Mission Partners Founder and CEO Carrie Fox always had a mind for social impact. After starting a communications consultancy for nonprofits, C. Fox Communications, at age 25, she knew she could do more if she focused exclusively on issues of community, such as social justice, sustainability, children’s health, higher education and workforce development.
“It was as the 2016 election was unfolding, and we were thinking about the role that we were playing and could play in disrupting a lot of the toxic and harmful narratives that we had seen play out in our country,” she says.
Mission Partners, a strategic communications firm which guides nonprofits, foundations and corporations, was born in 2017. Two years later, Fox got the chance to share her passion with her eldest daughter when her daughter asked “why people in positions of power can be so mean.”
“That was a really big question for a little kid,” Fox says.
She asked her daughter, Sophia, 11, what it would look like to put the opposite out into the world, and “Adventures in Kindness” was born. Now the second edition of the book they co-wrote together, packed with mission-focused apparel and kindness adventure kits for ages 7 to 13, hits the shelves Dec. 15.
Twenty percent of all sales go to featured nonprofits in the book.
Fox spoke with Washington FAMILY about balancing family life as a mission-focused CEO and author. She lives in Rockville with her husband, Brian, daughters Sophia and Kate, 8, and their dog Baxter.
Your work with Mission Partners and Adventures in Kindness is focused on social impact in the world. Why is this important to you?
We have one planet, and it’s in danger. We have one chance at this world, right? One chance at life. And I think every day, especially as a parent, am I doing something to add and contribute to our world or am I doing something to take away from it? As a business owner, I think about my work and my life as interconnected. Every minute that I have in this world, I want to think about contributing something good. Mission Partners and “Adventures in Kindness” in my world are naturally linked. We’re working with working professionals on how to increase their impact and build toward more just community. And for “Adventures in Kindness,” we’re doing the same, but we’re doing it through youth-led change. We’re thinking about the power that kids have to create and effect change that (leads) to a more just and equitable world.
How has that mindset inspired your family?
I think it’s given us opportunities to go deeper on dinnertime conversations. To think about our actions more intentionally. You know, we’ve always been a family that thinks about the privilege that we’ve had, and that we have, to be living in a county like Montgomery County, to go to the public schools that we go to and the quality of the education that the girls have. In a lot of ways, it feels like it’s our responsibility as parents and humans, and as a family, to really be aware of the world that we’re in and to be taking meaningful steps every day to contribute to a more just and connected world.
What is your goal with the second edition of the book?
We wrote the second edition reflecting on the year that was 2020 and everything that happened in our world in 2020. What we wanted to do with the second edition is to include new adventures that are directly informed from having lived through that experience. There are new adventures like how to practice the use of your preferred pronouns and how to introduce yourself using your preferred pronouns as a way to advance an inclusive mindset. We have new adventures around starting kindness clubs and new adventures around supporting the planet more intentionally—even around signing a no-bullying pledge. The second edition is designed to build on the first and to be very in tune and reflective with where our world is now. Keep in mind, you know, we wrote that first edition well before (COVID-19) was even in our minds, and funny enough, a lot of it was really relevant. Perhaps the best way to say it is we’ve gotten more explicit in why kindness really matters.
We see a big difference between being nice and being kind. You know, being nice is a reaction. Being kind is being deeply compassionate and empathetic and understanding in a way that is far greater than saying “please” and “thank you” or holding a door open for someone. It’s really thinking about stepping outside of our own shoes and understanding the larger context of the world we live in.
As a working parent, how do you balance your roles with family?
I think the best gift that I was given here was the opportunity to write a book with my daughter and to have this time with my family. I think it has, in some ways, created opportunities that are a natural part of my work day that are designed to be in community and conversation with my kids because they’re in this with me along the way. You know, every day we’re thinking about what comes next and “how do we live out this mission that we’re building?” That’s one way. It’s kind of always top of mind, and we’re thinking about it after school, or we’re thinking about it on the weekends. But as a working parent—as a working professional—I’ve also carved out hours in my day that I know are specific to this body of work—to “Adventures in Kindness.” That’s been important to me to create the kind of space that I think a project like this needs.
What is one lesson you hope your children learn from your career?
There’s a sign that hangs above my daughter’s bed, and it says, “Be brave,” and I think that’s a lot of this. As we go through this life, there’s so much that we don’t know, right? But if we start where we are and every day take a step forward toward justice, we will tip the world toward love. As I think about my girls, I hope what they see in my actions and my husband’s actions is that every day we are taking a step toward justice. And it’s about where we are and where we’re going. We can always take a step forward every day.
Recipe: French crepes with Nutella
Life hack: When feeling sick, or a cold coming on, we put a little orange juice in a cup of hot tea.
Kindness adventure: Supporting Little Free Libraries
Way to spend the weekend together: Anything outside! Bike riding, family runs or watching a family movie on the lawn
Book to read together: “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”
Vacation spot: Keystone Colorado
Charity: Girls on the Run