honor of his twin sister Donna Blackwell, who died of cancer in March of 2016. He is also a business partner who supports Project Safe Family in St. Joseph, Mo., which focuses on raising awareness about crime prevention, suicide prevention, child safety and human trafficking, drug and alcohol awareness, bullying and cyber-bullying. Don became involved in the project in response to a personal crisis where one of his family members was a victim of bullying.
“We can all be a part of the Kindness Revolution. You don’t need to join an organization; you can just be kind and keep others in mind. But, if you own your own business, it sets you apart from competing firms,” shared Don. “Kindness is cool.”