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