Author Archive for JonRamer

Points of Light Kicks Off the Compassion Relay #CompassionUnites

The Compassion Relay begins with a brilliant point of light, an intentional spark that arises out of the darkness. Each of us is a point of light. 

The Compassion Relay is a featured way to play in the Global Unity Games from 9/11 through 9/22. The Compassion Relay is made of a dream team of “Champions of Compassion” that are collaborating and celebrating the goodness and unity in the world. The theme of the Compassion Relay is #CompassionUnites

The purpose of the Global Unity Games is to create “global unity” in our lifetime. We define global unity as a world of people with different backgrounds, cultures, nationalities and belief systems committed to living, learning, playing and working well together. (You can sign up to play in the Global Unity games here.)

The perfect “dream team” relay partner to start this off is Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Through affiliates in 250 cities in more than 30 countries, and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and companies, Points of Light is creating a culture of volunteerism, one that celebrates the power of service.

Points of Light are dedicated to engaging more people and resources in solving serious social problems through voluntary service. Check out this video amplifying the mission and vision here on you tube:



The Compassion Relay kicks off on 9/10 with Points of Light, the largest organization dedicated to service in the world. Points of Light will be passing the Compassion Torch to 9/11 Day on the National Day of Service and Remembrance they established, 9/11.

On Saturday, September 10th, Points of Light will be at the National Mall in Washington DC. They are organizing a service fair to encourage others to get involved in community service as well as honoring veterans, first responders, and their “Frontline Families”. This service fair is part of a national commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 through service, engaging thousands in volunteer projects that address a social need in their community. 

Points of Light will start the Compassion Relay and pass the virtual Compassion Torch to David Paine, co-founder of 9/11 Day Tomorrow Together in New York City.

“We are proud to kick off the Compassion Relay,” says Malikah Berry, senior vice president for Impact Programs at Points of Light. “Through volunteer service, Americans connected with the spirit of unity that arose in the aftermath of 9/11, and the Global Unity Games offer more opportunities for people to engage nationwide in positive change.”

Four-time Olympic Gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross will be with David Paine in New York City on 9/11 as well as with other members of Compassionate NYC. Together they will pass the Compassion Torch to Compassionate Silicon Valley who will accept it, engage in their community in meaningful ways, and pass it forward.

You can connect with Points of Light on Facebook (@BeAPointOfLight) and Twitter (@pointsoflight). (Find their website here and their YouTube channel here.)

The Compassion Games is a partner of Points of Light and was involved in the recent ServiceUnites conference that took place in Detroit. In June 2017 the Points of Light ServiceUnites conference will be taking place in Seattle. We hope to see you there!

Already signed up and playing in the Global Unity Games?

Share your experiences on the Compassion Report Map here!

Ms. Lia Mandelbaum and a Compassionate Uprising

One of the great joys of organizing the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest is meeting remarkable people who take the Games and do truly amazing things. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Lia Mandelbaum, a writer for the Jewish Journal and a resounding Champion of Compassion.

The following interview with Lia is organized into short segments highlighting some of the incredible things she was able to accomplish with the Games. (The complete interview is available at the bottom of this article.)

How Lia Got Involved with the Compassion Games and the Games in Prison [1:39]

Lia’s path first crossed with the Compassion Games when she took on the assignment of writing about them for the Jewish Journal. Her article got the attention of Shayna Lester, an interfaith minister who brought the Compassion Games into a prison in California. Shanya asked Lia to help get the word out about the remarkable outcome of hosting the Compassion Games in a women’s prison. During the 11 days of the Annual Compassion Games, 4,600 acts of compassion had been committed without the occurrence of a single act of violence. Lia went on to learn how the Games were used in the prison with a set of remarkable tactics to bring them life. For example, the head gang leaders took on the role of “Compassion Ambassadors”, making it okay for others to show compassion without it being held against them. Over those 11 days, the Games helped transform the entire culture of the prison. As Lia states in this segment: “When you treat people like human beings they can rise to the occasion, even people that you totally doubt.”

How Lia Brought the Games to Roybal High School in Pico-Union Los Angeles [0:37]

Lia went on to write her masters thesis on the impact of the Compassion Games in prison (Read: A Case Study on the Compassion Games) and brought the Compassion Games to the high school where she worked as a teacher and therapist. Lia shared the article she wrote with her supervisor, a psychiatric social worker. Her supervisor didn’t even finish reading the article before she knew she wanted to bring the Games to the high school because of their culture changing capabilities: “If this can transform a prison community, it can absolutely help our community,” she said.

