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December 1st, 2022

Before we were the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation, we were Newtown Kindness.

Headshot: JoAnn Bacon
JoAnn Bacon

The bedrock of our organization was the Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Award.  This program was designed to promote, recognize and reward children to “think kindly and act boldly” through acts of kindness. It made its debut on Charlotte’s 7th birthday, just 2 months after her death. In those few short months, over 1,000 entries were received worldwide. On February 22, 2013, 150 people attended the first award ceremony to honor kind children in Charlotte’s memory.

Over the course of 5 years, The Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness award recognized several thousand Acts of Kindness and awarded 48 children for their exemplary acts. The award ceremony on Charlotte’s birthday was the culminating event each year, bringing hundreds of kindness ambassadors together for a night of recognition and celebration. It was the vision and actions of our dear friend, Aaron Carlson, that launched this non-profit in Charlotte’s honor when we did not have the fortitude. For this, we are forever grateful to him.

At the same time, we at Newtown Kindness performed our own acts of kindness, from toy drives, to building playhouses, to funding new swing sets at the Charlotte Bacon Playground in West Haven, CT.

In 2017, Joel and I found ourselves wanting to contribute in new ways. Over the 5 years since Charlotte’s death, we had become active in the grief support community and felt led to turn in that direction. In July 2017, we rebranded the organization as the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation. This rebranding allowed the foundation to broaden its mission while always remembering our roots in kindness. Just like Newtown Kindness, the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation would continue to Think Kindly, Act Boldly. Five years later, we hold steadfast in this mission.

-JoAnn Bacon


This article is the second in a series of “look backs,” originally published on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

To Support the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation, please visit our website:

To Buy Good Dogs, Great Listeners, please visit:

Headshot: JoAnn Bacon

JoAnn Bacon

JoAnn, along with husband Joel, co-founded the Charlotte Helen Bacon Foundation to honor the way their little girl lived so boldly. She and Joel also published the children’s books Good Dogs, Great Listeners and The Dogs of Newtown, written by their son and Charlotte’s older brother. JoAnn is committed to de-stigmatizing grief and bereavement, particularly child loss. Her writing has been featured in many national publications including TIME, Modern Loss, and The Mighty.