The world needs more kindness, especially now, and researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles are going to investigate how to bring out more of it -- thanks to a new multimillion dollar grant.
The Bedari Foundation, which was established by philanthropists Jennifer and Matthew C. Harris, gave $20 million to establish the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute, which will support research on kindness, produce opportunities to translate the research into practices and have a chief goal of empowering citizens and leaders to build more humane societies.
“Universities should always be places where we teach students to reach across lines of difference and treat one another with empathy and respect — even when we deeply disagree,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement. “The UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute will bring the best thinking to this vital issue and, I think, will allow us to have a real social impact on future generations.”
The new institute will take an "interdisciplinary approach" to the top of kindness by examining it through evolutionary, biological, psychological, economic, cultural and sociological perspectives.
“Our vision is that we will all live in a world where humanity discovers and practices the kindness that exists in all of us,” said Matthew Harris, the foundation’s co-founder and a 1984 UCLA graduate, in a press statement. “Much research is needed to understand why kindness can be so scarce in the modern world. As we seek at Bedari to bridge the divide between science and spirituality, through the establishment of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute we hope to educate and empower more and more people in the practice of kindness.”
Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA division of social sciences, praised the foundation in a statement.
“In the midst of current world politics, violence and strife, the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute seeks to be an antidote,” Hunt said. “Rooted in serious academic work, the institute will partner and share its research on kindness broadly in accessible formats. The Bedari Foundation’s extraordinary gift is truly visionary and we are grateful for its support and leadership.”
The Bedari Foundation is a private family foundation focused primarily on helping in the areas of health, wellness, environmental conservation and community displacement. The gift is part of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA.