A compassionate city is an uncomfortable city!  A city that is uncomfortable when anyone is homeless or hungry.  Uncomfortable if every child isnt loved and given rich opportunities to grow and thrive.  Uncomfortable when as a community we dont treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated.

 --Karen Armstrong, Founder of the global movement, The Charter for Compassion

Human beings are social animals.  We live and work and socialize together in communities that exist in diverse cultures and climates throughout the Earth. Within each of these communities from Mongolia to Mogadishu to Managua to Minnesota, human beings experience compassion for others, relieving pain and suffering for their families, for their neighbors, for their communities.  But the structure of modern society—of nation states and mega cities and a world population that has grown to over seven billion—often thwarts and distorts this natural desire to be compassionate. The sense of disconnection is so pervasive that unkindness, indifference, and selfishness appear as the norm; compassion, kindness and caring are the outliers. 

The Compassionate Communities program is not a certificate program that offers a seal of approval, nor does it subscribe to a single definition of a Compassionate Community.  Instead, the Charter invites communities of all sizes to bring compassion to life in practical, specific ways through compassion-driven actions—in neighborhoods, businesses, schools and colleges, healthcare, the arts, local government, peace groups, environmental advocacy groups, and faith congregations.

In a Compassionate Community, the needs of all the inhabitants of that community are recognized and met, the well-being of the entire community is a priority, and all people and living things are treated with respect.  More simply, in a Compassionate Community, people are motivated by compassion to take responsibility for and care for each other.  A community where compassion is fully alive is a thriving, resilient community whose members are moved by empathy to take compassionate action, are able to confront crises with innovative solutions, are confident in navigating changes in the economy and the environment, and are resilient enough to bounce back readily from natural and man-made disasters.

Although the early work of the Charter was focused on building a network of cities, it soon became evident that communities both larger and smaller than cities wanted to join the global movement in which compassion is at the heart of a community’s activities.  The Charter’s growing network of Compassionate Communities now includes cities, towns, townships, shires, hamlets, villages, neighborhoods, islands, stats, provinces, counties, republics, and countries.(link to Charter website’s list of compassionate communities)

No single community in the world is a Compassionate Community in any abstract or formal sense, just as no community is devoid of compassion.  Each community will find its own path to establishing compassion as a driving and motivating force, and each will conduct its own evaluation of what is “uncomfortable” in that community’s unique culture—that is, those issues that cause pain and suffering to members of the community.  For one community that discomfort may be youth violence or an epidemic of teen suicide.  Another community may discover that a portion of their community—perhaps immigrants, the homeless, or an LGBTQ group--has been marginalized, harassed, or even physically threatened.  Yet another community, as in Botswana for example, the major discomforts may have to do with the needs of large numbers of street children orphaned by the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic.

The Charter’s Compassionate Communities program is not a certificate program that offers a seal of approval, nor does it subscribe to a single definition of a Compassionate Community.  Instead, the Charter invites communities of all sizes to bring compassion to life in practical, specific ways through compassion-driven actions—in neighborhoods, businesses, schools and colleges, healthcare, the arts, local government, peace groups, environmental advocacy groups, and faith congregations.

What Are the Steps for Creating a Compassionate Community?

Any individual, group, or organization that recognizes the need for greater compassion in a community is encouraged to begin the process for creating a Compassionate Community.  While the Charter does not prescribe any one path, it does recommend that the process be designed and carried out by a diverse and inclusive coalition of people so that all voices within the community are heard, and the significant issues are addressed.

The cities and communities that sign on to become Compassionate Cities and Communities have often begun their work by identifying the issues that are troubling the community and need to be addressed through compassionate action. For example, a community may discover a significant issue related to social justice-- for women, for immigrants, or for some other marginalized group. Other communities may want to address issues of drug use, gang violence, the lack of equitable healthcare, or the effects of environmental racism. Others may decide to work to provide empowerment to youth or to educate their communities about the need for compassion in addressing environmental issues. 

 

The Campaign for Compassionate Communities has produced viable results that can be attributed to the Charter for Compassion. In cities and communities around the globe, those involved in Compassion initiatives have worked on community service, anti-bullying, homelessness, healthcare, restorative justice and education efforts. The Charter's Community Tool Box presented in this section of the website is a way to offer more help to cities, regions, communities and other organizations as they seek to fully develop as compassionate entities.

Goals and Impacts of Compassionate Communities

  1. To energize, broaden and deepen the compassionate communities network with active outreach to existing and prospective members.
  2. To help our members feel connected to one another in common cause and to feel supported by a network of organizations that offer support and services.
  3. To link community partners and their work and needs in one place in the world with partners in another area of the world that can help each with their efforts to bring compassion to their communities.
  4. To make available connections to cutting edge research and tools by partnering with groups able to provide these.
  5. To increase the Charter’s role and effectiveness as a network by hosting events, trainings, conference calls and providing forums for resource exchange.

