Mayor Greg Fischer declared Louisville a Compassionate City on 11-11-11. On that day, he posed an interesting question: Wouldn’t the world be a better place if cities competed around love and compassion, and not just sports? This thought inspired me to write a community challenge to other compassionate cities to engage in the Compassion Games. This challenge was taken up and developed by Jon Ramer in Seattle, who created the International Compassion Games.
Now, as a result of that question asked by Fischer in 2011, there is a global competition of love that runs from Sept. 9-24.
Individuals, groups and cities from around the globe compete around love and compassion during these games. This year, more than 200 teams around the globe are signed up to play.
Recently, the mayor of Dallas visited Louisville for the Leadership Louisville Annual Meeting. Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke in terms that resonated with Fischer – that a city should be a platform for every citizen to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Fischer would agree that a city should be a platform for everyone to flourish, which is why we seek to become a more compassionate city.
What Mayor Rawlings didn’t mention during that luncheon was that Dallas is actively working to beat the socks off Louisville in the very games that our own mayor inspired. Dallas plans to feed the hungry in packaging over 100,000 meals. They are planning a compassion walk, and are partnering with the arts districts and businesses all around their town to win the games. Their efforts could not be more needed with the devastation in nearby Houston.
So no one loses in the compassion games. But we still want to win and we still need your help.
It has been said that the big story is hunting the right people to tell it. Compassion is that story for Louisville, and of Louisville. Help us teach Dallas the lesson that everything may be big in Texas but nothing is bigger than the heart of this community.
Nothing proves this generosity more that Give for Good Louisville held on Sept. 14. Last year, the effort raised more than $4.3 million in 24 hours through 21,000-plus donations, big and small, from compassionate people across our community. This is a way the Community Foundation of Louisville recognizes and supports over 500 local nonprofits that enrich our lives and help build our compassionate community.
So let’s use this time to remind ourselves of who we are at our best: we are the compassionate city! So join us in the Games by going to http://compassiongames.org/ and registering your team and your good. Results are shared on the Compassion Report Map at reports.compassiongames. org. The dollars you donate on Sept. 14 to Give for Good Louisville also count toward Louisville’s totals. Go to giveforgoodlouisville.org for more information.
Please give and volunteer during the Games and feel the joy that comes with helping to build a City of Compassion — the true reward for this competition.
Tom Williams is a Louisville attorney who helped launch Compassionate Louisville, which seeks to nurture and foster the growth of compassion. He’s helped launch similar efforts in other cities. He can be reached at Tom.Williams@ skofirm.com