Mission and Position Statements


Ben’s Bells teaches individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness and inspires people to practice kindness as a way of life.


Kindness becomes highly valued and ingrained in each of us, strengthening our communities, our relationships, and ourselves.

Culture Code

At Ben’s Bells we value and promote an open, inclusive, and kind culture. We are passionate about kindness and understand that being kind is very different than being “nice.” We believe self-awareness and self-care are the foundation of a kind culture. We thrive on working together, believing in the strength of a diverse team, and trusting individual contribution to the whole. We actively support, recognize, and celebrate each other. We value learning, creativity, growth, and risk-taking. We apologize, forgive, and learn from our mistakes. We are passionate and fun! We value spontaneous laughter, gratitude, and hearty celebration. We cultivate a kind environment that is safe, accessible, and welcoming. Our best people don’t just fit our culture, they further it.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Statement

Part of the practice of kindness is doing the work to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community space and workplace. We welcome and we value employees, volunteers, and participants whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education, class, or disability. At Ben’s Bells we work to create kinder communities, and such work requires dedication to serving constituents that represent the diverse makeup of our communities.

We strive to maintain a kind culture where all perspectives are welcomed, shared, and valued, and are committed to nondiscriminatory practices in the workplace and as we serve all members of the public. We work to ensure equal opportunity of access to our programming and public spaces as well as to employment and advancement opportunities. We value the perspectives that diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring to the table and maintain a safe space for respectful, kind, and inclusive dialogue that encourages listening, sharing, and self-reflection.

We are committed to communicating clearly, questioning our assumptions, acknowledging our mistakes, incorporating a growth mindset, doing this work even when it is difficult, recognizing the ongoing nature of these responsibilities, and building kinder communities for everyone. We expect all employees and board members to lead with kindness and to hold equitable practices as core values that translate into their personal and professional lives. All visitors are expected to use kind behavior, exhibit equitable treatment, and join us in maintaining a safe space for all participants.

We’re firm in our stance that equitable treatment for everyone is a crucial aspect of kindness and that only diverse and inclusive spaces represent the true scope of what it means to do kindness work and be a kind community. Diversity, inclusion, and equity are deeply connected to our mission and critical to the wellbeing of our staff, board, volunteers, and the communities we serve. 

Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Statement

Ben’s Bells is committed to providing all employees with a workplace free of all types of harassment and discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, gender, physical or mental disability, class, or veteran status.

“Discrimination” occurs when an individual, or group of individuals, is treated adversely because they belong to a classification of individuals that is protected from discrimination by a federal or state statute or this Ben’s Bells policy. “Harassment” is a specific form of discrimination. It is unwelcome behavior, based on a protected classification, that a reasonable person would perceive to be sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name calling, as well as nonverbal behavior, such as graphic, electronic, and written statements, or conduct that is physically offensive, harmful, or threatening.

Ben’s Bells prohibits and will not tolerate any unlawful harassment or discrimination by Supervisors/Managers, coworkers, interns, volunteers, community partners, or others who do business with Ben’s Bells.

It is our policy to maintain a work environment free from all forms of unlawful harassment or discrimination and to insist that all employees, interns, and volunteers be treated with dignity, respect, and kindness. The purpose of this policy is not to regulate our employees’, interns’, or volunteers’ personal morality. It is to assure that unlawful harassment or discrimination does not occur in the workplace.

An individual who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy should contact Ben’s Bells at 520-622-1379 or info@bensbells.org to obtain information about resolving concerns, including complaint-filing options and procedures, and to enable Ben’s Bells to take prompt remedial action.

All reports of discrimination or harassment will be confidential, except to the extent disclosure is required by law or is necessary to facilitate the investigation and resolution of the discrimination or harassment allegations.

Stand Up for Kindness

Community building is about wrestling with injustice. It is about struggling with inequity and exclusion and then doing something to create change. It requires delving deeply into what kindness is and how it manifests in all levels of our society.

Kind and nice are not the same thing. Many of us were taught to be nice, to keep things comfortable, to sweep problems under the rug. Niceness taught us to avoid “difficult” conversations about subjects like politics, religion and racism. Kindness requires that we engage in them.

I’ve been involved with Ben’s Bells for over 15 years, as a volunteer, a board member, and staff. Kindness is the lens through which I view life and I am fully committed to it.

As a black man, the world has not always been kind to me. Like most black Americans, I have experienced racism in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. In high school, my counselor was shocked and confused by my high GPA. I didn’t ‘look’ smart. In college, I dated a girl who broke up with me because her family threatened to disown her for dating a black man. I have been pulled over by police more times than I can count.

The list of injustices is too long to include and you’ve heard it all before. But have you ever thought about how racism prevents black men like me from participating in the everyday ways that strangers are kind to each other?

Think about this. Even with my perpetual smile, a surprising number of people have told me that they were “scared of me” before they got to know me. If my blackness makes me scary then I am cheated out of the opportunity to connect with people. I lose, they lose.

We need to do better. At Ben’s Bells we talk a lot about how kindness is defined by the receiver. Intent is important, but it is not enough. Kindness isn’t kind unless it eases the suffering of the recipient. I see a lot of good intent being wasted because people don’t do the learning they need to do before they engage.

I believe that when a white person says “I don’t see color” that their intention is kind. But what I hear, as a black person, is that you don’t acknowledge my struggle, that you don’t see me.

“It’s the thought that counts” isn’t good enough. It’s the impact that counts and that intent/impact match takes some work. This is what the practice of kindness is all about. Listening, and learning, and then having the courage to act.

I’m asking you to practice kindness right now. Doing kindness in response to injustice is not comfortable.

I’m asking you to feel that discomfort and to not let it scare you away. What would you paint on the plywood downtown? What will you do? Please engage with these ideas and keep adding to the list.

Be kind – listen. Be kind – learn. Be kind – get comfortable being uncomfortable. Be kind – have tough conversations with your family, friends and colleagues. Be kind – donate to organizations committed to social justice. Be kind – seek out black-owned businesses. Be kind – understand privilege and power. Be kind – vote.

Be kind – be an anti-racist. Every. Single. Day.

-Forest Melton