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. Bali, Indonesia
  7. Banyuwangi, Indonesia
  8. Basalt, Colorado, USA
  9. Belfast, United Kingdom
  10. Berkeley Lake, Georgia, USA
  11. Bojoonegro, Indonesia
  12. The County of Cornwall, United Kingdom
  13. The Country of Botswana
  14. Cape Town, South Africa
  15. Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, USA
  16. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  17. Clarkston, Georgia, USA
  18. The County of Cornwall, UK
  19. Dallas, Texas, USA
  20. Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, USA
  21. Danbury, Connecticut, USA
  22. Dayton, Ohio, USA
  23. Decatur, Georgia, USA
  24. Denver, Colorado, USA
  25. Detroit, Michigan, USA
  26. Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti
  27. Eskilstuna, Sweden
  28. Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
  29. Fort Worth, Texas, USA
  30. Gaziantep, Turkeyda
  31. Groningen, Netherlands
  32. Houston, Texas, USA
  33. Huntington Beach, CA, USA
  34. Huntsville, AL, USA
  35. Kathmandu, Nepal
  36. Khairo Dero Village, Pakistan
  37. Lake County, California, USA
  38. Lake Forest Park, WA USA
  39. Leiden, Netherlands
  40. LoDo Neighborhood (Historic District), Denver, CO, USA
  41. London, Ontario, Canada
  42. Los Angeles, California, USA
  43. Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  44. Milford, Connecticut, USA
  45. Millbrae, California, USA
  46. Mulanje, Malawi
  47. Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
  48. Neenah, Wiscosin, USA
  49. Overland Park  Neighborhood, Denver, CO, USA
  50. Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
  51. Pine Bluff, Arkansas, USA
  52. Portland, Maine, USA
  53. Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
  54. Purwakarta, Indonesia
  55. Richardson, Texas, USA
  56. Santa Maria, California, USA
  57. Santa Monica, California, USA
  58. Seattle, Washington, USA
  59. St. Augustine, Florida, USA
  60. Sragen, Indonesia
  61. Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio, USA
  62. Tucson, Arizona, USA
  63. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
  64. 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. Berlin, Connecticut, USA
  32. Besançon, France
  33. Birmingham, United Kingdom
  34. Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, USA
  35. Boise, Idaho, USA
  36. Bojonegoro, Indonesia
  37. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  38. Botswana, the Country of
  39. Bournemouth, United Kingdom
  40. Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA
  41. Bracknell, United Kingdom
  42. Brantford, Ontario, Canada
  43. Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
  44. Buckhannon, West Virginia, USA
  45. Butula, Kenya
  46. California, USA
  47. Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  48. Calicut, India
  49. Cambridge, United Kingdom
  50. Canberra, Australia
  51. Cape Town, South Africa
  52. Carrboro, North Carolina, USA
  53. Charleston, South Carolina, USA
  54. Charleston, West Virginia, USA
  55. Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
  56. Chennai, India
  57. Chicago, Illnois, USA
  58. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  59. Clarkston, Georgia, USA
  60. Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  61. Collingwood, Ontario, Canada
  62. Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  63. Compassionate India
  64. Conway, Arkansas, USA
  65. Cornwall, United Kingdom
  66. Corvalis, Oregon, USA
  67. County of Cornwall, UK
  68. Danbury, Connecticut, USA
  69. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  70. Decatur, Georgia, USA
  71. Decatur, Illinois, USA
  72. Del Rey Neighborhood Council, City of Los Angeles, CA, USA
  73. Denver, CO, USA
  74. Derry City, Ireland
  75. Detroit, Michigan, USA
  76. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  77. Dickson, Tennessee, USA
  78. Dilijan, Armenia
  79. Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti
  80. Doncaster, United Kingdom
  81. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  82. Duncan, British Columbia, Canada
  83. Eastsound, Washington, USA
  84. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  85. El Dorado Hills, California, USA
  86. El Paso, Texas, USA
  87. Eldoret, Kenya
  88. Elyria, Ohio, USA
  89. Eskilstuna, Sweden
  90. Eugene, Oregon, USA
  91. Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA
  92. Fitchburg, Massachusetts, USA
  93. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
  94. Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
  95. Fox River, Wisconsin, USA
  96. Frankfurt, Kentucky, USA
  97. Fremont, California, USA
  98. Frisco, Texas, USA
  99. Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
  100. Gaborone, Botswana
  101. Gainsville, Florida, USA
  102. Garland, Texas, USA
  103. Gaziantep, Turkey
  104. Glasgow, Scotland
  105. Glastonbury, United Kingdom
  106. Gorinchem, Netherlands
  107. Groningen, Netherlands
  108. Gunnison, Colorado, USA
  109. Gurgaon, India
  110. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  111. Harrison Township, Michigan, USA
  112. Helsinki, Finland
  113. Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
  114. Henderson, Neveda, USA
  115. Hereford, United Kingdom
  116. Honolulu, Hawaii USA
  117. Hoogeveen, Netherlands
  118. Horsham, United Kingdom
  119. Houston, Texas, USA
  120. Hull, United Kingdom
  121. Huntington Beach, California, USA
  122. Huntsville, Alabama, USA
  123. Hyattsville, Maryland, USA
  124. Irvine, California, USA
  125. Jakarta, Indonesia
  126. Jakarta Barat, Indonesia
  127. Johannesburg, South Africa
  128. Johnstown, Ohio, USA
  129. Kakamega, Kenya
  130. Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
  131. Kampala, Uganda
