The Compassion Games is a year round non-profit initiative with the fiscal sponsorship of the Compassionate Action Network.
Compassion Games International offers fun and creative ways to ignite and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. In the five annual Compassion Games, competition becomes coopetition as teams and individuals challenge one another to strive together to make our planet a better place to live through community service, acts of kindness, and raising monies for local causes. The Games amplify what is already working in our communities and inspires increased engagement, leading to new activities that bring compassion to life and improve our well-being.
The Compassion Games adapt creatively to any community who wants to embrace and play them. Since 2012, players of the Compassion Games have served over 1,500,000 people in 34 countries by more than 400,000 volunteer players. The Games have been played between cities, businesses, faith and interfaith organizations, schools, and even prisons. Participating teams in the Compassion Games perform acts of kindness and service, reporting on the number of volunteers, hours of service, money raised for local causes, and the number of people served, providing measurable results that can be improved upon, year after year.
Players can participate in the Compassion Games as an individual by performing acts of kindness, such as visiting someone who is sick, acknowledging the kindness of a stranger, cleaning up litter, or volunteering to support a local cause.
Players can also join or organize a Team that may include friends, families, co-workers, classmates, congregants, or our neighbors, and can organize or join service projects to give back to our communities. Service projects can strengthen what is already taking place or lead to new projects, such as distributing clothing to the homeless, planting a community garden (and donating the food!), or helping a neighbor with home repairs.
After the acts of compassion and service projects have been completed, teams and individuals report and reflect on their activities and outcomes on a Compassion Report Map to measure impact and inspire others to get involved. Through these Compassion Reports, we are able to measure and benchmark the collective impact that our actions have on our world, allowing us to challenge ourselves to be more compassionate as we increase our capacity to bring compassion to life, year after year!
The following six impacts offer a way to appreciate and anticipate the benefits of participation in the Compassion Games:
Catalyst to Ignite Engagement: The Compassion Games reframe play and competition by turning “competitive altruism” and “friendly-competition” into “coopetition” amongst and between different teams to create excitement and motivate interest in participating.
Amplifier of What’s Already Working: The Compassion Games can strengthen and amplify what is already working in a community. Weaving together existing events and activities from different groups and organizations catalyzes a shared collective impact. The Compassion Games also inspires new events and activities that build upon existing efforts.
Framework and Baseline for Measuring Compassion Strength: The Compassion Games measure community service through the number of volunteers, hours of service, monies raised for local causes, and numbers of people served. Results create a baseline for building a team’s compassion impact and value over time, strengthening our individual and collective “compassion muscles.”.
Engaging Environment for Reflection and Learning: The Compassion Games offer a means for engagement and reflection which transfers the experiences from the Games to the real world. Composing and sharing Compassion Reports that include these reflections helps players build the skills needed to act more effectively and compassionately with ourselves and our communities.
Platform for Cultivating Open Participation: The Compassion Games offer an open-source, “Do-It-Ourselves” creative platform. The Games tap into a growing capacity and desire to engage with compassion in ways that go beyond theory and passive consumption. The Games are open, participatory, peer-driven, and a thriving example of open-source collaboration.
Connection to a Global Movement: The Compassion Games are a part of an international compassion movement that inspires participation in something greater than oneself. The Compassion Games help us to understand, connect, and learn from each other while co-creating a global culture of kindness.
The Compassion Games have inspired innovative and meaningful ways to engage communities. For example, Metro Detroit used the Games to identify many of the places in Detroit that they cherish and love. The goal was to heighten appreciation of their physical environment, their sense of social cohesion, and their experience of safety and peace within their neighborhoods as a regenerative response to racial violence. Read the “Love the Hell Out of Metro Detroit” story here.
In the 2015 Annual Games, community organizer Charles Barker and his team Compassionate Richardson-Fort Worth in Texas – which included over 200 volunteers from 15 non-profits and 15 houses of worship – packed over 20,000 meals in just one day to feed children in need. When Chick-fil-A caught word of their astonishing acts of compassion, they contributed an additional 250,000 meals with the help of 7 high schools. This led to the launch of an effort that used the service power of 340 schools to pack a remarkable 1,000,000 meals to help feed children across the United States. Read the “From 20,000 to 250,000 to 1,252,160 Meals Feeding Children Everywhere!” story here.