Its Not Always Easy to Show Compassion [0:28]

Yet, this is not just any high school. The Edward R. Roybal High School is in the Pico Union area of Los Angeles, which has the highest concentration of gang activity in LA. They are doing remarkable things to respond to these challenges. As Lia describes in the talk: “the youth have difficult hardships” and showing compassion is risky and can be perceived as a weakness; they need to have “rough edges” just to survive and so cultivating compassion is often not an “easy, breezy thing to bring about.”

The Games Were a Student-Led Initiative [0:26]

With a new orientation toward the importance and power of compassion, they shifted into community organizing mode and the student government formed a committee committed to bringing the Games to the school. By engaging student government the initiative was student led. They appointed Compassion Ambassadors to help spread the word. They organized a Compassion Rush, a Compassion Pledge, and a Gratitude Wall where they shared acts of kindness and caring that was taking place around the campus.

Understanding and Communicating about Compassion is Challenging [0:43]

She explains that they hit a wall when it came to understanding what compassion is. They decided to bring in presenters to help make the case for compassion and have discussions in the classroom about what compassion is. They went into the classes to ask: “What does compassion mean to you? Why does it have value?  Why put effort into it?”

Students Discuss the Shame Associated with Having Family Members in Prison [0:53]

In the discussions they uncovered the difficulty students had in understanding compassion and the great deal of shame around family members being incarcerated.  In response to these challenges, they invited a civil litigator to join them and talk about the need for a more compassionate criminal justice system, and how it was possible to be incarcerated in a way that is humanizing and not dehumanizing. Lia said “I watched as he would talk about people getting incarcerated in such a humane way and the kids, their faces softened, because that’s not a message they hear all the time.”

Music: The Unexpected Doorway for Males to Share Their Feelings [1:29]

Not surprisingly, male students had a difficult time opening up to express their emotions and experiences. There is one student that she describes as having “so much feeling inside but being so afraid to show it”.  Lia discovered that when they listened to music together, this became a safe way for him to show his feelings; she explains that Johnny Cash’s music in particular “opened a door for him and gave him permission to share his deepest pain and anguish”.  So they brought in individuals from the music industry who shared the meaning of lyrics from different musical artists including Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Sly and the Family Stone, and others. They focused on lyrics that brought out compassion, hope, and solidarity. She reports that the males participated the most in sharing their feelings and experiences with the help of music, which led to the males “wearing their feelings on the outside.”

Traditional Enemies Working Together Was a Shock to the Students [0:45]

They brought in leaders from the Muslim and from the Jewish community to offer an intro to Islam and Judaism through the lens of compassion. She reports that kids could not believe that so called “enemies” were standing next to each other in solidarity and sharing the importance of compassion. Lia said “These kids who are around a lot of gang violence,  they could not wrap their head around a muslim and a jew standing next to each other peacefully and in solidarity, and with such kinship… it just threw the kids off.”

Educating Oneself as a Form of Self-Compassion [0:14]

In the school there is a group called the 9+. These are youth that have to repeat the ninth-grade sometimes multiple times. They brought in former 9+ students who went on to complete high school and even graduate college. The 9+ graduates advised the students that completing high school and going to college was a form of self-compassion.

Dealing with Bullying by Understanding Others as Coming from a Place of Pain [1:11]

Another speaker shared the importance of having compassion for others.  They spoke about when people come at you with anger and hostility to take a pause and understand that they are hurting and “coming from a place of pain”. To learn this, they explained, you can better cope with confrontation and bullying by not personalizing it.

Why the Compassion Games are so Meaningful to Lia [0:23]

Lia stated that “[The Games] put you in a whole other zone when compassion is at the forefront of your head and you’re trying to hold integrity to the mission and you’re really looking at your actions and your words, and, you know, it’s just powerful.” These are great examples of how a community can use the Compassion Games to ignite engagement through competitive altruism, strengthen and bring out what’s already present and working, create an engaging environment for reporting and reflecting, and using the point system as a framework for measuring and building collective capacity.