Communities that have signed the Charter 

  1. Apeldoorn, Netherlands
  2. Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
  3. Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  4. Aviles, Spain
  5. The Parliament of Australia
  6. Banyuwangi, Indonesia
  7. Basalt, Colorado, USA
  8. Belfast, United Kingdom
  9. Berkeley Lake, Georgia, USA
  10. Bojoonegro, Indonesia
  11. The Country of Botswana
  12. Cape Town, South Africa
  13. Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, USA
  14. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  15. Clarkston, Georgia, USA
  16. Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  17. The County of Cornwall, UK
  18. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, USA
  19. Danbury, Connecticut, USA
  20. Decatur, Georgia, USA
  21. Denver, Colorado, USA
  22. Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti
  23. Eskilstuna, Sweden
  24. Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
  25. Fort Worth, Texas, USA
  26. Gaziantep, Turkey
  27. Groningen, Netherlands
  28. Houston, Texas, USA
  29. Huntington Beach, CA, USA
  30. Huntsville, AL, USA
  31. Khairo Dero Village, Pakistan
  32. Lake County, California, USA
  33. Lake Forest Park, WA USA
  34. Leiden, Netherlands
  35. LoDo Neighborhood (Historic District), Denver, CO, USA
  36. London, Ontario, Canada
  37. Los Angeles, California, USA
  38. Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  39. Milford, Connecticut, USA
  40. Millbrae, California, USA
  41. Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
  42. Neenah, Wiscosin, USA
  43. Overland Park  Neighborhood, Denver, CO, USA
  44. Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
  45. Pine Bluff, Arkansas, USA
  46. Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
  47. Purwakarta, Indonesia
  48. Santa Maria, California, USA
  49. Santa Monica, California, USA
  50. Seattle, Washington, USA
  51. St. Augustine, Florida, USA
  52. Sragen, Indonesia
  53. Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio, USA
  54. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Communities that are actively organizing to create a compassionate action plan

