Announcing Matt Kurtz Kindness Award Winners for November 2022

Kindness Award Winner Colby Phillips
Kindness Award Winner Jessica Ong

Thanks again to our generous donors, we are thrilled to announce two winners of our Kindness Award, Colby Phillips and Jessica Ong. Both of them go above and beyond to help others and we’re blown away by their compassion and selflessness. Their acts of kindness have rippled out and touched the lives of so many. They’re incredible and we’re so proud to have them as part of our MKRO family.

Winners receive a certificate of appreciation and $250. We tell them kind people tend to neglect themselves, so take this money and spread kindness to themselves.  

Kindness Award Winner Colby Phillips

Colby Phillips (Berlin, MD) has been nominated three times over the last few years. That is so rare and speaks to the impact she has on the lives of other people.  

Here is what they had to say about her:

“Colby is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. She is constantly spreading and encouraging kindness not only through her social media but through her actions in the community. From helping organize events for victims of tragedy to just recently planning a Christmas celebration for a young man suffering from stage 4 cancer. She also sends thousands of letters from Santa to children and adults every Christmas sharing more goodness. I just feel she would be an amazing recipient of this award.”  – Katie C. (2022)

“Colby always helps others from those that have lost their homes to fire to her annual Christmas cards from Santa to the children and on and on. She is an inspiration for what love of others is all about.” – Neil G.  (2021)

“Colby never stops giving. She collects food and clothes for families having hard luck, writes a daily uplifting blog to support and encourage a positive outlook for women and others, and always has a smile and a hug. Over Christmas she writes letters from Santa to hundreds of area children; you just need to give her their names to be added to the list. When last year, a member of Colby’s water aerobics class lost her battle with depression and took her own life, Colby immediately launched a support group for area residents battling depression. Colby Phillips is a loving, selfless, faith-filled and awesome friend and neighbor who is truly deserving of this award.” – Amy H. (2019)

I’d like to add, that Colby lives in my community and while I don’t know her well, I hear and read about her acts of kindness all the time. From collecting kids clothes for a fixed income grandmother who sadly had to take in her grandkids, to setting up a group of volunteers to assist the elderly during covid.  There’s an old story about how she was working in a waterfront restaurant and a security guard came in screaming kids were in trouble in the water and she ran down to the water, jumped in fully clothed, and saved them. That was years ago but it’s a great story and goes to the point that Colby has been spreading kindness and impacting the lives of others her entire life.  

We’re honored to have Colby in our MKRO family.

Kindness Award Winner Jessica Ong

Jessica Ong (San Diego, CA), at 17 years of age, has already made a deep impact on the lives of so many with her kindness. Reading her nomination brought tears to our eyes. Here is what Cedric wrote about her:

I first met Jessica at the Ed Brown Senior Center. I had recently been diagnosed with mild dementia and joined the nearest book club at my doctor’s insistence. I was a bit grumpy that morning, regretting my decision to sign up. I knew people could see I had trouble remembering; judgment from others was becoming more frequent. I was waiting to discuss a book when I couldn’t remember a single character’s name!

Then Jessica came in. In this room full of wheelchairs and walking sticks, her 16-year-old self stood out. She walked straight toward me and shook my hand with both of hers, saying, “I’m Jessica, here to discuss books, and glad to meet you.”

I can’t forget that moment. It was the first time in a very long time that someone had looked at me with meaning. I had gotten used to people speaking like I wasn’t in the room, even worse when they would talk in high pitches like I was a child. She made me feel valued.

She started our book club ON HER OWN. Coming on weekends with Ubers paid by her tutoring job, she currently leads multiple book clubs throughout our city. She’s made hundreds of seniors remember that we matter. 

She does it all out of her kindness. She could buy better, teenage things but she spends it on transportation. She smiles when others criticize her book choices. She shakes all of our hands after the meetings. 

She changed my life. I know I might not remember writing this, but that doesn’t mean this writing is meaningless. She cares about myself and others. She values what I have to say. I know I am loved.”

WOW. We are honored to have Jessica in our MKRO family.  

Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness?  Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it?  Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 and let us help you spread kindness.

3 thoughts on “Announcing Matt Kurtz Kindness Award Winners for November 2022”

  1. WOW! Jessica and Colby really define what Kindness looks like! It was wonderful getting to know both of them!!

Let Me Know What You Think