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