Debbie Tenzer (Debra Gross Tenzer, born 1953) is an American non-fiction author, motivational speaker, and the founder of the international kindness movement, Do One Nice Thing. She also coined the term Nice-o-holic, referring to a person who performs acts of kindness on a regular basis.

Background and education

Tenzer was born in Oakland, California, and grew up in Piedmont, California east of San Francisco. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Communication and Public Policy, and from University of Southern California with an M.A. in Communications Management. She is married and is the mother of three children.


A marketing and advertising executive for many years, Tenzer became frustrated with the divisive political climate in the U.S. surrounding the 2004 elections. One day after having lunch with friends who were bemoaning the sad state of the world, an idea occurred to her: Instead of worrying about the big problems she could not solve, she would look for small problems that she could solve.

She committed to doing one nice thing for someone every Monday, her hardest day of the week. After hearing about it, her friends urged to start a website, which she did -, and word of it spread rapidly. The movement has members in ninety countries.

Tenzer posts a different “nice thing” to do each week as well as stories about the kind people who do them. Do One Nice Thing members have:

  • mailed more than 75 tons of school supplies to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, who give them to local children so they can study
  • sent tens of thousands of cans of food, packages of pasta and boxes of energy bars to food banks and needy schools
  • given numerous backpacks to foster children who often carry the little they own from home to home in garbage bags
  • donated thousands of blankets to U.S. soldiers in Iraq who give them to local people living without electricity or heat
  • and sent countless books to schools, libraries and hospitals