One of the most touching stories from the 2015 Annual Games came out of Louisville, KY when acts of hate defaced the Louisville Islamic Center in red graffiti just days before they were to receive an award – the first Compassion Bench – from the Partnership for Compassionate Louisville, the team participating in the Compassion Games. Thousands of people from all backgrounds showed up to support the Islamic Center in this difficult time, helping to remove vandalism and transforming hate into a powerful healing that brought the local community closer together. Read the “Acts of Intolerance Make Compassion Bench More Meaningful Than Ever” story here.
Educator Rahbin Shyne has used the Compassion Games to bring about compassionate “climate change” at her high school in south Los Angeles over the past two years. In 2015, former gang leaders participated in the Games and channeled their energy into a force for good. Listen to Rahbin Shyne describe the impact of playing the Compassion Games at her school.
Mayor Greg Fischer from Louisville organized Give-A-Day during the Mayor’s 2015 Week of Service where 50,778 meals were packed by volunteers for Kids Against Hunger, 6 abandoned houses were renovated/new homes were built and 12,418 volunteers helped to clean up Louisville. Read the story about Mayor Greg Fischer and Give-a-Day here.
In North Thurston County, Washington State, 50 schools participated in 2014 by forming a currency, called “Coins of Compassion”, given to anyone who committed an act of kindness, whether that be a student, teacher, or administrator. Read the Coins of Compassion in Schools story here.
A women’s correctional facility in California has played the Compassion Games for three years. In 2014 over 10,000 acts of kindness were reported and there was an unprecedented 11 days without violence. Read how the Games were played in a Women’s Correctional Facility here. Read a 2015 the Good News Network story about the Games played in prisons.
In 2008, Seattle hosted a five day, free public event called the Seeds of Compassion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and many other luminaries. Remarkably, it turned out to be the largest event in the history of Washington State. 2008 is also the year author and religious scholar Karen Armstrong won the TED Prize, of which winners are given one wish to change the world. Karen wished for a “Charter for Compassion” for our time, a Charter that would globally ratify the Golden Rule across cultures, religions, and secular traditions. In 2009, the Charter for Compassion was unveiled. In 2010, Seattle became the first city in the world to affirm the Charter for Compassion and embarked upon a ten-year campaign to transform itself into a compassionate city. (To date, over 350 communities around the world have also affirmed the Charter for Compassion and initiated Compassion Campaigns.)
Outside of Seattle, one city and its Mayor were particularly outstanding in taking on this challenge: the city of Louisville, Kentucky and its Mayor, Greg Fischer. The Mayor of Louisville boldly (and playfully) claimed that his city was “the most compassionate city in the world, and would be so until proven otherwise.” The City of Seattle responded with a resounding “What?! Game on!” and the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest were born. (Note: Nobody can lose the Compassion Games, and the more people play, the more people win!)
In 2012, there were two teams in the Compassion Games, Seattle and Louisville. In 2013, two teams grew to 19, and in 2014, there were 159 teams. In 2015, over 200 teams from around the world directly served over 500,000 people.
For the past 4 years, the Compassion Games has sustained itself on grass-roots ruggedness, small philanthropic donations and sponsors. From students challenging one another to bring compassion into schools, to people in prisons showing kindness to one another with unprecedented incidences of no violence, the Games have surprised the world at their ability to adapt creatively to any community who wants to embrace and play them.
Compassion is an antidote to the fear, disconnection, and social isolation of our time. Scientific research abounds in revealing the intrinsic human necessity for compassion to flourish in our personal, professional, and civic lives. As a profound source of power within each of us, playing with compassion inspires us to connect authentically with one another, rejuvenating our spirits as we actively live into a positive vision of our world, together.
Dr. Lesa Walker: As a physician, for over 30 years Lesa has worked extensively in the field of public health and preventive medicine with a focus on designing public health service systems for children and youth with disabilities at the state and national levels. For 24+ years she was the Medical Director of the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Services Program and served as the Title V CSHCN Director at the Texas Department of State Health Services. Currently, she continues working part-time as a medical consultant, however my energy has shifted to a direct focus on compassion. She serves as an Education Program Associate of the Charter for Compassion International and as a member of the Leadership Team of the Compassion Games International. Lesa made a shift in her work life to allow her to devote more creative energy to engaging people in the practice “3D” Compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth).
