November 2013: Highlights of the Cities Summit Conference Call

November 2013: Highlights of the Cities Summit Conference Call

city is a place

Thank you to everyone who participated in our TeleSummit City calls and the Canadians for Compassion call last week.  We are most appreciative to those who sent in their written reports as a result of the calls.

For those who weren't able to participate or didn't get the handouts from the presentation, everything gone over in the call is being included in this newsletter.

We decided on this format of making the reports available on-line as a document.  There is so much information to be shared and retained, and in this way there will be easy access to retrieving what you might need. We appreciated everyone’s patience as we tried our new conference format during the call. The Maestro platform offers us a lot of different capabilities that a regular conference call doesn't. We are also appreciate of people coming forth to help us plan the next call.

Installing the Charter Counter on Your Website

For those of you who have websites and would like to have available on your site the opportunity for people to sign the Charter, you can add a form to any web page that allows your visitors to sign the Charter for Compassion right on your own web site! Just click here to download the code as a text file. You can then copy and paste this code into your own page.

Content of This Report

Jon Ramer, cities coordinator for the Charter for Compassion presented a number of organizing principles.  There are also summary reports from a number of different campaign organizers.  We have included a list of participants who were on the call, but not e-mail addresses.  Let us know if you want to be in contact with a specific person.

5 organizing practices

Effective Planning Practices

  1. Formulating the mission, vision, strategy, and structure
  2. Creating the plan
  3. Generating and regenerating, and measuring the effectiveness of the plan

Creating Coaching Circles

  1. Select a facilitator
  2. Give each person time to answer the five strategic questions (below)
  3. Offer feedback

Five Strategic Questions for Conducting the Campaign

  1. What is our campaign’s motivating vision?
  2. What is our measurable goal?
  3. What are the resources of our people?
  4. What tactics can turn our resources into the power we need to meet our goal?
  5. What is our timelines?

Operational Guidelines for a Group

Some organizers have asked for guidelines for their team.  Here is a suggested set that comes from one of our partners, The Pomegranate Center.

  1. Assume that together we know more than we know individually
  2. Commit to finding common solutions
  3. Share airtime—everyone participates
  4. Listen—try to understand other’s assumptions and views
  5. Respect for those with whom you disagree—learn to see differences as assets
  6. Do your homework; know the problem, its origins, its elements and the history of previous attempts to deal with it
  7. Look for solutions with multiple uses—the best ideas solve more than one problem at the same time.
  8. Keep in mind the highest good of the entire community—present and future
  9. Maintain balance between mind and heart, knowledge and intuition, expertise and passion, expert knowledge and common sense
  10. Reject the culture and tactics of blame
  11. Confront internal contradictions; practice compassion towards those who, like yourself, unwittingly contribute to the problem they wish to solve:
  •  Turn opposition to proposition; instead of fighting a poor idea, propose something better
  • Listen willingly to new information and allow it to change your mind
  • Explore unconventional approaches—new conditions require new solutions

Atlanta, GA, USA
Announcing the Launch

By Bob Thompson

We are organizing for the official launch of our Compassionate Cities: Atlanta campaign at the Carter Center on February 2nd, 2014. To gather interest we are encouraging people to identify communities to which they already belong and invite members of those self identified communities (faith, neighborhood, work, school, book groups, etc) to get together to explore the Charter for Compassion and learn about the Compassionate Cities campaign. Here is an evite we are sending to some of our neighbors in the Lake Claire neighborhood. charter-for-compassion.html#.UpkapGRDsyA

botho pink

The Country of Botswana
Charter’s First Compassionate Country

By Magdalena Whoolery

The Botho Movement Shares Compassion at Parliament Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Dr Margaret Nasha will join the Botho Compassion Movement in spreading the message of compassion to Parliament, this week.

