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