CARLSBAD — Kindness is on the rise.
Thanks to resident Carlton Lund, a new way to pay it forward was celebrated Saturday. Lund, along with Mayor Matt Hall and his wife Phyllis Hall, Kids for Peace co-founder Jill McManigal and Carlsbad Rotarian Renuka Sethi, dedicated kindness meters along the “Kindness Korridor.”
The eight meters allows people to donate via coin or credit card, and those funds will be donated to charities in the city. An added bonus is the meters are powered and maintained by Lund’s group at no cost to the city.
“It was fabulous,” he said of the celebration. “The response was unbelievable. There is no small act of kindness.”
Last weekend, the first meter was dedicated at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation’s Discovery Center. IPS Group’s CFO Chad Randall donated the meters.
The second meter was dedicated to the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation in the memory of the late June Williams and third was at the Carlsbad Boys and Girls Club’s gala on Saturday night.
As for the Kindness Korridor, it begins at the Discovery Center and hits the Peace Park, the Love Park and Kindness Park from Kids for Peace.
“There were tears and cheers,” said Lisa Rothman, CEO of the Discovery Center. “There was rush for people to donate and feel that energy.”
Seeds for the project were planted in 1970 when Lund, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, had a chance encounter with legendary actor Paul Newman. Newman was in the state stumping for presidential candidate George McGovern.
Lund, who was part of the student government, was able to ride with Newman from Whitewater to Madison. Newman founded Newman’s Own, which donates much of its revenue to numerous charities.
Lund figured he could the same, albeit on a smaller scale.
Those seeds were watered 15 years ago after the Encinitas city sign went up. Lund pushed for a Carlsbad sign, which was then constructed, and then Lund came across a parking meter and wondered if he could create a source of revenue for charities.
“I didn’t have a lot of money, but I could be a poor man’s philanthropist,” he recalled. “If I could get other people to follow my example, all of a sudden it’s like a piggy bank. The other aspect that has inspired me, I wanted kids to understand at a very early age the joy of giving back.”
As for the meters, individuals can donate from $1 to $999 with a credit card or drop in coins. Lund said the numerous VIPs and people in attendance donated about $1,000 last weekend.
Collection of the money, meanwhile, will be done each month or when the coin slots reach their max of $68. Credit deposits will be distributed monthly to the charities.
In addition to the kindness meters, Lund and company also celebrated the grand re-opening of Caffe Vacanza.