In the past three years, kindness has become my ministry. It is my passion, and in my opinion, it’s the answer to every problem out there. Be kind.

I’ve recently met a woman who shares my passion for kindness, but instead of “Be kind,” her platform is “Give.” She is so passionate about giving that she wrote her own Public Service Announcement and paid to have it published in papers in Western North Dakota. She calls it her PSA for the Greater Good.

“Nicole, as a social entrepreneur and arts/social issues advocate, I can’t help but think about all the new, unchartered money pouring into western North Dakota. Some people literally don’t know what to do with their money. This is what compelled me to write the attached letter that I placed as a display ad in both the Minot and Williston Daily News.”

Here’s the letter she wrote. I hope it inspires you as well as the people out west who are very quickly learning about the responsibility that comes with riches.

“Marcy was an active teen engaged in student council, volleyball and youth ministry at church. So when she was diagnosed with a degenerative disease, her life unraveled. Her prognosis was uncertain, her mother quit her job to care for Marcy, and bills piled up. While no amount of money could restore what had been lost, a local gift program was able to restore peace of mind and hope with collective donations.

“Jason didn’t know where he fit in … middle school bullying was a nightmare … he loved performing, so he took a leap and auditioned for a summer theater program. Here he found a safe place to explore his gifts and a community that embraced him. Instead of taking his life that summer, Jason chose to live, and by example, likely saved the lives of others.

“These are examples of how lives are saved, empowered and supported when someone makes the decision to give. What makes this exchange more profound, however, is the unexpected effect it has on the giver’s life.

“I speak from experience. Giving brings joy and purpose to my life. I have devoted the last decade to creating awareness around people/projects/organizations that illuminate the human condition. It’s the thread that runs through who I am and how I spend most of my time. It usually shows up for me in arts and social issues advocacy, supporting kids’ passions and teaching mindfulness practices.

“I feel a deep responsibility to give. I am inspired by the philosophy, ‘To those much is given, much is expected.’ However, even though one person can make a difference, this ad is intended to have a leveraging effect.

“Many of you have had the great fortune of benefitting from North Dakota’s oil resources. If you find yourself in an unexpected position of surplus funds, my plea to you is to consider ‘giving’ as an investment with Joy and Purpose as your ‘return on investment.’ Your money can live on in the lives of people like the ones depicted in these stories.

“Finally, I know you’re asking, ‘Why would someone take out a personal ad with the intent of harnessing surplus dollars just to advocate for giving?’ Albeit unconventional, it is pure in nature and it’s what I do … remember? (See above).

“If nothing else, think of it as a PSA for the greater good. If this inspired you to give, drop me a line. I’d really love to hear about it. If you are unsure where to start, email me at I know of plenty of noble causes who need a champion.

My best,

Gina Sandgren”

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.



Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at