The Best Measure that the Compassion Games made a Lasting Impact [1:31]

Lia talks about challenges to bringing compassion into a difficult environment. One of the clearest signs that the Compassion Games made a huge difference at the high school was in the following year. Even though the students who organized the Games were no longer at the school, the school hosted the Compassion Games again and plan to continue in the future.  Thank you Lia for being such a Champion of Compassion!

Listen to her complete talk here:

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.22.33 AM

From 20,000 to 250,000 to 1,252,160 Meals Feeding Children Everywhere!

One million, two hundred and fifty two thousand, one hundred and sixty. Need to see that in numerical form? 1,252,160. That’s how many meals were packaged for local food shelters. How did they reach such an astonishing number?

Compassionate DFW is a project founded by Dr. Charles Barker.  In this year’s Compassion Games Dr. Barker and his team organized over 200 volunteers from over 15 houses of worship and 15 nonprofit organizations to come together in a service project they called “Feeding Children Everywhere”.  

They started out with the goal of packaging over 20,000 meals for hungry kids and adults.  Astonishingly, they packed these meals in just one day, and exceeded their goal by one hundred and sixty meals.

If the story were to stop here, their effort would still merit a jaw-dropping respect and appreciation for what they accomplished. Wildly enough, it doesn’t.

Dr. Barker got wind of the  Chick-fil-A Foundation and their effort to Feed Children Everywhere. Seven other high schools were added to the original coalition, and together they packaged an additional 250,000 meals that were distributed to local food banks.

These series of generous events became part of a national program that led to nearly 340 schools contributing to the goal of packing 1,000,000 meals that will be “Feeding Children Everywhere” across the United States. That’s right. One million meals!

Bravo to Compassionate Dallas Fort-Worth for amplifying the good they were doing and connecting it to the remarkable work of the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy that is focusing on re-imagining high school leadership.

One Million Meals Image

The Giving Games Backstory

The Giving Games Backstory

If you want the shortest possible, bottom-line summary of information about the November 29th through December 10th Giving Games, go here. What follows is the story behind The Giving Games: Youth and Schools Play it Forward.

Table of Contents

  1. What Are the Giving Games?
  2. Giving Games Motivating Vision
  3. Why Play the Giving Games?
  4. Impact of Participating in the Giving Games
  5. Ways to Play the Giving Games
  6. Four Featured Global Projects
  7. The Compassion Report Map
  8. Resources for the Giving Games
  9. Partners

1. What are the Giving Games?

The Giving Games: Youth and Schools Play it Forward are a 12 day global challenge to inspire, develop, and celebrate our shared humanity through acts of generosity and compassion. Beginning on November 29th – a day known as Giving Tuesday – and going through December 10th, the Giving Games are played globally between youth, educators, and mentors to foster safe and fulfilling places of learning, helping the next generation develop into happy, compassionate, creative, and resilient members of our world!

Sign Up for the Giving Games Button

2. The Giving Games Motivating Vision

What is it that makes human beings remarkable? We aren’t born with formidable claws or teeth to defend ourselves, nor a Whales Fish Friends PNGcoat of fur to keep ourselves naturally warm and protected from the sun. We cannot fly or blend into our environment to escape danger, nor are we unusually fast compared to our fellow Earthly creatures. In this regard, we grow at a staggeringly slow pace – the slowest pace, in fact, of the entire animal kingdom – where in the first years of our lives we are totally dependent on the care and protection of others to ensure we not only live, but thrive.

And we do thrive. The very setbacks human beings inherently possess are actually our greatest source of strength and resilience. We thrive not because we are physically outstanding, but because we have developed an enormous innate capacity for cooperation. This cooperation is made possible by our unique ability to deeply empathize with one another, and an intrinsic desire for deep social connections that spur us to have a natural concern for the wellbeing of those around us.

Little OnesThe Giving Games: Youth and Schools Play it Forward are a way to celebrate and put into practice what makes human beings, and our children, extraordinary. The Giving Games celebrate our natural concern for others, our desire and immense capacity to cooperate and work together, and the growth and life-satisfaction that is experienced when we give our fullest selves to the world, to help make it a safer, kinder, and better place to live.

By reminding our youth what makes them truly remarkable, we provide for them the tools to become more compassionate, fulfilled and resilient human beings, capable of living in a world they will one day inherit, and addressing the challenges of a future we will never see.