  132. Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  133. Kapsabet, Kenya
  134. Karachi, Pakistan
  135. Kapsabet, Kenya
  136. Key Biscayne, Florida, USA
  137. Khairo Dharo, Pakistan
  138. Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada
  139. Kokamo, Indiana, USA
  140. Koto Sukabumi, Indonesia
  141. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  142. La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
  143. Lagos, Nigeria
  144. Laguna Beach, California, USA
  145. Lake County, California, USA
  146. Lake Forest Park, Washington, USA
  147. Lakewood, Colorado, USA
  148. Lampasas, Texas, USA
  149. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA
  150. Leiden, Netherlands
  151. Lelystad, Netherlands
  152. Leominster, Massachusetts, USA
  153. Liverpool, United Kingdom
  154. Lochem, Netherlands
  155. LoDo Neighborhood (Historic District of Denver, Colorado, USA)
  156. London, Ontario, Canada
  157. London, United Kingdom
  158. Los Angeles, California, USA
  159. Lyndhurst, Ontario, Canada
  160. Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  161. Magnambougou, Mali
  162. Malaga, Spain
  163. Mampong-Ashanti, Ghana
  164. Mannheim, Germany
  165. Melbourne, Australia
  166. Messina, Italy
  167. Milford, Connecticut, USA
  168. Millbrae, California, USA
  169. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  170. Monrovia, Liberia
  171. Monterrey, Mexico
  172. Mountain Grove, Missouri, USA
  173. Nairobi, Kenya
  174. Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
  175. Napa Valley, California, USA
  176. Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  177. Neenah, Wisconsin, USA
  178. New Delhi, India
  179. New York, New York, USA
  180. North Bend, Washington, USA
  181. Norwich, United Kingdom
  182. Nottingham, United Kingdom
  183. Oakland, California, USA
  184. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
  185. Onitsha, Nigeria, Africa
  186. Oradea, Bihor, Romania
  187. Orange County, California, USA
  188. Orlando, Florida, USA
  189. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  190. Palatka (Interlachen), Florida, USA
  191. Palm City, Florida, USA
  192. Paris, France
  193. Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
  194. Peel, Isle of Man, United Kingdom
  195. Peja, Kosovo
  196. Penzance, United Kingdom
  197. Pepper, Jamaica
  198. Perth, Australia
  199. Perth, United Kingdom
  200. Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  201. Pine Bluff, Arkansas, USA
  202. Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
  203. Pocatello, Idaho, USA
  204. Port Erin, Isle of Man, UK
  205. Portland, Maine, USA
  206. Portland, Oregon, USA
  207. Porto, Portugal
  208. Porto Allegre, Brazil
  209. Portola Valley, California, USA
  210. Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
  211. Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  212. Pune, India
  213. Purwakarta, Indonesia
  214. Racine, Wisconsin, USA
  215. Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  216. Redwood Shores, California, USA
  217. Richardson, Texas, USA
  218. Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  219. Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico
  220. Running Creek, Australia
  221. Sacramento, California, USA
  222. Salt Lake, Utah, USA
  223. San Antonio, Texas, USA
  224. San Diego, California, USA
  225. San Fernando Valley, California, USA
  226. San Francisco, California, USA
  227. San Jose, California USA
  228. San Louis Obispo, California, USA
  229. Santa Ana, California, USA
  230. Santa Barbara, California, USA
  231. Santa Cruz, California, USA
  232. Santa Maria, California, USA
  233. Santa Monica, California, USA
  234. Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA
  235. São Leopoldo, Brazil
  236. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
  237. Seattle, Washington, USA
  238. Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
  239. Singapore, Singapore
  240. Soap Lake, Washington, USA
  241. Somerville, New Jersey, USA
  242. Sonoma, California, USA
  243. Springfield, Illinois, USA
  244. Springfield, Missouri, USA
  245. Sragen, Indonesia
  246. St. Augustine, Florida, USA
  247. St. Just, United Kingdom
  248. St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  249. St.Petersburg, Florida, USA
  250. Surabaya, Indonesia
  251. Sunnyvale, California, USA
  252. Surabaya, Indonesia
  253. Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  254. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  255. Taipei, Taiwan
  256. Takoma Park, Maryland, USA
  257. Telluride, Colorado, USA
  258. Thies, Senegal
  259. Tijuana, Mexico
  260. Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio, USA
  261. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  262. Torrington, United Kingdom
  263. Tri-Cities: Parma, Parma Heights & Seven Hills, OH, USA
  264. Tromso, Norway
  265. Tucson, Arizona, USA
  266. Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
  267. Tustin, California, USA
  268. Ukiah, California, USA
  269. Utrecht, Netherlands
  270. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  271. Venloo, Netherlands
  272. Vero Beach, Florida, USA
  273. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  274. Villa Park, California, USA
  275. Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
  276. Vista, California, USA
  277. Washington DC, USA
  278. West Hollywood, California, USA
  279. Westland, Michigan, USA
  280. Westminster, California, USA
  281. Wheeling, West Virginia, USA
  282. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  283. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
  284. Woodstock, New York, USA
  285. 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...