History of Ben’s Bells

Jeannette Maré took a tragic situation and chose to share her journey of healing and hope. She realized the universal need for kindness and connection, and has helped so many people to learn about kindness and how it can spread in communities. Be Kind. Simple words that create a powerful ripple effect. 

Since 2002, Ben’s Bells has grown from an initial Bell distribution to offer kindness education programming, beautiful visual reminders of kindness through murals, community engagement and volunteer opportunities, and so much more! 


Bell making began in Jeannette’s garage.


March 29, 2003

First Bell distribution – 400 Bells hung in Tucson to honor Ben’s life and to share the message of spreading intentional kindness.


January 2005

Ben’s Bells received 501(c)(3) status identifying the organization as a public non-profit.


September 2005

Began Belling program celebrating kind individuals in the Southern Arizona community and honored first Bellee, Willie Blake Jr.


October 2006

Opened first public studio in Main Gate Square in Tucson, Arizona.


March 2007

Celebrated 5th anniversary – 500 Ben’s Bells hung in New Orleans, LA.


April 2007

First Celebration of Kindness Day event hosted to share the message of Ben’s Bells and thank the community.


2007 – 2008

Kind Kids Program, now known as Kind Campus, piloted in four elementary schools, inspiring students to create a culture of kindness in their school communities and beyond.



Murals Program begins installing kindness-themed murals in public spaces.

January 2011

1,400 Bells were hung throughout the Tucson community and the event was featured on NBC Nightly News “Making a Difference” segment.


January 2012

Opened second public studio in the heart of Downtown Tucson.


November 2012

First Team KIND rode in El Tour de Tucson.


2012 – 2013

Scientific Advisory Board created to support Ben’s Bells educational programming.


March 2013

Celebrated 10th anniversary and hung 30,000th Bell.


Spring 2013

Third public studio opens in Newtown, Connecticut.


January 2014

Kind Colleagues program begins creating a kind and engaged workplace by strengthening the culture from within.


September 2014

Shop KIND opens to offer purpose-driven shopping that impacts the entire community.


August 2015

100th mural completed at Roadrunner Elementary School.


June 2015

Fourth public studio opens in Phoenix, Arizona.


March 2018

Celebrated 15th anniversary – 1,500 Bells hung in Tucson, Phoenix, and Connecticut.


2017 – 2018

Participation in Kind Campus programming exceeded 500 schools.


March 2019

Ben’s Bells welcomes Executive Director, Helen Gomez!



Celebrated 20th Anniversary at Celebration of Kindness and throughout the year.


Fall 2022

The iconic “I am Tucson” Mural recreated with the help of the community to commemorate Ben’s Bells’ 20th anniversary.

April 2023

Jeannette Maré receives the 2022 Founder’s Award at Greater Tucson Leadership’s Community Impact Awards