3. Why Play the Giving Games?

Extensive research in the field of positive psychology is reaffirming the reality that human beings have a remarkable capacityCG15-008-fish and desire to be compassionate and generous, and that these attributes are vital components to living a healthy and fulfilling life. Giving promotes strong social connections – known as prosocial behavior – that leads people to view others more positively, fostering a heightened sense of interdependence and cooperation in a community. And kindness is contagious, studies show, providing an elevated “warm-glow experience” (or a “helper’s high”) that ignites a virtuous circle of giving that boosts the health of a community as a whole!

The Giving Games are a fun and meaningful way for youth and schools to experience compassion firsthand by putting generosity into play! Let’s challenge each other as we strive together to make the world a safer, kinder, and better place to live!

Like anything, these qualities must be experienced and practiced for them to develop to their full potential. In the audio clip below, learn how educator Rahbin Shyne planted seeds with the Compassion Games that grew into a cultural transformation on her campus.

4. Impact of Participating in the Giving Games

The Compassion Games’ Giving Games are designed to amplify what is already working in your community as well as inspire
new ways to bring compassion and generosity to life. The Giving Games are an open platform – bolstered by the support and momentum of a global network of organizers and educators like you – to be creatively used and adapted in any way that fits kl-stargirl02i-fish0814your community’s needs.

The following six themes offer a way to appreciate the impact and benefits of participation in the Compassion Games. The Compassion Games are a:

  1. Catalyst to Ignite Change
  2. Amplifier of What’s Already Working
  3. Framework and Baseline for Measuring Compassion Strength
  4. An Engaging Environment for Reflection and Learning
  5. A Platform for Cultivating Open Participation
  6. Connection to a Global Movement

5. Ways to Play the Giving Games

All the ways to play the Compassion Games are intended to promote service and compassionate action with a framework for reflection on the Compassion Report Map. Ways to Play are typically framed within three dimensions: 1) having compassion for oneself, 2) having compassion for others, and 3) compassion for the Earth.

Anytime, anywhere you can perform a random act of kindness. Here are some ideas!
Anytime, anywhere you can perform a random act of kindness. Here are some ideas!
Organize a Team and plant lasting seeds of compassion in your community.
Organize a Team and plant lasting seeds of compassion in your community.
Identify the everyday people in our worlds who make life meaningful and beautiful.
Identify the everyday people in our worlds who make life meaningful and beautiful.
Sign up to be a Secret Agent and receive missions from the International Kindness Team!
Sign up to be a Secret Agent and receive missions from the International Kindness Team!


Featured Way to Play: Secret Agents of Compassion

Secret Agents of Compassion continues to be one of the most exciting and popular ways to play the Compassion Games fishduring a coopetition. Each day for the 12 days of the Giving Games, a Secret Mission is released to registered players and teams to inspire compassionate acts in their world with a framework for reflection.

Team organizers of registered teams can choose to receive all 11 Secret Missions in advance to better incorporate the Missions in their educational work plan.

Invite and Challenge Others to Play

fishPlayer and teams can invite and challenge others to play with them in the Giving Games. For example, a team could boldly state “We are the most generous classroom/school in the world, and will be so until proven otherwise!” This is of course a playful way to engage and motivate others to step up and participate. No one can lose the Giving Games! Instead, as the more people that play, the more people end up winning as they benefit from a more compassionate environment.

6. Four Featured Global Projects

In addition, the Compassion Games has partnered with the Charter for Compassion International to bring you four featured projects that you and your youth can choose to support! Each project focuses on one of the Charter’s partner organizations, each part of a community of thousands of groups, governments, and individuals collectively working to bring the Charter for Compassion to life around the globe. Work with your students to select one of these projects to focus on during the Games!

Project #1: Help Build a School for Sierra Leone Orphans

Sierra Leone was one of the most hard-hit areas during the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa, creating a sudden influx of orphaned children in desperate need of immediate care, shelter, and provisions which ChildHelp provided with the assistance of donations and volunteers. The next phase of support for these children is providing education. So far, ChildHelp has raised $13,400 USD towards the $80,000 USD needed to build a brand new school. Learn More About Project #1 and How You Can Support It!