  1. Accra, Ghana
  2. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  3. Amman, Jordan
  4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  5. Anchorage, Alaska, USA
  6. Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  7. Apeldoorn, Netherlands
  8. Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
  9. Arlington, Virginia, USA
  10. Arnhem, Netherlands
  11. Asheville, North Carolina, USA
  12. Ashland, Kentucky, USA
  13. Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  14. Austin, Texas, USA
  15. Parliament of Australia
  16. Aviles, Spain
  17. Bagdad, Iraq
  18. Bali, Indonesia
  19. Bancharampur, Bangladesh
  20. Bandung, Indonesia
  21. Banyuwangi, Indonesia
  22. Basalt, Colorado, USA
  23. Beacon, New York, USA
  24. Beaufort, South Carolina, USA
  25. Belfast, Northern Ireland
  26. Belgrade, Serbia
  27. Berkeley Lake, Georgia, USA
  28. Besançon, France
  29. Birmingham, United Kingdom
  30. Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, USA
  31. Boise, Idaho, USA
  32. Bojonegoro, Indonesia
  33. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  34. Botswana, the Country of
  35. Bournemouth, United Kingdom
  36. Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA
  37. Bracknell, United Kingdom
  38. Brantford, Ontario, Canada
  39. Buckhannon, West Virginia, USA
  40. Butula, Kenya
  41. Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  42. Calicut, India
  43. Cambridge, United Kingdom
  44. Canberra, Australia
  45. Cape Town, South Africa
  46. Carrboro, North Carolina, USA
  47. Charleston, South Carolina, USA
  48. Charleston, West Virginia, USA
  49. Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
  50. Chennai, India
  51. Chicago, Illnois, USA
  52. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  53. Clarkston, Georgia, USA
  54. Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  55. Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  56. Cornwall, United Kingdom
  57. Corvalis, Oregon, USA
  58. County of Cornwall, UK
  59. Dallas, Texas, USA
  60. Danbury, Connecticut, USA
  61. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  62. Decatur, Georgia, USA
  63. Decatur, Illinois, USA
  64. Denver, CO, USA
  65. Derry City, Ireland
  66. Detroit, Michigan, USA
  67. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  68. Dickson, Tennessee, USA
  69. Dilijan, Armenia
  70. Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti
  71. Doncaster, United Kingdom
  72. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  73. Eastsound, Washington, USA
  74. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  75. El Dorado Hills, California, USA
  76. El Paso, Texas, USA
  77. Eldoret, Kenya
  78. Elyria, Ohio, USA
  79. Eskilstuna, Sweden
  80. Eugene, Oregon, USA
  81. Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
  82. Fitchburg, Massachusetts, USA
  83. Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
  84. Fort Worth, Texas, USA
  85. Fox River, Wisconsin, USA
  86. Frankfurt, Kentucky, USA
  87. Fremont, California, USA
  88. Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
  89. Gaborone, Botswana
  90. Gainsville, Florida, USA
  91. Garland, Texas, USA
  92. Gaziantep, Turkey
  93. Glasgow, Scotland
  94. Glastonbury, United Kingdom
  95. Gorinchem, Netherlands
  96. Groningen, Netherlands
  97. Gunnison, Colorado, USA
  98. Gurgaon, India
  99. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  100. Harrison Township, Michigan, USA
  101. Helsinki, Finland
  102. Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
  103. Hereford, United Kingdom
  104. Honolulu, Hawaii USA
  105. Hoogeveen, Netherlands
  106. Horsham, United Kingdom
  107. Houston, Texas, USA
  108. Hull, United Kingdom
  109. Huntington Beach, California, USA
  110. Huntsville, Alabama, USA
  111. Hyattsville, Maryland, USA
  112. Irvine, California, USA
  113. Jakarta, Indonesia
  114. Jakarta Barat, Indonesia
  115. Johannesburg, South Africa
  116. Johnstown, Ohio, USA
  117. Kakamega, Kenya
  118. Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
  119. Kampala, Uganda
  120. Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  121. Karachi, Pakistan
  122. Key Biscayne, Florida, USA
  123. Khairo Dharo, Pakistan
  124. Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada
  125. Kokamo, Indiana, USA
  126. Koto Sukabumi, Indonesia
  127. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  128. La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
  129. Lagos, Nigeria
  130. Laguna Beach, California, USA
  131. Lake County, California, USA
  132. Lake Forest Park, Washington, USA
  133. Lakewood, Colorado, USA
  134. Lampasas, Texas, USA
  135. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA
  136. Leiden, Netherlands
  137. Lelystad, Netherlands
  138. Leominster, Massachusetts, USA
  139. Liverpool, United Kingdom
  140. Lochem, Netherlands
  141. LoDo Neighborhood (Historic District of Denver, Colorado, USA)
  142. London, Ontario, Canada
  143. London, United Kingdom
  144. Los Angeles, California, USA
  145. Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  146. Lyndhurst, Ontario, Canada
  147. Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  148. Magnambougou, Mali
  149. Malaga, Spain
  150. Mampong-Ashanti, Ghana
  151. Mannheim, Germany
  152. Melbourne, Australia
  153. Messina, Italy
  154. Milford, Connecticut, USA
  155. Millbrae, California, USA
  156. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  157. Monterrey, Mexico
  158. Nairobi, Kenya
  159. Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
  160. Napa Valley, California, USA
  161. Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  162. Neenah, Wisconsin, USA
  163. New Delhi, India
  164. New York, New York, USA
  165. North Bend, Washington, USA
  166. Norwich, United Kingdom
  167. Nottingham, United Kingdom
  168. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
  169. Onitsha, Nigeria, Africa
  170. Oradea, Bihor, Romania
  171. Orange County, California, USA
  172. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  173. Palm City, Florida, USA
  174. Paris, France
  175. Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
  176. Peja, Kosovo
  177. Penzance, United Kingdom
  178. Perth, United Kingdom
  179. Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  180. Pine Bluff, Arkansas, USA
  181. Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
  182. Portland, Oregon, USA
  183. Porto, Portugal
  184. Porto Allegre, Brazil
  185. Portola Valley, California, USA
  186. Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
  187. Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  188. Pune, India
  189. Purwakarta, Indonesia
  190. Racine, Wisconsin, USA
  191. Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  192. Redwood Shores, California, USA
  193. Richardson, Texas, USA
  194. Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  195. Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico
  196. Sacramento, California, USA
  197. Salt Lake, Utah, USA
  198. San Antonio, Texas, USA
  199. San Diego, California, USA
  200. San Fernando Valley, California, USA
  201. San Francisco, California, USA
  202. San Jose, California USA
  203. San Louis Obispo, California, USA
  204. Santa Ana, California, USA
  205. Santa Barbara, California, USA
  206. Santa Cruz, California, USA
  207. Santa Maria, California, USA
  208. Santa Monica, California, USA
  209. São Leopoldo, Brazil
  210. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
  211. Seattle, Washington, USA
  212. Shreveport, California, USA
  213. Soap Lake, Washington, USA
  214. Sonoma, California, USA
  215. Springfield, Illinois, USA
  216. Springfield, Missouri, USA
  217. Sragen, Indonesia
  218. St. Augustine, Florida, USA
  219. St. Just, United Kingdom
  220. St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  221. St.Petersburg, Florida, USA
  222. Surabaya, Indonesia
  223. Sunnyvale, California, USA
  224. Surabaya, Indonesia
  225. Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  226. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  227. Taipei, Taiwan
  228. Takoma Park, Maryland, USA
  229. Telluride, Colorado, USA
  230. Thies, Senegal
  231. Tijuana, Mexico
  232. Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio, USA
  233. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  234. Tromso, Norway
  235. Tucson, Arizona, USA
  236. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
  237. Tustin, California, USA
  238. Ukiah, California, USA
  239. Utrecht, Netherlands
  240. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  241. Venloo, Netherlands
  242. Vero Beach, Florida, USA
  243. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  244. Villa Park, California, USA
  245. Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
  246. Vista, California, USA
  247. Washington DC, USA
  248. West Hollywood, California, USA
  249. Westland, Michigan, USA
  250. Westminster, California, USA
  251. Wheeling, West Virginia, USA
  252. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  253. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
  254. Woodstock, New York, USA
  255. Zagreb, Croatia


