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Who We Are

2015 Charter Award

Karachi starts their Community Campaign with a solidarity march

The Charter for Compassion seeks to make compassionate action “go viral” in the hearts and minds of communities globally by working with them to address their most pressing needs. We view compassion as a verb, moving beyond empathy to identify problems and act on solutions. November 2014, we launched the Charter Tool Box after a 9‐month process engaging 150 of our grass roots community organizers to learn what they needed in order to create viable action plans that would bring about pronounced change in their locales. With the assistance of the University of Kansas’ Community Tool Box team, a 15-step procedural guideline, and 18‐point assessment instrument, and the Charter Community Tool Box were created to help communities develop their multi-year action plans. The tools and assessment are now being used by all new city applicants coming to the Charter and are being introduced systematically to all our compassionate initiatives.

Summary of Taking Action



We started by contacting community organizers (just 200 at the time) to join in a call to discuss what was working and not working in organizing their communities. Just over 80 individuals participated. Simultaneously we researched what organizing tools were available. The University of Kansas’ Community Tool Box was found and contacted. The team advised us on how they might help. We then sent out a preliminary survey asking organizers to respond to the top issues that needed attention in their communities. This was followed by a second call where the participants were broken into interest groups to begin to design components of an assessment tool. A report on the call was written and sent to all Charter members inviting them to contribute to a Google Document we set in place for a period of six weeks. Over 150 people participated in the assessment portion of this work.
Above photo: Cornwall, UK acknowledges the Charter for Compassion


At the Charter our purpose is to empower concrete compassionate action among organizations and communities across the globe to reduce suffering at all levels in communities. After we determined the assessment criteria, individual organizers were asked to monitor a component of the assessment. We also asked for volunteers to research criteria established by the United Nations Sustainability Goals, The World We Want Project, World Food Program and Zero Hunger Project to see that all questions and concerns were considered in the assessment.

The next step was to get a team to address the overall design of the Tool Box before submitting it to Kansas’ Community Tool Box for the initial “mash.” Simultaneously we began to consider how to present the Tool Box within a structural context---we arrived at four phases---and to create a section on the Charter website that would facilitate easy access for anyone who wanted to use the Tool Box.

Taking Action

The Charter's efforts continue and our intention is that processes additional tools will be added to the Tool Box. Strategies for moving forward in 2015 and beyond include four broad directions.

  1. Host Charter Tool Box workshops in strategic cities in the U.S., Western Europe, Mexico and Canada. These sessions are being designed to bring in a number of adjoining communities to the location of the workshop. Seven workshops are being planned for 2015, including two at the Parliament of World Religions in October.
  2. Work with various city and community focused networks, such as International Cities of Peace, the Sister Cities movement and others to expand their knowledge of the work of the Charter so that we might bring new communities into our network.
  3. Provide support to existing and emerging geographic hubs for connecting communities by introducing the contents of the Tool Box.
  4. Develop a mentor program for new community initiatives.

IMG-5225 Evaluation

The starting point for creating the Tool Box was knowledge that we were not receiving action plans to correspond to a community affirming the Charter. We knew that we needed to move the signing of the Charter from a symbolic act to a strategic reality.

It has been five months since the launching of the Tool Box so we believe that within 12 months we should be able to see that 20 compassionate communities will be able to provide evaluations on the following aspects of their plans:

  • Strategic goals
  • Timeline for delivery of goals and evaluation activities, including impact on community
  • Involvement of local partners

The Charter itself is engaged in executing a quantitative evaluation survey with communities using the Tool Box to help evaluate the feasibility of the tools, the process used to share the Tool Box, and support given to implement it locally.
Above photo: Completing Phase Two of the Tool Box in Botswana: Focus & Commit

IMG-5226 Sustaining the work

We are involved in a number of activities that will result in the continuation of the expansion and sustainability of our compassionate communities initiatives, future development of the Charter Tool Box, and evaluation of all aspects of the communities movement within the Charter. Here are the issues we are working on:

  • Designing a community storytelling plan with one of our partners, Pyramid Communications, to publicize stories that come out of the community initiatives; this effort is resulting in an editorial plan for the Charter
  • Pursuing coalition building with NGOs that work with community/city development at the United Nations
  • Working with our Board of Trustees to connect with major foundations that support community initiatives
  • Submitting a grant to USAID to expand the work of Compassionate Pakistan
  • Working with two of our partners, Asoka Changemakers and Threshold Collaborative to create a school program as part of our community initiatives

Above photo: St. Augustine Compassion Community Team acknowledging the City’s Proclamation of making February a month of Compassion and Forgiveness.


Up until the launching of the Charter Community Tool Box, the Charter had in place a list of criteria that was complicated and did not offer much direction on how to accomplish grassroots organizing.

Today, we have a marked change. In Australia, there is a multiple-community organizing campaign that was initiated in January that involves seven large cities and smaller group of towns—each using the Tool Box as their primary guide. In Seattle, the organizing team is using the Tool Box to deal with four issues: economic justice, homelessness, restorative justice and youth empowerment; each of these issues is part of the Charter’s assessment. In Cornwall County, UK, a community organized prior to the launch of the Tool Box, individual towns are now utilizing the procedural steps and Tool Box to deal with their concerns—primarily those of healthcare.


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