Project #2: Provide Supplies for Homeless Families in Botswana

The Botho Compassion Movement is currently serving homeless families in Jwaneng squatter camps. Collaborating with local organizations, they delivered food and clothing on October 19th and 21st 2015. The Botho Compassion Movement is attempting to address concerns such as child health and safety in the camps. Though the challenges are great, founder Magdalena Whoolery feels that “with determination and perseverance we can turn this terrible situation around.” Learn More About Project #2 and How You Can Support It!

Project #3: Give Girls in Pakistan Access to Education

The Sindhi Foundation is a global advocacy, education and charity organization working to promote human rights for Sindhi people across the globe. One of their many education projects is a Sindhi School for young girls in Pakistan. Many of us see education as a fundamental human right, but this is not always the case in areas of the world such as the remote village where Naseem Lohar and two other teachers are responsible for teaching 100 young girls, ages 6 to 10, from neighboring regions in Pakistan. Challenges such as providing transportation, books, clothing, and even water for the students make each day a struggle for Naseem and his students. Donations received through the Sindhi Foundation help provide these basic supplies, as well as pay the modest monthly salaries for the three teachers and contribute to the annual rent for the small cement block school. Learn More About Project #3 and How You Can Support It!

Project #4: Support the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation collaborates with professional educators to develop school-based educational programs that will change our current culture of violence to one of safety, peace and love for everyone in our world. This is the single guiding principle, the sole purpose and motto of our work: Teaching Others to Choose Love. Learn More About Project #4 and How You Can Support It!

7. The Compassion Report Map

All acts of service are reported on the Compassion Report Map, capturing a description of the service, a reflection on the experience and impact, as well as the number of volunteers, hours of service, number of monies raised, and number of people served. Reporting provides a baseline for measuring the “compassion strength” of a community, as well as encouraging an environment for reflection and learning.

Compassion Report Map

8. Giving Games Resources

Join the Compassion Games Team Organizer Messaging App called Slack: Slack is a free communication tool for resource sharing and connecting with fellow Team Organizers. After you register as a team, you will receive a personal Compassion Games Slack invitation within 24 hours. Simply follow the link and create a free account to log in. (If you are a player who wants to join Slack without a team, or you have not received your invitation after registering a team, contact Sommer@CompassionGames.Org). Slack will make it possible for you to build relationships with organizers from around the world, share ideas, stay informed, and get support if you need it! We think you’ll find Slack a valuable tool, and really fun to use!

Giving Games Wednesday Webinars: Join us for a reoccurring Wednesday webinar at 4pm PST with the Charter for Compassion to prepare for the upcoming Giving Games! This will be a great way to learn more about the Games, get any questions you have answered, generate ideas, and connect with other educators around the world. Register here.

GivingTuesday Tools: Compassion Games partner GivingTuesday has a large collection of tools to learn more about the science of giving, creative ideas for giving back, toolkits for organization, case studies and more. They are definitely worth checking out! View them here.

Greater Good Science Center: The Greater Good Science Center is an incredible resource on some of the latest positive psychology studies. Check out some of the positive psychology research on compassion and generosity at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center here.

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE): CCARE is another remarkable resource for cutting-edge research on how compassion, altruism, and generosity impact human life. Learn more about their research and other educational resources here.

9. The 2015 Giving Games Partners

The following organizations are sponsors and supporters of the 2015 Giving Games.  Thank you!

Legacy Sponsor
Legacy Sponsor
Legacy Sponsor
Legacy Sponsor

Pass the Compassion Torch at the 2015 Parliament: Face to Face and Heart to Heart

parliamentThe world’s religious and spiritual traditions, represented by nearly 10,000 people, came together under one roof during October 2015 in Salt Lake City for the Parliament of World’s Religions. Along with them came thousands of cultures, spiritual practices, and traditions, providing a tremendous opportunity for meeting each other, building relationships, and creating unity in diversity. And equally, presenting quite a challenge.

Parliament Side 1 - RevisedAs organizers of such an event, how do you create an environment that is welcoming and safe, yet easily provides meaningful ways for people of all backgrounds to meet and get to know one another? The Parliament tasked the Compassion Games with the challenge of coming up with a new “way to play” to do just that. Thus, Pass the Compassion Torch at the Parliament was born!