The Botho Movement’s fundamental aim is to nurture above all things, compassion. Compassion is sensitivity to suffering, with a deep wish and commitment to relieve this suffering in ourselves and others. To nurture compassion, the movement works to engage and to bring together all segments of society to:

  • THINK IT- to encourage people all over Botswana (in businesses, schools, work places and in their own homes) to think about how they are sharing compassion or how they can show compassion towards others.
  • FEEL IT – to foster respect and empathy for people in different situations and to try to see things from other’s perspective, through love and support, to be caring and understanding towards each other, to take responsibility for our actions and to recognize the effect that our actions or reactions have on others.
  • LIVE IT – to make acts of compassion part of peoples’ daily lives, creating an environment which fosters interconnectedness, caring and commitment for others and a collective sense of identity – a shared Vision.

The movement uses ‘botho,’ a Setswana word, to remember the root of this principle in Setswana history. Botho is one of Botswana’s five national principles, (the others being, democracy, development, selfreliance and unity) and as the

Botswana’s Vision for 2016 states:

‘Botho defines a process for earning respect by first giving it, and to gain empowerment by empowering others. It encourages people to applaud rather than resent those who succeed. It disapproves of anti-social, disgraceful, inhuman and criminal behaviour, and encourages social justice for all. It means above all things to base your thoughts, actions and expectations for human interaction on the principles of Love, Respect and Empathy’

To inspire and remind Batswana to be more compassionate towards one another, the Botho Movement is sharing the Compassion-It wristbands at Parliament, with the support of Hon. Speaker, Dr Nasha, who will come on Tuesday at 13.45 to the Botho Movement stall in solidarity and share the wristbands with members of Parliament.

Denver, CO, USA Goals Set

By Jack Unruh

Present goals include to:  

  1. Link people involved in compassion-work so that a critical mass begins to generate its own outcomes.
  2. Use neuroscience-based best practices to interest people in different domains in cultivating compassion as a tool as well as a motive.
  3. Assert that compassion, as standard equipment for all humans, is a central key to being both an individual and a societal member, reclaiming it as a person strength.
  4. Use Compassion Denver to move people from consumers of services to citizens – thus removing shame associate with dependency and showing what can be accomplished as a contributor.
  5. And finally, using this last concept to build inroads with conservative Denverites, via the personal responsibility ideology – every personally responsible person is responding to someone else, even if it’s just to work hard and pay one’s own way.

denver board game

Huntington Beach, CA, USA

By Rev. Peggy Price

Huntington Beach is in the beginning stages of the city initiative, but we have the approval of our City Council, and the leadership of the most recent mayor to move forward.  Our first organizing meeting is happening November 20 and we have invited leaders of many community organizations to join us.  Our primary goal is to present two different service projects in the city-one will be in April in conjunction with an already existing day of service, and the second to participate city wide in the Compassion Games in September.

We have a declaration, which will be presented at a future city council meeting. Our momentum is just building, but Huntington Beach is a compassionate city in many ways, so our intention is to bring more light to those places where it is needed, and highlight the many compassionate organizations already doing the good work. I know that as we grow, we will find more ways to bring this forward. I am very excited about our possibilities!

St. Augustine, Fl, USA Signs the Charter

By Caren Goldman

St. Augustine, the oldest city in the nation and the first Compassionate City in Florida, will be celebrating its 450th anniversary in 2015. As you might imagine, this is not just a local event, but a far reaching one that will be getting widespread attention statewide, nationwide and internationally.  Since we became a Compassionate City on September 9, 2013, the St. Augustine Initiative For Compassion has been working with the City Manager and Commission members to make Compassion the legacy of the year-long 450th commemoration.  To that end, we are working on three major projects (as well as smaller ones) that require a tremendous amount of people power and funding.  One, a major public art projects is already moving beyond the early proposal stage and we are working on a more comprehensive proposal (and invitations locally and internationally) for both a major multi-faith event and a compassion based concert.

