Words by Tess Becker
Smiley Movement's tenets include spreading kindness, joy and obviously, good news. This is something that is deeply important to Reetu Gupta too while she worked on Project Kindness at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reetu's aim for Project Kindness was simple: to encourage kindness and love as people struggled with the impact the virus was having on their everyday lives.
Throughout this difficult period, the project took on an organic and community-based approach that encouraged donations to multiple local organizations.
The donations included blankets, towels, and toiletries for shelters; food and snack boxes for emergency services; Covid masks to multiple hospitals, service providers, and agencies; meals for students at Humber College; food for charities tackling hunger and poverty; and much more.
Charitable work runs in the family
Reetu's efforts were greatly inspired by her parents' work for a charitable organization they set up.
“It started when I was very, very young. While I was growing up, they were always doing work in India, sponsoring kids and so for me, there was always this notion of giving back,” Reetu tells Smiley News.
Now Reetu is the head of her family's development company, Gupta Group. In this role too she is inspired by the work of her parents and Project Kindness to do good, encouraging the company to build on its philanthropic work through the Gupta Family Foundation.
“I think the best part about working with my family is that they give me a lot of freedom and flexibility to do what I want,” Reetu says. “So when I approached them and said, ‘Okay, we have our charitable organization. I want to rebrand it, and I want it to be generational and I want our companies to be giving back 50 years from now,’ they were open to it. We changed the name and rebranded it as the Gupta Family Foundation.”
Business doing good
The Gupta Family Foundation supports disaster relief efforts as well as marginalized people around the world.
“Our mission is to support organizations that provide focused intervention in the lives of people who have been disadvantaged in some way to help them become self-reliant,” they write on their website. “We take a very broad view of ‘disadvantage’ to include anything that holds a person back from realizing their potential, such as poverty, physical or mental disability, social alienation, etc.”
In general, Reetu just wants to show kindness to the world through her charitable work and business.
“I want people to see that philanthropy is just another way to show love. And I think that humanity itself would just be so much better off if everyone really embraced this notion of love,” she says. “And philanthropy is just another way to do that. When you help someone you're showing them kindness, you're showing them love. It's so important.”
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
American Civil Liberties Union. This is one of the largest civil liberty defense organizations in the US. Find out more and support them here.
Human Rights Campaign. This is one of the largest equality-focused organizations in the US. Find out more.
The Trevor Project. They focus on suicide prevention and mental health support for queer youth. Support them here.