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Louisville Becomes International Compassionate City

Friday November 11, 2011

Louisville largest in U.S. to earn the distinction

Pursuing his pledge to make Louisville a more caring city, Mayor Greg Fischer today signed a resolution committing to a multi-year Compassionate Louisville campaign. Fischer’s action means that Louisville is recognized as an international compassionate city, the largest city in America with that distinction.

The Compassionate Louisville resolution was approved Thursday evening by the Louisville Metro Council and signed by Fischer at a ceremony held next to the Abraham Lincoln memorial in Waterfront Park.

“Being a compassionate city is both the right thing and the necessary thing to do to ensure that we take care of all of our citizens,” Fischer said. “There’s a role for all of us in making sure no one is left behind or goes wanting.”

Compassion can take many forms, Fischer said, ranging from shoveling snow from the sidewalk of an elderly neighbor to helping read to a struggling student. He urged individuals and organizations to begin planning now for the Give A Day week of volunteer service, April 15-22, 2012. People wanting to get involved can register at http://www.mygiveaday.com.

Fischer lso announced that Louisville is likely to soon be named a “Model City of Compassion” by the International Institute for Compassionate Cities.

“I'm impressed with what you've accomplished in Louisville, both in terms of your organization of the elements to mobilize the campaign as well as the broad constituency you've involved. What you’ve done and are moving forward in doing shows clear leadership,” said Ari Cowan, co-director of the International Institute, who joined Fischer at the signing ceremony.

Earning an international reputation as a city of compassion will help set Louisville apart, identifying our community as a place where people want to live, and companies want to locate and grow their business,” Fischer said.

To help develop and implement Louisville’s city-wide campaign for compassion, Fischer is creating the Partnership for a Compassionate Louisville which will be co-chaired by Tom Williams, an attorney with Stoll Keenon Ogden, and Sadiqa Reynolds, Fischer’s chief of community building. The mission of the partnership is to earn model city status for Louisville in 2012.

The campaign will include developing alliances with key local and international organizations and groups that focus on compassion. Fischer said Louisville is already home to a “critical mass” of such organizations including the Muhammad Ali Center, Center for Interfaith Relations, Presbyterian USA headquarters, Edge Outreach, and universities and seminaries located here.