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Affirmed Cities

Richmond, VA, USA

Mayor Stoney declares Richmond a City of Compassion, invites individuals and organizations to participate in effort.


Richmond, VA — At a press conference today, Mayor Stoney officially declared Richmond a “City of Compassion.” In doing so, Richmond joins a global movement, the Charter for Compassion, dedicated to leading with compassion through treating all people, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or economic status, with dignity and respect. 

“This proclamation is also an invitation,” said the mayor. “Compassion is using your gifts and talents to lift up your neighbor, building a stronger community through that service. We can all play a role in this effort.”

The effort was led by Befriend, a new platform that aims to create friendships and connections throughout the city in an effort to recognize and break down socioeconomic barriers between Richmonders. It has been championed by the Mayor’s Office as a vehicle to promote tangible, compassionate action during a challenging time for all.

The mayor urged individuals and businesses to sign up to serve as a Compassion Connecter, centering compassion in all acts, big and small. Those interested can do so at Befriend Movement, where they can also learn about the global effort to build compassion.

“Being a Compassionate City is much more than a label,” says Mollie Reinhart, Founder of Befriend. “The proclamation creates a unifying standard around how Richmond legislates, how we live, and how we connect and thrive.

Befriend is represented on the Human Services Cabinet. The Human Services Cabinet for the City of Richmond is comprised of the local subject matter experts on basic human needs like food, housing, public health, employment, and education. It also includes experts that serve specific populations like older adults and individuals with highly specialized needs, as well as professionals who specialize in connecting those populations to the services they need.

The Human Services Cabinet convened with the intention of unifying the citywide human services response to community needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services and leader of the group Reggie Gordon holds that it will go beyond meeting immediate need resulting from the pandemic.

“Though the Human Services Cabinet was launched in the urgent context of the pandemic, it will have ongoing value to the community after the pandemic is behind us,” said Reggie Gordon. “It will continue to find better ways to align resources and collaborative ways to address community problems.”

The Human Services Cabinet addresses the need for compassionate efforts throughout the city to connect – both with each other and with those who require services. According to the member of the cabinet, the mayor’s declaring Richmond a Compassionate City is in line with that vision.

“In the city, we center compassion through transforming systems to serve individuals who need them, and then empowering those individuals through restorative justice and equity,” said the Mayor. “Everyone can join that effort by practicing compassionate acts.”


For more information

For opportunities to support organizations centering on compassion, visit RVAStrongand navigate to a cause close to your heart.

To sign up to become a Compassion Connector, visit Befriend Movement. For ease of access, the Befriend effort will also be linked on the home page of RVAStrong.


You can learn more about the global movement at Charter for Compassion.

For more information on the proclamation, becoming a Compassion Connector, or the effort as a whole, contact Mollie Reinhart at her email.



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