Every attendee at the Parliament was given a “Compassion Torch” inside their totebag as a starting point for building relationships with others. Playing was simple: a person’s mission, should they choose to accept it, was to use the Compassion Torch as a way to introduce themselves, and take a photo with each other passing the Torch.

The photos were then sent to where they were put online and displayed as a parliament-specific album of torch-passing moments. The album could be viewed at the Compassion Games booth in the exhibit hall or online. Parliament of World Religions

Participants were encouraged to visit the booth to check out this collection of photos, as well as pick up their next “Compassion Mission” to help make the Parliament a friendlier, kinder place, based on the Parliament’s four core themes: peace, justice, sustainability, and compassion.

One of the most outstanding Agents of Compassion who played their heart out in passing the torch at the parliament was SimranKaur Khalsa from Longmont, CO. Here is what she shared with us about her experience playing Pass the Torch:


“Being familiar with the Compassion Games since 2013, I was so thrilled to see the “Pass the Torch” card in our Parliament of the World’s Religions’ packet. It was such a joy to be able to take pictures with others, holding the card between us, and to let people know about the Compassion Games as well as passing the torch. May we continue to pass the torch of compassion so that our world can be a more compassionate one.”

Pass the Torch and the four additional missions were a heartwarming success. We want to “keep the flame alive” now that the Parliament has ended. We are preparing for a number of upcoming “coopetitions”, where players and teams play together, challenging each other to ignite compassionate acts in communities around the world. Please consider participating in any or all of the following:

The Giving Games: Youth and Schools Play it Forward (12/1 – 12/11/15) –  The Giving Games are an 11 day global challenge to inspire, develop, and celebrate our shared humanity through acts of generosity and compassion.  The Giving Games are played worldwide between youth, educators, and mentors to foster safe and fulfilling places of learning, helping the next generation develop into happy, compassionate, creative, and resilient members of our world!

MLK Weekend: Living Beloved Community (1/15 – 1/18/16)  – This coopetition is focused on bringing Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community to life.  Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred.

World Interfaith Harmony Week (2/1 – 2/11/16)  – Designed to promote peace, harmony, collaboration and tolerance between all faith and spiritual traditions in the spirit of altruistic play. This will be the second year that the Compassion Games is participating in this UN-sponsored week of interfaith cooperation.

We want to thank everybody at the Parliament for embracing the Compassion Games in such a meaningful way. We are inspired by our experiences at the Parliament, eager to carry this compassion movement forward with each of you as we come together to reclaim the heart of humanity.

We also see the opportunity to play Pass the Torch at other events and activities. This is a great way to open hearts and to get to know each other and we encourage you to build authentic connections and dream up additional missions that can help make our face-to-face gatherings more fun, inspiring, creative and long-lasting!

2015 Annual Games: Summary of Results and Highlights


We are proud and excited to share the results of the 2015 Annual Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest. This year’s Annual Games were a remarkable performance by thousands of people and hundreds of teams committed to bringing compassion to life!

MemeWhat we measure reflects what matters, and the Compassion Games are designed to measure a community’s (team’s) “compassion impact and strength” in planning, doing, reporting, reflecting on, and counting service in action.

The theme for the 2015 Annual Games was “compassion is our power-source for social innovation.” The 2015 results demonstrate many examples of how compassion can be brought to bear on social challenges. For example, a number of communities have committed to ending homelessness for veterans as a meaningful step towards ending homelessness in their communities.

Results in Numbers

The Compassion Games core set of measures include the number of acts of service that any individual or team performs, the number of volunteers, the hours of service, the money raised for local causes, as well as the number of people that are served.

This year, the scoreboard was subdivided into two categories for the number of people served. These categories are acts of IMG_0032“direct service” and “immeasurable acts of service”. This clarifies the process, for example, of counting the number of people that were served by a park cleanup, as there is no way to truly know how many will benefit from such an act. This is contrasted by direct service, when, for example, a person is the recipient of a winter coat or hot meal.

We capture these “compassion impact” numbers through reports that are posted to the Compassion Report Map. We do not verify each reported claim; we take players and organizers at their word.  We have defined each of the measures in this document. Once reports are submitted, we post the numbers on the Compassion Games Scoreboard.

