How Nextdoor Is Cultivating A Kinder World By Celebrating The Best Neighbors In America With The Nextdoor 100

Nextdoor is a hyperlocal social networking platform where you connect with the people and neighborhoods that matter to you. Neighbors around the world turn to Nextdoor daily to receive trusted information, give and get help, get things done, and make real connections with people near them – neighbors, businesses, and utilities.

Last month, Nextdoor revealed the winners of the Nextdoor 100, a national celebration of super amazing, surprising, creative, compassionate neighbors who are never absent when you need them. Unlike other awards programs, this “for neighbours, by neighbours” celebration shines a light on people who are making a difference in our daily lives, but aren’t getting the recognition they deserve.

More than 46,000 entries poured in from downtowns, suburbs, small towns and rural communities across America. While the stories were as varied as the individuals, the common theme was acts of kindness, big and small, that help create neighborhoods everyone can count on. These first-ever Nextdoor 100 winners include neighbors, small business owners and local organizations that are making a difference in their neighborhood.

I caught up with Maryam Banikarim, Outgoing Marketing, Community and Global Manager at Nextdoor, to learn more about Nextdoor 100, and the core values ​​and purpose behind the Nextdoor community.

Maryam joined Nextdoor in February 2020, convinced of the company’s purpose-driven leadership and brand. In her previous roles as CMO of Univision, Gannett and Hyatt, and even in roles she carved out in college and early in her career, three “pillars” emerged in her career: storytelling, purpose and making a difference.

I started by asking Maryam how she articulated Nextdoor’s purpose and core company and brand values. “At Nextdoor, our purpose is to cultivate a more welcoming world where everyone has a neighborhood to rely on. We use our purpose as our decision-making framework – it guides us and keeps us true to the difference we want to make in the world,” she explained. In terms of values, Nextdoor has defined six that they believe will create the environment that will allow us to achieve our goal. These are: earning trust every day, investing in community, be customer obsessed, think big, experiment and learn fast, and act like an owner.

I asked Maryam how the “ground wave of kindness” is happening in the Nextdoor community and what her favorite Nextdoor 100 stories are. “The wave of kindness is a very apt description of what we see through the 100 nominations from Nextdoor,” she smiled. After the past two years, they felt at Nextdoor that it was time to recognize these everyday heroes, the Super Amazing Neighbors – the supportive, surprising, creative, compassionate, and never absent neighbors when you need them. And they weren’t alone. They put out a call for entries (for which, by the way, there was no prize) and got an incredible 46,000 nominations. That’s right, 46,000.

All of the submissions were winners in his book – and the enviable task of narrowing the number of applicants to 100 was left to the diverse and illustrious jury which included: comedy icon, actor and philanthropist, Cedric the Entertainer; Olympic Gold Medalist, FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Coach and Facilitator, Brandi Chastain; Operation Founder: HOPE, John Hope Bryant; Woman’s Day author and editor Meaghan Murphy; veteran journalist and founder of URL Media, S. Mitra Kalita; and Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of news at Gannett Media and editor of USA TODAY.

However, here are the 3 stories she wanted to share as an example:

  • Nancy in Queens, New York named the store Jr’s Bagel in Queens; they delivered free breakfast every day to his 96-year-old mother during the pandemic, who could no longer make it to the store.
  • An entire Atlanta neighborhood nominated itself – and earned a spot on the Nextdoor 100, the Adair Park neighborhood. This community is truly there for each other; they recently worked together to raise funds and support a neighbor whose house was about to be condemned, so that she could stay at home. They also hold an annual fundraiser and celebration called ‘Porches and Pies’, it is a celebration of the community they have built together.
  • Davidson Public Library in Davidson, NC was nominated by its community for the passion, purpose and care it brings to its daily work. All of their staff have been cited for being knowledgeable, caring, patient and energetic, and truly being a resource to their city.

It’s these efforts – big or small, but always appreciated – that the Nextdoor 100 is about. You can meet the first Nextdoor 100 at

When asked if they see a resurgence in what it means to be a good neighbor and what Nextdoor can do to help support that, Maryam replied, “What the tens of thousands of Nextdoor 100 nominations have shown us , is that for the past 2.5 years has been difficult, and frankly still at times very difficult – the kindness increases.” The pandemic has shown how vital these “next-door” relationships are in our lives. also saw how we could make a difference for each other – in small and big tangible ways, which is why they immediately saw a huge increase in neighbors offering to help each other.

Their role at Nextdoor is to be an enabler – to help neighbors and neighborhoods leverage technology to connect digitally to connect in real life. Ultimately, as Maryam added, they are here to “empower community and everyday humanity.” They like to say it’s “as easy as waving or saying hello.”

When I asked, one last piece of advice Maryam has for other purpose-driven leaders to guide their thinking authentically is that purpose is about the difference your company wants to make in the world. She has seen firsthand how taking the time to discover your purpose and articulate it can help align an organization, keep it stable so it can grow. “What a lens gives you is a beacon for everything you do, a barometer of authenticity – and today, that’s what customers and employees demand,” she concluded.

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