Any individual, group, or organization that recognizes the need for greater compassion in a community is encouraged to begin the process for creating a Compassionate Community.  While the Charter does not prescribe any one path, it does recommend that the process be designed and carried out by a diverse and inclusive coalition of people so that all voices within the community are heard, and the significant issues are addressed. 

The cities and communities that sign on to become Compassionate Cities and Communities have often begun their work by identifying the issues that are troubling the community and need to be addressed through compassionate action. For example, a community may discover a significant issue related to social justice-- for women, for immigrants, or for some other marginalized group. Other communities may want to address issues of drug use, gang violence, the lack of equitable healthcare, or the effects of environmental racism. Others may decide to work to provide empowerment to youth or to educate their communities about the need for compassion in addressing environmental issues.

This checklist of 15 suggested steps was developed for those who want to organize a Compassionate City or Community, but it may also be useful to any group organizing for social change and development. Download the checklist.

 

DISCOVER and ASSESS

Comments

1

Identify “discomforts” in your community—those issues that are causing pain and suffering to individuals or groups or the entire community—which can be addressed and relieved through compassionate action.

 

2

Find out what is already being done, or has been done, to address issues in your community, learn what has worked and not worked, and, recognize and acknowledge those successes.

 

3

Invite people to join you in assessing your community. Include community leaders as well as those informal leaders of other community constituencies that can give voice to the needs of the community.

 

 

FOCUS and COMMIT

 

4

Analyze challenges and opportunities from information gathered during “Discover and Assess” phase. Then choose an initial focus, perhaps one to four of the most significant areas that are of importance to the community and that could benefit by being addressed through compassionate action.

 

5

Based upon prioritized choices, create a plan to move forward including specific short-term and long-term objectives, action plans, and anticipated outcomes. Plan purposeful, measurable actions toward fulfilling your objectives with designated responsibilities and appropriate time frames.

 

6

Register your campaign with The Charter for Compassion International.  Participate in the global movement by making use of the Charter’s resources:  conference calls, newsletters, other website resources such as toolboxes, stories, readings, and bibliographies.

 

7

Encourage Partners in your community to sign on to the Charter and to join in the community efforts by sharing information resources, funding support, and in-kind services.

 

8

Make a formal and public commitment to the concepts contained in the Charter for Compassion-- by proclamation, resolution, or a completed action plan.

 

 

BUILD and LAUNCH

 

9

Build momentum by involving other community members, linking to community events, and inviting nearby communities to participate. Educate the broader community about what it means to become a Compassionate Community, and acknowledge the acts of compassion that are already working within your community.

 

10

Plan and launch a kickoff event to widely publicize your plans.

 

11

Begin implementation of action plans around focus area.

 

 

EVALUATE and SUSTAIN

 

12

Monitor and measure your progress, and continue planning. Celebrate successes; learn from unsuccessful efforts and adjust subsequent actions accordingly.  Then share your experiences and your stories with the Charter community –for example, by posting on the Charter’s website.

 

13

Communicate within the community on a regular basis—meetings, emails, articles, social media, and whatever other means—to keep people informed and energized.

 

14

Reach out to share globally—for example, by partnering with a community in another country.

 

15

Sustain efforts to build a Compassionate Community.

 

The Charter for Compassion is committed to building a worldwide network of Compassionate Communities.  We envision a richly diverse “network of networks,” people from every sector—business, healthcare, education, government, faith and interfaith, peace and non-violence, the arts, and those working to preserve the environment—who will bring compassion to everything they do, and who will take responsibility for igniting the compassion of the general community to care for each other and for the well-being of all members of the community from birth through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to old age and death.

What difference can compassion make?

Motivated by the ancient and universal “golden rule” to treat others as you would like to be treated, communities of people across the globe commit to making compassion a driving force with a measurable impact on community life and on the well-being of all members of a community.   Read more...