Now to back up a bit.  In 2014, the nation will be paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. What most people do not know (although they will shortly) is that St. Augustine played the pivotal role in breaking up the filibuster in Congress that was preventing its passage.  Several events leading up to that occurred in 1963 when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ambassador Andrew Young spent the summer here leading non-violent protests.  The two most important were when Ambassador Young was seriously beaten several times by the Klan while trying to cross the square downtown.  Finally, the police allowed him to cross. 

That incident-the subject of several documentaries ––was followed by a group of young, non-violent black youth jumping into the segregated pool at a Bayfront motor lodge.  The owner tried to force them out by pouring acid in the water.  In those days, long before the Internet, the incident went viral right after AP published a picture of this angry, rather crazed man pouring acid into the pool.  When Lyndon Johnson saw the picture, he said, “Enough,” and the filibuster ended.  Almost immediately afterwards, he signed the legislation.  As an aside, 20 Reform rabbis from the north had compassionately gathered to pray at the pool while the boys jumped in.  It was the largest gathering of supportive Jewish leaders during the Civil Rights era. 

The St. Augustine Initiative For Compassion will be paying tribute to the nationwide commemoration by orchestrating several compassion and Charter related events throughout 2014.  For example, in conjunction with a lecture series at Flagler College we have arranged for Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell to speak in St. Augustine and have other compassion/civil rights related partnerships and events under discussion.


Halifax, Nova Scotia
Waves of Compassion


San Antonio, TX, USA Looking to 2015

By Susan Ives

San Antonio is a city of 1.38 million -- the nation's 7th largest city and 25th largest metropolitan area (2.2 million in the SA-New Braunfels corridor.) We are 63% Hispanic (compared to 38% in Texas as a whole) and 19.2% of us live below the poverty level. We consider ourselves "the heart of Texas," although the airport's welcome sign says "welcome to military city USA (all of the Air Force basic training is conducted at Lackland AFB and the Army's medical personnel all train at Ft. Sam Houston.) Politically, we (and Austin) are more liberal than the rest of Texas.

Although San Antonio has been engaged with the Charter for Compassion since its release (we were one of the 75 cities hosting signings that day) it wasn't until January 2013 that the peaceCENTER acknowledged that we were the people we had been waiting for to initiate a city campaign and became the Charter catalysts.  We decided to make the process a slow one, taking the first year (or two) to deepen our own understanding of compassion, develop an infrastructure and invite partners into the process.

Deepening understanding started with our core team reading and discussing Karen Armstrong'"Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" during the preceding 3 months,  then  facilitating study groups. We've had five so far -- the largest was 40 paying participants and another is scheduled to begin in the new year. (You can download our class notes/facilitators manual  at compassionfacilitator28october2013. pdf)   It has also meant listening to the community, both here and in the global sense. We've spent a lot of time developing language that was both clear, yet invitational and openended, including the relationship between compassion and the peaceCENTER, which can be confusing (compassion is one of many paths to peace, and it is the one we are focusing on right now.)  This is, of course, continually evolving.

Developing infrastructure was made easier in that the peaceCENTER has been around for almost 20 years and many structures and relationships were in place. We developed a Web site & blog; compassion/ compassionfacilitator28october2013. pdf set up a new mailing list (1000+ members now) and made everything separate so that it could eventually be severed from us and become an independent organization, if that's what it's meant to be.

Inviting partners has grown from our Pilgrimage of Compassion. We ask groups to tweak an existing event or create a new one that expresses their view of compassion, and invite us to participate. We bring a 6'x3' vinyl banner of the Charter -- everyone is invited to sign it -- and take about 5 minutes for a group reading of the charter and a very short explanation of what it would mean for San Antonio to be recognized as a compassionate city. We also help publicize the event, collect names for our mailing list and hand out a 2page flyer. We anticipated, at most, one event  a month. We've had 23 so far, and six already on tap for early next year. At least 3,000 people have attended at least one pilgrimage stop this year. One of the attached flyers is a photo montage of the events through the end of October and the other is a sample of the flyer we hand out at these events. Our only agenda is to learn what THEY think -- which startles and delights everyone. We are mutually supporting. At the Dorothy Day birthday celebration at the Catholic Worker house the director noted that she didn't have a clue who half of the 200+ people were -- and we didn't know the other half.  We haven't overstretched our small core team of volunteer workers (for most of these events we just show up) yet reap benefits of co-hosting an event. We get full buy-in from the hosts, who become stakeholders/partners in compassion. We expand our concept of what compassion can be by calling forth other voices. It also keeps Compassionate San Antonio from becoming overly identified with a particular cause/issue, as the events are "branded" by the primary host. It's all good.