Joey Crotty: The youngest of the Compassion Games team by at least a century, Joey utilizes his talents as a hopeless storyteller and writer, creative strategist, and rogue techy to elevate the evolutionary capacity of consciousness and compassion in the world. Joey is an undergraduate researcher and co-founder of the Consciousness Club at the University of Washington – Bothell. He is a major organizer toward the creation of the Center for Education and Research in Consciousness (CERC), the first consciousness program of its kind at a public university. Joey enjoys spontaneous song-making, belly laughter, all of nature, and learning from the wisdom of little ones to get out there and play like his life depended on it.
Jon Ramer: Founder and “First First Follower” of Compassion Games International, Ramer was moved by the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to focus his entrepreneurial energies on non-profit community organizing. In 2008, Ramer was an organizational participant in The Seeds of Compassion, an event aligned with a visit to Seattle by H.H. Dalai Lama. As Executive Director of the Compassionate Action Network, Ramer conceived and implemented the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities. He is the co-author, with Phil Lane, Jr., of “Deep Social Networks and the Digital Fourth Way.” You can learn more about Jon here.
Phyllis Shulman: Phyllis Shulman recently completed sixteen years as Senior Policy Advisor to Seattle City Council Member Richard Conlin. She was responsible for strategic policy recommendations, civic engagement, and development of new initiatives on a myriad of issues effecting Seattle and the region. Her expertise in policy development and facilitation of community interests has been utilized on a number of the more complex issues including strengthening the local and regional food system, the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, State Route 520 Bridge Replacement, and Neighborhood Planning. She was involved in designing and implementing local food system and food policy initiatives, economic renewal and development strategies, climate change and adaptation policies, Urban Forestry Stewardship Plan, emergency preparedness initiatives, recovery planning and a Resilient City Strategy. Phyllis is a founding member of the Puget Sound Regional Food Policy Council as well as the State Food Policy Roundtable. Phyllis has a broad background having worked in the non-profit, private, government and education sectors. She is currently working as an independent consultant in local and regional food systems, community resilience and compassionate action.
Sommer Joy Albertsen: Sommer is an Energy Brilliance Coach, Nia Brown Belt Teacher, and Compassion Activist with her own business Island Joy Wellness. She is a also a core member at Compassion Games International as Leader of The Women & Girls League. Sommer’s intention is to reveal a social justice movement that takes fun seriously, turns the volume up on joyful acts of service, develop the most loving diverse community of women & girl leaders to thrive, and a positive vibration of change in the process.
Andy Smallman: Andy Smallman is the founding director of Puget Sound Community School, an independent school in Seattle for students in grades 6-12. With his wife, Melinda Shaw, and a dedicated group of parents, he started the school in 1994 to create a model for a style of education that helps students build on their strengths and nurtures their intrinsic motivation. Since the founding of PSCS, Andy has facilitated classes on the subject of kindness, the purpose of which is to help people connect to their true nature and increase peace in the world.
Dan Kranzler: Dan Kranzler is President of the Kirlin Charitable Foundation, which he formed with his family in 1999 to formalize their commitment and efforts to fulfill their passion for children, education, and the health and strength of families. The foundation works as a catalyst and innovative partner in positive social change toward a vision of a global society, identified first and foremost by the grace of its empathy and compassion.
Mr. Kranzler is a wireless and technology industry entrepreneur who for 30 years has been managing, supporting, and financing start–up high–tech companies. Mr. Kranzler has been involved in senior management roles at a number of communications and Internet companies including McCaw Cellular, Accessline Communications, and Hands–On Mobile.
Dr. Dot Maver: Dorothy J. Maver, Ph.D. is an educator and peacebuilder whose keynote is inspiring cooperation on behalf of the common good. Dot is Project Director with Kosmos Associates, a Founding Trustee of the National Peace Academy USA, and is a founder and board member of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures of Peace, and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding. Her work in education, politics and grassroots community organizing is focused on applied peacebuilding utilizing a shared responsibility and shared leadership model. From 2005 – 2007 Dot served as Executive Director of The Peace Alliance and Campaign for a US Department of Peace, and prior to that she was the National Campaign Manager for Kucinich for President 2004. In the world of fast-pitch softball Dr. Dot is known for her revolutionary fast-pitch hitting technique, The Maver Method: Secrets of Hitting Success; she is co-author of the book Conscious Education: The Bridge to Freedom; is a Fellow with the World Business Academy, and serves on the board of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in NYC. Dot also serves on the United Nations International Day of Peace NGO Education Peace Team and the International Cities of Peace Advisory Council.
