Compassionate Cities Mission Statement

On 11-11-11, Louisville, Kentucky declared itself a Compassionate City and committed to a 10-year Compassionate City Campaign.

Vision: A community and world becoming more and more compassionate.

Mission: To champion and nurture the growth of compassion. We ask: ‘What does compassion want for Louisville?’


Compassion. This is the shared purpose and principle. Compassion is common ground and a unifying force in our polarized world. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect. Compassion is the bridge between internal practice and external change.

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” -Henri Nouwen

Beauty. Compassion calls for a beautiful morality. It seeks to see the beauty in what is, and to incorporate the shadow. If a morality has beauty, it is compassionate.

Inclusion. Anyone and everyone who commits to compassion is welcomed.

Empowerment. This campaign is about empowering people to make a difference in their own life and the lives of others. Compassion is not pity.

Transparency. There is no political agenda. This effort exists to enable compassionate living to help the citizens of our community reap the benefits that come from living a compassionate life—which are many.

Universally Positive. “The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” -St Francis of Assisi. This effort is solely designed to advance compassionate action and will have no opinion on outside issues.

Social Innovation. Individuals and groups are free to embody compassion in their own ways. Social innovation is encouraged.

Paying it forward. Anyone who participates “owes” no one anything other than to “pay it forward.” People are encouraged to participate simply to experience first hand the thrill and joy associated with compassionate living.

HospitalityWe will welcome guests in the name of compassion. Local, national and international guests will be encouraged to come to exchange ideas and practices.

Abundance. What we have is enough if we share and if we allow it to flow. We have the capacity to provide what we need in the face of the human condition.

Awareness/Understanding. We strive to keep compassion in our daily thoughts and practice, and to understand the meaning of compassion and its relation to charity, justice and good works. We become increasingly aware of how we practice compassion and of opportunities to grow our practice of compassion.

Intention. We make a conscious choice to continually grow both our commitment and capacity for compassion. Our commitment to compassion moves us to practice compassion where we are able.

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