Future plans: We've made several informal connections with City Council and will do that more in 2014, with the goal of having them endorse the charter by 2015. We have a day-long compassion summit scheduled for March; later that month, Oblate School of Theology is hosting their annual retreat (about 800 attend from all over the country.) The main speaker is to be Episcopal priest Michael Battle, a disciple of Archbishop Tutu, and the theme will be Ubuntu/compassion.

Our main tip:  Without exception accentuate the positive and don't get caught up in a spiral of despair about ways we are NOT compassionate.

Greater Toledo and NW Ohio, USA Passes the Resolution

By Judy Trautman

The MultiFaith Council of NW Ohio, already a Charter partner, launched the initiative to designate Greater Toledo and NW Ohio at its 10th Annual Banquet Sunday March 27, 2011, including a proclamation and letter of support from the mayor.  We have a dedicated website http://, Facebook page: https:// , and Twitter account CompToledo .  We have 15 organizational partners and a team of about twenty ambassadors.  In 2012 we inducted our first Heroes of Compassion, individuals and organizations honored for extraordinary compassionate work.  In 2012 we added to the Heroes Gallery.  We had a sub-committee that researched data that the community is indeed compassionate. They investigated 150 organizations, government, faith-based, civic, etc. and placed them on a compassion matrix with an average score of 29/30. September 17, 2013,  Toledo City Council passed a resolution in favor.  We are expecting a Lucas County resolution soon.  We plan a designation ceremony and celebration the weekend of April 25-27, 2014, to include signing at Government Center, a Compassion Carnival at the Convention Center, service days, and our 13th Annual MultiFaith Banquet at the Franciscan Center of Lourdes University.

Washington, DC. USA
Compassionate Accessibility

By Rick Rodgers

Rick Rodgers is facilitating a Compassionate Accessibility initiative as part of Festival Church’s, Washington, DC, commitment to the Charter for Compassion and personal experience and passion.  This report includes information related to sharing during the telesummits.

The Compassionate Accessibility initiative is a collaborative focused on creating awareness and promoting access and inclusion by and for one of the largest and fastest growing groups in the world - people with disabilities and people affected by aging.   With an audience including over 1 billion people with disabilities and 10,000 people reaching age 65 every day, there are compassion implications for every city and area of our interconnected world.  For perspective on the issue and potential check out a recent Ted Talk “Design with the blind in mind:  What would a city designed for the blind be like? where Chris Downey, an architect who went suddenly blind in 2008, contrasts life in his beloved San Francisco before and after -- and shows how the thoughtful designs that enhance his life now might actually make everyone's life better, sighted or not. (Sources: Gretchen Van Fossen and Ted Talks)

During the Asia-Pacific tele-summit, Rick commented that the Maestro Conference byline “Turning Solos into Symphonies” was very applicable to what is and can be happening in and among cities around the world.  He shared that Maestro Conference founder and CEO Brian Burt led a session “Tapping the Collective Intelligence & Energy of your Team with Holacracy” at the Enlightened Business Summit 2013.  He noted that employing holacracy as a social technology or system of organizational governance in which authority and decision-making are distributed throughout a holarchy of self-organizing teams rather than being vested at the top of a hierarchy offers potential benefit for Compassionate City initiatives locally and globally.