Dr. James Doty: James R. Doty, M.D. is Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and Founder and Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (http://ccare.stanford.edu) at Stanford University. The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, of which His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the founding benefactor, aims to support rigorous research on compassion. Dr. Doty collaborates with scientists from a number of disciplines examining the neural bases for compassion and altruism. In addition, Dr. Doty is an inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. As a philanthropist, he supports a number of charitable organizations focused on peace and healthcare throughout the world. Additionally, he supports a variety of research initiatives and has provided scholarships and endowed chairs at multiple universities. He serves on the board of a number of non-profit organizations including as Chairman of the Dalai Lama Foundation and is on the International Advisory Board of the Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey: Dr. Joel & Michelle Levey’s integral and pioneering work spans many disciplines including: developing healthy high performing organizational teams and cultures; leadership development & change resilience; integrative & mind body medicine; noetic & mind sciences; peak performance training & laboratory research on extra-ordinary human potential.
Over the past thirty years, their work in the world has inspired leaders and teams in over 200 leading organizations around the globe including: NASA, World Bank, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Intuit, Washington Mutual Bank, Providence Medical Centers, PetroCanada, Shell Oil, Phillips, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Weyerhaeuser, Menninger Foundation, Boeing, MIT, The Institute for Health & Productivity Management, and SRI International. They have directed clinical programs for Group Health HMO and Children’s Medical Center in Seattle, lectured at dozens of Universities and medical schools, served as faculty at Antioch & Bastyr Universities, and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad India, and as core faculty for International Center for Organization Design and the World Business Academy. The Leveys are co-founders of: WisdomatWork.com; InnerWork Technologies, Inc.; The International Center for Corporate Culture & Organizational Health; SportsMind, Inc.; and the International Center for Contemplative Inquiry. Read about Wisdom at Work.
Dr. Leslie Meehan: Dr. Leslie Meehan, MSEE PhD, is a leadership consultant and co-creator of collaborative networks committed to community healing and transformation. She has over 25 years experience in strategic planning, intuitive process, systems architecture, management, and peer facilitation in business and non-profits. Leslie co-founded the Gaiafield Project, a metanetwork hosting global peace practices for social change and transformation. She founded the Thriving Resilient Communities Funding Circle (TRCF) and Collaboratory(TRCC) whose network leaders fund and build sustainable local community systems in hundreds of North American communities. Leslie is grateful to be working with these wonderful people and other leading social changemakers like the Compassion Games.
Fish (Astronaut): Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words? Behold… a thousand words from fish!
Jim McCarthy: Jim McCarthy is blessed with a proven ability to see the future, to create value around what he sees, and to thereby bring the future closer. While at Microsoft and Bell Laboratories, he saw there was a better way to build products by focusing on the team around him. He used this observation to create one of the greatest Microsoft teams, the Visual C++ team. Much of Microsoft adopted his ideas as articulated in the seminal book, Dynamics of Software Development from Microsoft Press in 1995 (and a new 2006 edition). His approach and observations have been shared through many speaking engagements. They formed the basis of Microsoft Solutions Framework and were a catalyst for and the true progenitor of the Extreme and Agile programming movements.
Jim partners with his wife, Michele McCarthy, to run McCarthy Technologies, Inc., which provides technology and consulting that enables organizations and teams to consistently generate the greatest possible results. The key to these results is an innovative, proprietary technology called “The Core”. It encapsulates and makes accessible the best interpersonal collaboration technology currently available and has been thoroughly researched, tested and applied over the past twelve years. Just as Jim’s earlier approaches helped form Microsoft’s successful culture, and ultimately gave rise to the XP and Agile movements, his current research into The Core is poised to help a new generation of organizations achieve their highest potential.
Kunal Sood: Kunal is a global health scientist and researcher with a special focus on global mental health using positive psychology. His career has focused mainly on the healthcare and wellness sectors for the past decade. He’s served in management and executive roles at two multinational companies in India and the US. He brings a rare combination of deep insight and practical business sense with the ability to mobilize financial and human resources. He has considerable hands-on experience working with underserved populations and is an advocate for human rights and social action initiatives, with an unwavering commitment to making a positive difference in the emerging fields of global health and positive psychology. His specialties include positive psychology, global health, transpersonal and integral psychology, palliative care counseling, obesity treatment and prevention, design management, and strategic branding and marketing. Read his Google+ profile and his LinkedIn profile. Follow his Twitter feed.
