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. Detroit, Michigan, USA
  23. Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti
  24. Eskilstuna, Sweden
  25. Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
  26. Fort Worth, Texas, USA
  27. Gaziantep, Turkey
  28. Groningen, Netherlands
  29. Houston, Texas, USA
  30. Huntington Beach, CA, USA
  31. Huntsville, AL, USA
  32. Khairo Dero Village, Pakistan
  33. Lake County, California, USA
  34. Lake Forest Park, WA USA
  35. Leiden, Netherlands
  36. LoDo Neighborhood (Historic District), Denver, CO, USA
  37. London, Ontario, Canada
  38. Los Angeles, California, USA
  39. Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  40. Milford, Connecticut, USA
  41. Millbrae, California, USA
  42. Mulanje, Malawi
  43. Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
  44. Neenah, Wiscosin, USA
  45. Overland Park  Neighborhood, Denver, CO, USA
  46. Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
  47. Peel, Isle of Man, United Kingdom
  48. Pine Bluff, Arkansas, USA
  49. Portland, Maine, USA
  50. Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
  51. Purwakarta, Indonesia
  52. Running Creek, QLD, Australia
  53. Santa Maria, California, USA
  54. Santa Monica, California, USA
  55. Seattle, Washington, USA
  56. St. Augustine, Florida, USA
  57. Sragen, Indonesia
  58. Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio, USA
  59. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Communities that are actively organizing to create a compassionate action plan

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

 

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. [See the PDF: "Two Activities for Community Collaboration" below.]

 

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. [See the PDF: "Two Activities for Community Collaboration" below.]

 

 

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...