In a Maestro Conference automated break out Rick and Jon Ramer were serendipitously reconnected from an initial Compassionate Cities discussion during Rick’s April 2010 visit to Seattle.  Jon’s recommendation of a book he is now reading “From Ego-System to Ecosystem Economies” by Otto Scharmer prompted a discussion and follow up reflection on the accessibility ecosystem of which Compassionate Cities are and can be pivotally instrumental for widely beneficial results.

Registered Participants for the Charter’s November Cities Summit


  • Andrew Himes, Charter ED
  • Jon Ramer, Charter Cities Coordinator, director of the
  • Compassion Games
  • Marilyn Turkovich, Charter Program Director


  • Amy Stutzman  (Bloomington-Normal, IL, USA)
  • Antony Wabuga Wanjala (Eldoret, Kenya)
  • Ayn Fox (LoDo Historic Denver, CO, USA)
  • Ben Roberts (Newton, CT, USA)
  • Bob Thompson (Atlanta, GA, USA)
  • Bryan Weinert (Ann Arbor, MI, USA)
  • Caren Goldman (St. Augustine, FL, USA)
  • Cassie Jackson
  • Charles Oliver Barker
  • Clement Awanfe Ngueto (Doula, Cameroon)
  • David Childs (El Paso, TX, USA)
  • Dick La Fever
  • Drea Parker
  • Jack Unruh (Denver, CO, USA)
  • Jack Youngkin (Dallas, TX, USA)
  • James Vande Berg (St. Augustine, FL, USA)
  • Jan Jorgensen (Montreal, QC, Canada)
  • Jim Lee (Detroit, MI, USA)
  • John A Mical
  • John Boswell (John Boswell, CA, USA)
  • John Hale (Seattle, WA, USA)
  • Jon Amores (Charleston, WV, USA)
  • Judy Lee Trautman (Greater Toledo and NW Ohio,
  • USA)
  • Karl Grass (Nokomis, FL, USA)
  • Kanu Priya (Gurgeon, India)
  • Kathy Larson (Milwaukee, WI, USA)
  • Keiko Ehret (San Rafael, CA, USA)
  • Kelley Shumautz
  • Kim Mac Aulay (Halifax, NS, Canada)
  • Larry Meisner
  • Linn Moffett (Santa Barbara, CA, USA)
  • Lora Haynes (Louisville, KY, USA)
  • Lynne Horn (Los Alamitos, CA, USA) Maggie Seymour (Beaufort, SC, USA) Maris
  • Meenakshi Suri (Miami, FL, USA)
  • Micah Etabale Atsulu (Kakamega, Kenya)
  • Mike Seymour (Beaufort, SC, USA)
  • Miomir Rajcevic (Belgrade, Serbia)
  • Mira Luna
  • Olivia McIvor (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
  • Pat Keown (Beaufort, SC, USA)
  • Peal Nyenkan (Monrovia, Liberia)
  • Professor Tomasz Sluszkiewicz (Munich, Germany) Randy Taran (Palo Alton, CA, USA)
  • Rev Dr. Peggy Price (Huntington Beach, CA, USA)
  • Rick Rodgers (Washington, DC, USA)
  • Sande Hart (Compassionate California, USA)
  • Soul Dancer
  • Steve Saenz (Atlanta, GA, USA)
  • Sue Bookchin (Mahone Bay, NS, Canada)
  • Terrian Barnes
  • Timothy Riley (Appleton, WA)
  • Tom Williams (Louisville, KY, USA)
  • TZPi Radonsky (Pot Royal, SC, USA)
  • Urvi (Gurgeon, India)
  • Wahyu Eko Saputo (Koto Sukabumi, Indonesia)
  • Yaffa Maritz (Seattle, WA, USA)
  • Yvonne Rafi (Washington, DC, USA)

About Us

  • charter brand transp blue mediumCharter for Compassion provides an umbrella for people to engage in collaborative partnerships worldwide. Our mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors.


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