Lia Mandelbaum: As Culture of Compassion Coach, Lia is a journalist who, after first writing about the Games, brought them to the High School in downtown Los Angeles where served as an intern social worker. It was her great success on her campus that got the attention of the LA Department of Mental Health who have since introduced the Games to all of their area school representatives. Lia has also provided great examples and opportunities for other teachers around the world to model. Lia is currently completing her Masters thesis on the Compassion Games.
Marc Ian Barasch: Marc’s landmark book, Field Notes on the Compassionate Life (2005), was Nobelist Desmond Tutu called a “compulsory read for all,” was a major inspiration for the Compassionate Cities movement. Marc went on to found the Green World Campaign (www.greenworld.org) to ”ReGreen the World in One Generation.” Inspired by his concept of “green compassion,” this global charity has planted millions of trees on degraded land in three continents through award-winning programs of holistic, community-based landscape restoration, poverty alleviation, food security, and climate change resilience. Marc’s media career includes editing major national magazines; writing and producing award-winning global television (his “One Child, One Voice” for Turner Broadcasting was seen by 2 billion people); co-producing NPR’s “E-Town;” and co-starring in a film, “I Am,” inspired by his work. Marc is CEO of Green World Ventures, whose goal is to help feed Africa and the world with the superfood moringa tree.
Marilyn Turkovich: Marilyn Turkovich is the program director for the Charter for Compassion International, the organization that has taken the words of the Charter “planted” by Karen Armstrong after she won the TED prize, and is nurturing it into a global movement. Marilyn has been involved in education at all levels and have been a curriculum designer for schools and businesses across the US and internationally. She’s written extensively in the fields of multicultural, intercultural, and global education. Marilyn was the former chair of the National Council for the Social Studies Textbook Committee and the Committee on Teaching about South Asia.
Rahbin Shyne: Compassion Games International Education Coach- Author of the Adventure in Compassion titles, Shyne is an active proponent of transforming the educational setting through compassion. As Compassion Games International’s Education Coach, Shyne is active in recruiting and supporting the Schools and Colleges playing in the School League. In addition to bringing compassion to the education setting, she is Executive Director of Earth Mothers, a nonprofit organization which promotes compassion for others through charitable giving and compassion for the planet through sustainable living.
Sande Hart: Head Coach of Compassion Games International, Hart also serves as Chair for the United Religions Initiative (URI) North America region and is president of the Spiritual and Religious Alliance for Hope (S.A.R.A.H.), a women’s interfaith community building organization with the goal of empower women and community, end religiously motivated violence, and to promote a culture of peace.
Sun Dance Chief Rueben George: Of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and director of community development, is an Indigenous community organizer and spiritual leader. He is a Sun Dance Chief and the grandson of Chief Dan George, the Oscar nominated and universally respected First Nations spiritual leader. Rueben started his career by founding and creating Dukes Youth Healing Centre 19 years ago. Rueben learned very quickly that the foundation for his success in his work would be his culture and spirituality. Rueben’s grandfather taught him “anything you learn in college or university on healing there is a First Nation teaching that says the same thing.” Based on the teachings of his elders, Rueben created a reference library of successful psychological healing programs and translated them into First Nation’s culture and spirituality. As well as being a Sun Dance Chief Pipe Carrier and sweat lodge leader, Rueben is a co-founder of the Nawtsamaat Alliance and the Campaign to Protect the Sacred.
Chief Phil Lane, Jr | Board of Directors.: Chairman of Compassion Games International, Lane is an internationally recognized Indigenous leader and a traditionally recognized Hereditary Chief and Elder. He is the founder and chairman of the Four World’s International Institute (FWII), which works to build partnerships with all nations and peoples. He is an enrolled member of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations, and is a citizen of both Canada and the United States.
Gary Zukav: Gary Zukav’s gentle presence, humor, and insightful wisdom have inspired millions to realize their soul’s greatest potential. A master teacher and the eloquent author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers, Gary is dedicated to the current extraordinary transformation in human consciousness—an unprecedented threshold in the human experience. This transformation is no less than a Revolution of the Soul, one that touches the heart of all humanity and is based on spiritual growth, conscious choices, and a deep celebration and reverence for Life.