Results In Reports

For every result quantified, there is of course a story of a real experience that can uplift and inspire. Teams are made up of people from all walks of life, from students in classrooms to people in correctional facilities. This year was the third consecutive year a women’s prison in California played in the Compassion Games. This year, outsiders donated wool and yarn to inmates who “made amends” by knitting hats and scarves for children with terminal cancer and military veterans. You can read about this story here.


Results in Long-Term Impacts

With 2015 as the fourth year of the Annual Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest, we’re gaining a greater understanding of how the Compassion Games impacts a community over time. The following six themes offer a way to appreciate the impact and benefits of participation in the Compassion Games:

  1. 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 motivated interest in participating.
  2. Amplifier of What’s Already Working: The Compassion Games can strengthen and amplify what’s 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 builds upon what’s already being planned for in a community.
  3. Framework and Baseline for Measuring Compassion Strength: The Compassion Games measures community service through the number of volunteers, hours of service, monies raised for local causes, and numbers of people served. Each year’s results create a baseline for building a team’s compassion impact and strength overtime, building “compassion muscles” individually and collectively.
  4. Engaging Environment for Reflection and Learning: The Compassion Games offer a means for engaging and a context for reflection that transfers the experiences from the Games to the real world. Composing and sharing Compassion Reports that include these reflections help develop the capacity to learn the skills needed to act more effectively and compassionately with ourselves and in our communities.
  5. Platform for Cultivating Open Participation: The Compassion Games offers an open-source, creative platform for “do it ourselves” and is made by many. The Games taps into people’s growing capacity—and desire—to participate in ways that go beyond theory and passive consumption.  The Games are open, participatory, peer-driven, and an example of open-source collaboration.
  6. Connection to a Global Movement: The Compassion Games is a part of an international compassion movement that inspires participation in something greater than oneself and one’s local community. The Compassion Games movement lets us understand, connect, and learn from each other while co-creating a global culture of kindness.

Each of these themes are reflected in the results and the outcomes of this year’s Games.

Compassion Games 2015 Results

This section identifies the measurable output that the Compassion Games produced in 2015.

Agents of Compassion

We added 1,356 new agents and on each of the eleven days we sent out missions to over 4,500 Agents of Compassion. We nowlYpat3XxRflzhdpGdyQPxmERHbAey34E6Ui8WMxkQqjoMrRAO7n_kZ_J9tNt2i2Qhc7UuQ=s2048 have 4,725 members of the International Kindness Team. Our goals remains to get to 10,000 Agents of Compassion; if you haven’t already, sign up here!

Teams and Leagues

A total of 193 teams registered to play in the 2015 Annual Games. Based upon the reports we know of, there were many other teams that played but did not register as a team.

i3FdzEdu_w9eNr9OO8_9nx7EWIERtAfuHC_bjHmGLk8xIDVDTpVMtJb11fAufyFcOvf3PQ4VQmei=s2048In support of new partnerships with 9/11 Day, Service for Peace, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, we added a new league for “First Responders” and one for “Veterans and Military Families.”

With encouragement from the American Humane Society and leadership from Connie Vasquez from New York City, we added a new league for “Fur, Feathers, and Fins” to support all more-than-human living beings!  Leagues are a helpful way to group and support like-minded teams.

Ways to Play

When people ask, “What do you do during the Compassion Games?”, it’s the “ways to play” that make up the basic activities of how to get engaged. Players get creative in coming up with ways to serve others or themselves, and service projects intended to better community well-being are at the core what it means to play in the Compassion Games.

The following section explains new ways to play that we introduced this year:

Secret Agent of Compassion: Compassion is Our Power Source Edition

Agent-Badge-2-300x280 (1)Everyone who signs up to play in the Games is a member of the International Kindness Team, receiving daily missions that are sent as part of the way to play we call Secret Agent of Compassion. A mission was sent out for each day of the Annual Games (9/11-9/21), going out to over 4,500 Agents of Compassion around the world. This edition of missions were composed as part of the theme “Compassion is our power-source for social innovation.”

9/11 Good Deed Challenge

The 9/11 Good Deed Challenge was a new way to play that kicked off this year’s Games. We partnered with 9/11 Day and the Good-Deed-Challenge-HeaderCorporation for National and Community Service to encourage people to do good deeds on 9/11 and continue throughout the 11 days of the Compassion Games.  There were over one million good deeds done on 9/11.

