Goal 21: Grow as a Compassionate City

Goal Description: 

Increase participation in compassionate activities within Louisville Metro Government and throughout the City of Louisville by engaging in local, regional, and national compassion programs and partnerships, with a target of 750,000 acts of compassion annually (meaning every citizen engages in at least one act of compassion each year).

Update / Why is this important?: 

"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. There’s a role for all of us in making sure no one is left behind or goes wanting." - Mayor Greg Fischer

On November 11th, 2011, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed a resolution committing to a multi-year Compassionate Louisville campaign – making Louisville an international compassionate city, the largest city in America with that distinction.

Health Legend

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Goal or initiative is not started and is overdue or goal or initiative is in progress, but behind schedule and has an issue that will affect completion date.
Goal or initiative is in progress, but behind schedule and has an issue that may affect completion date.

Initiative Health: What are we doing to accomplish this?

Create a program that is embedded within the fabric of the City of Louisville such that giving and volunteerism is inherent in our City's culture.

1.1) Plan Give-A-Day 2016 with a goal to increase the number of Give-A-Day (GAD) Acts of Compassion by 10% above the previous year. Youth Board (details in 1.2) are meeting regularly and have created a strong action plan for 2016 GAD & We Day.

1.2) Give-A-Day Board In progress, searching for Chair of the Board.  Successfully created a strong Youth Board, made up of parochial, private and JCPS Students, working to enhance the GAD Program and We Day Program.

Create programs within Louisville Metro Government so that citizens, outside organizations, and Metro employees have opportunities to commit acts of compassion.

2.1) Encourage employee participation in Give-A-Day, Metro Mentoring, Charitable Giving, and volunteerism.

2.2) Utilize the Mayor's Volunteer Program Team (MVP Team) to execute this initiative and implement vetted recommendations.

2.3) Hire a Chief Services Officer/Compassion Officer per the recommendation of the MVP Team & Compassion Retreat Team.

2.4) Procure a volunteer software per the recommendation of the MVP Team.

2.5) Draft a plan for an internal compassion audit per the recommendation of the Compassion Retreat Team.

Support and encourage the compassionate programs of organizations and individuals throughout our community.

3.1) Support the Compassionate Schools Project
Metro is supporting the Compassionate Schools Project (providing socio-emotional, coping, nutrition, physical wellbeing, and mindfulness skills). Teachers have been hired and the program has been implemented in three schools since beginning of 2015 fall term. Fundraising efforts continue and Mayor Fischer is attending activities to raise awareness. 

3.2) Support the Heart of Gold TV series (focus on interviewing and promoting local non-profit organizations and compassion activities)
The TV series has had a successful first year and WHAS has agreed to produce the show for the next year. The show continues to bring great exposure to our non profit organizations and the great work they are doing throughout the year.


Support the compassionate programs and services provided by Louisville Metro Government departments.

4.1) Reduce homelessness: Department of Community Services will assist in reducing veteran homelessness in Louisville to “functional zero”* by 2016, and family homelessness in Louisville to “functional zero”* by 2020. "Functional zero" is the number that can be moved into permanent housing per month (National Zero2016). 
Community Services Director represents Metro Government on the Rx: Housing Veterans Task Force along with the local Veterans Administration, the Coalition for the Homeless, Volunteers of America, and other providers.
By November 2015, the Task Force reduced veteran homelessness to a level where all currently homeless veterans can expect a housing placement within 90 days.  The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has reviewed Louisville’s work to classify the city as having met the federal requirements of ending veteran homelessness.
On November 11, HUD Regional Administrator attended Louisville Metro’s Veterans’ Day Parade on behalf of HUD Secretary Julian Castro to announce Louisville has succeeded in reaching functional zero. Veterans homelessness goal has been met and achieved with an understanding of continuous attention to resources and decrease in housing placement from 90 days to 30 days.

4.2) Provide discharge planning to Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC) high system utilizers and vulnerable inmates with a history of mental illness and/or substance abuse challenges. In July 2015, LMDC implemented the Familiar Faces Action and Community Transition program (F2ACT) designed to provided discharge planning and services for mentally ill and duel diagnosis justice involved individuals who refuse or are not in-custody long enough to connect to ACT. This program consists of providing seasonally appropriate clothing, health insurance, supply of medication, State issued ID card, emergency and transitional housing, warm community handoff whereby "clients" are transported by Corrections Officers to that housing, hygiene items, resource and community case management connectivity. Since July, 89 inmates have been released with some form of discharge planning. 

4.3) Improve and increase the available options for animals in need. Action steps: 1) A team has been implemented to research and draft a Disaster Preparedness Action Plan for pets and livestock needing to evacuate an area, including partnerships and other necessary support structures, and we are currently restructuring the Metro Animal Services Disaster Plan including a new emergency phone call tree and Response Team. 2) Identify and track the number of pet friendly housing/shelter options: affordable housing units, apartments, hotels, shelters and Tarc buses. We have identified 36 different local hotels in the Jefferson County area that are pet-friendly. We are researching Property Management companies that encourage pet owners to rent properties. We have identified and working with 117 different Red Cross Shelters to implement safe pet sheltering options. 3) Continue and improve efforts towards adoption, veterinarian care, foster care, spay/neuter, rabies vaccinations and licensing compliance. As of Jan 2015, Live Release Rate is 83%, our goal was 63%. 4) Schedule rabies clinics to be held every month in different sectors of the city. Get buy in from the city council members to support the efforts in their district - 3 Public Rabies Vaccine Clinics are to be held in different Council Districts throughout the city within the next quarter. 


Establish and sustain partnerships to support the creation and growth of compassion projects and events in Louisville. Here are the action steps that fall under this initiative:

  • 5.1) Compassionate Louisville: This partnership formed in 2011, continues to flourish with focus on the Coordinating Circle and the creation of a Compassion Toolkit to include the creation/documentation of history, metrics, partnership needs & processes, and communication tools & technology. The partnership will also engage in conversations around the possibility of a Compassion Board.
  • 5.2) UofL Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging: Partnership formed through Compassionate Louisville, currently working on the creation of a Compassion Metric. Metric will undergo next phase of review in December 2015.
  • 5.3) Center for Compassionate Cities: Approximately 40 cities have signed the Charter for Compassion and inquiries from individuals and cities continue to come to our attention. Mayor Fischer is playing a major role in getting other cities to sign the charter and become involved in compassion work as he travels around US participating on compassion panels. 
  • 5.4) Festival of Faiths (FoF): Center for Interfaith Relations (CIR) continues to be a great partner of the cities with their annual FOF event which brings people from all around the world to Louisville sharing faiths and compassion work.  We work closely year round with CIR staff to encourage and assist with each other's ongoing compassionate work.