Salisbury in competition for World Kindness award

Grace Foxwell Murdock introduces Michael Lloyd-White, Chief Adviser to the Board of World Kindness USA, to a group of local of dignitaries at Acorn Market on Tuesday.

The city of Salisbury is well on its way to being designated as a World Kindness USA City, the first in the nation.

This week, the Salisbury City Council signed a Resolution of Intention and named Grace Foxwell Murdock, known as The Kindness Lady in town, as Salisbury’s Secretary of Kindness.

“We are meeting the 10 Kindness Performance Indicators for our submission to become a World Kindness USA City. I think we’re going to be on the fast track, but the Board of World Kindness USA only meets at certain times. It could be in 2019,” Murdock told the Salisbury Independent at mid-week.

A banner will be up during the National Folk Festival in September stating Salisbury is a pending World Kindness USA City.

Mayor Jake Day said when a teen in the community “believes that there is nothing left in this world for them, or an elderly citizen finds they have no one left to turn to, someone ought to be asking, ‘How do we do better for each other?’

“Clearly, the answer is often pragmatic and encompasses in social services, customer service programs, anti-bullying initiatives or other process changes. However, the most courageous thing we can do is to dare to change the culture of hatefulness, skepticism and anger and trade those norms in for a norm of kindness, compassion, friendliness and enthusiasm,” Day said.

Murdock is excited that Salisbury is the first city in the country to be this close to the prestigious designation.

“No one submitted the application ahead of us. We submitted it two or three months ago. This wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t started doing kindness two-plus years ago,” she said.

Michael Lloyd-White, former general secretary of World Kindness and now chief advisor of the Board of World Kindness U.S.A. has been in Salisbury this week to “witness and support the city’s bid to become a World Kindness U.S.A. city,” Murdock said.

“He’s just awesome. He is a machine for kindness, for world kindness, especially now for World Kindness U.S.A.  He knows the ins and out of how to get businesses, schools, involved,” Murdock said.

The World Kindness Movement began in 1997.

“There was a group of countries on the Internet and out of that grew the World Kindness Movement, incorporating more countries. They are focused on world kindness. The United States is the least directed nation for combining all of the kindness efforts. Thus, came World Kindness USA,” Murdock explained.

As Secretary of Kindness in Salisbury, she said, her duties will be to “support kindness in the city and Wicomico County.”

“We want kindness to become the default behavior for everyone. We want them to think kindness for every decision they are making. Put it at the forefront, at the beginning, and make it less about self and more about others. If we do that, we will improve our space and it will ripple out,” she said.

Kindness can be expressed by adopting a pet, volunteering at the Community Garden, donating school supplies, painting rocks and placing them in the city’s Rock Garden on the Downtown Plaza, paying for the person in line behind you at a restaurant or in the grocery store or just smiling at someone.

“World Kindness USA has a board of people from around the nation and the world. It has kindness performance indicators that if your city wants to be a World Kindness City, you must meet these 10 indicators, known as KPIs. We are on the path. We have seven of the 10 done and the last three are developing,” Murdock said.

The 10 KPIs are:

1. Place kindness on the agenda at the next meeting.

2. Host the panel discussion Conversations In Kindness.

3. Develop a kindness policy and workshop to create a kindness clause.

4. Pledge to use best endeavors to seek the kinder option.

5. Appoint goodwill ambassadors each month to implement class acts of kindness.

6. Acknowledge acts of kindness with an award. Or, sponsor a co-branded interactive kindness card which tracks on Google Maps to record a journal of acts of kindness.

7. Collaborate in kindness through seeking three ideas from staff members about how to create a kinder company, with the community, for clients and suppliers and in the workplace.

8. Undertake a quarterly kindness index.

9. Aim for your organization to become an agent for positive change through having a purpose greater than its bottom line.

10. Join the Global Campaign to Create a Kinder World and have official board members sign a Declaration of Support.

The World Kindness Project is described as bringing together world leaders “representing a broad range of sectors on a foundation of kindness to collaborate and enhance the possibility for authentic positive change for the greater good.”

Murdock said she met Lloyd-White last year in Alexandria, Va.

“I was intrigued because everything Salisbury has done felt on the right path. I presented it to (Salisbury Mayor) Jake (Day) and he was all about it. We’ve been in the progress of making this happen almost the entire year. With our Dance for Kindness, the We Heart Salisbury Award, the bike share — everything Salisbury does that makes us kind — is making this possible,” Murdock said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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