About 1000 Hearts

1000 Hearts is a global kindness community which started in 2016 from a random act of kindness...

I started making hearts because I was tired of feeling helpless in the face of pain and grief. I wanted to bring some comfort and hope to people who were struggling.

When I began 1000 Hearts, I hand-stitched one thousand pocket hearts to be given away at no cost in random acts of kindness. I received a small grant from another kindness project called Long Distance Love Bombs, and used the money to post the initial thousand pocket hearts to anyone who requested them.

About the founder of 1000 hearts

The beginning...

  • Once I had completed my first 1000 hearts, I sent packets of hearts to the 76 people who volunteered to share them in their communities. Very quickly, I started getting messages from people who received them, and was touched to realise the power of kindness in action. People told me that they carried my heart as a talisman of love, courage, hope and comfort. In many cases, people expressed that carrying a heart helped them to deal with anxiety, grief, depression and separation from loved ones. There were so many beautiful stories, I knew something special was happening.

    Many people asked me for additional hearts to share, and a lot of people wanted to make hearts themselves, using the same size and shape I had created. A community started to grow from my small act of love; a community where kindness and connection are valued and hearts are healed.

  • Since the project started, I’ve made many thousands of hearts and many others have joined in, creating a global network of “heartists” committed to spreading kindness. Together, we have offered hearts to people struggling with a wide variety of challenges like loneliness, mental illness, sickness and bereavement. We have sent hearts to places impacted by violence, natural disasters and acts of terrorism. We have also offered thousands of hearts to charities, services and individuals who need a bit of love.

    Here at 1000 Hearts, we believe that kindness can change the world. If you believe in the power of love and compassion, you’re in good company
    here.

     

How it grew

When I first started 1000 Hearts in 2016, I made all the hearts myself and sent them out at no cost to anyone who requested them. I funded this through my day job and some small donations from kind members of the hearts community.

When others started wanting to make hearts, I shared the original template and in 2018, set up an Etsy shop to sell kits and hearts. Earnings from the shop funded the increasing amount of hearts I was giving out all over the place.

As the community and project grew, I continued to work in non-profit organisations and ran 1000 Hearts before and after work and on weekends. Over time, this became less and less sustainable and in late 2023, fearing burnout, I took four months away from the project to reflect on how to move forward.

After investigating a lot of options, I knew I couldn't give up 1000 Hearts but I also couldn't keep running it off the side of my day job. In January 2024, I took a massive leap of faith and gave up my secure, well-paying job as a director in a local cancer charity to focus full-time on my passion project and develop it as a thriving social enterprise.

How it all works

A lot of people assume that 1000 Hearts is a charity, but it's not registered as one (there are lots of reasons why I decided not to go in that direction). Instead, it is a social enterprise, which is a business that exists for a cause, rather than to accumulate wealth. This means that any profits from 1000 Hearts are invested back into the project and community. One day, I hope it will be going so well that I'll be able to donate heart supplies to schools, charities and community services that can't afford to buy them. First though, it needs to grow so it's a sustainable small business that earns enough to cover all its costs and pay a wage to anyone working for it.

For me, it feels like 1000 Hearts is my third child and I am nurturing it to become fully independent and self-sustaining. It has become my life's work and a huge passion, and I feel very proud of what this community stands for.

The 1000 Hearts community embodies the magic of kindness.

Members of our community (Heartists) make hearts and share them with incredible generosity and love, simply because they want to contribute something good to the world. Heartists often send their hearts to me, so I can distribute them to hospitals, charities, schools and groups who request them.

This photo was taken by my friend, artist Nikala Bourke, and shows me buried in donated hearts. It captures the vulnerability and gratitude I feel when I receive kindness.

To me, it is a special kind of magic.