Champions of Compassion

We introduced a way to play we call Champions of Compassion that includes a Champions-Header1simplified way for agents to invite others to play in the Games.  This led to almost 1,000 new people signing up as Agents of Compassion.  (You can be an Agent of Compassion by signing up to play here.) Champions of Compassion are empowered individuals who dedicate themselves to championing the power of compassion.

The US TV Talk Show Host Challenge

This year we started the US TV Talk Show Host challenge and a League of Teams associated with each talk show host. We are Hosts-Montage-with-Title-Updplanning to approach each of these famous “champions of compassion” who can reach out to millions of possible agents if they choose to play. This way to play was birthed during the 2015 Compassion Games and was announced on the WBAI Radio Show, which can be watched here.

Compassion is on the verge of becoming a mainstream topic. We will focus on this new way to play to have it in place for the 2016 Annual Games.

Events and Service Projects

YTX7omcJ5Jx_oyyJzYtILvNjgZMDllrEqM7XsUg_0AexVm9TOWEsN054c8KfnoiwtnC5Jw=s2048There were over 350 service projects and events posted to our shared calendar. Teams post upcoming service projects, events and activities here and promote them to their local community. The picture to the right is just a snapshot of a tiny portion of the many, many events that were produced as part of the Compassion Games by team organizers and their fellow teammates.

On September 21st, the last day of the 11 Days of Global Unity, we teamed up with the UN International Day of Peace, Unify
and the Silent Disco Squad to co-create the “Global Peace Dance Party”.  We joined with many different teams all over the world bringing a collective unified action of Global Peace through dance. We danced with Denmark, Australia, Washington DC, Vancouver, Big Sky, Montreal, San Francisco, Seattle, Israel, China, Spain, and others.

Compassion Report Map

Through our continued partnership with ESRI in 2015 we published a new Compassion Report Map to simplify the submission process and to enhance the viewing experience. The map is remarkable in what it shows. Nearly 1,000 reports were submitted during the Games that included the compassion impact measures. You can you view the entire map here.

As is often the case with with a new technology, there are challenges in introducing and stabilizing the tool. Thank you to everyone for their patience and commitment. We’re already in development on the next generation of compassion mapping technologies.


Compassion Games Coopetition Scoreboard

The scoreboard shows the results for each team that reported. The teams are listed alphabetically… remember, no one can lose the Compassion Games!  


The scoreboard totals were the following:

Final Results Image (Updated) - 2015 Games

You can link to the entire scoreboard here.

Reported Outcomes and Experiences

The thematic impacts that we’re making and the results that were produced are highlighted in the outcomes we share. There were amazing “lived experiences” that happened that we can all appreciate and benefit from. What follows is only a drop in the bucket of the nearly 1,000 reports that were submitted to the Compassion Report Map.  The following reports are organized by Teams and Individual Players.

Compassionate Louisville


As usual, Louisville, Kentucky did a remarkable job playing in the Games. They were awarded a mini-grant by the Compassion Games and chose to donate a “compassion bench” to their local Islamic center. As fate would have it, a few days prior to the
event in which the bench was to be donated, one or more individuals chose to scrawl words of hate onto the center’s walls. As Mayor Greg Fischer said at the time, “this was like a punch to the gut.” Louisville, by far, is one of the most compassionate cities in the world and prides itself on their interfaith sensitivity and understanding.

What was to be a small Compassion Games event turned into a huge community event attended by over 1,000 people. They had the children take fresh paint to wash out and paint over the hate that was scribbled on the walls. It was symbolic and powerful (on left).

In other reports, students at the University of Louisville were asked to write “love letters” during the Games (center). Another player reported her reflection on how the Compassion Games had positively impacted her life (right). Participation in the Games can leave a lasting impact. There were well over a 100 reports from Louisville alone!

Portal Main Header PNG

Compassionate Huntington Beach


We’re thrilled when we hear things such as Rev. Peggy Price from Huntington Beach California posting that Compassionate Huntington Beach doubled their number of points this year (see left image). For us, this is a sign that the Games are serving as a baseline for growth, and giving the community a target to aim for in building its capacity to act more compassionately overtime.  Go Huntington Beach! On the right, view a report on just a simple act done to support someone’s grandfather.

Huntington Beach

Toledo and Northwest Ohio


We were stunned to see this beautiful tapestry of compassion reports produced by Judy Trautman and the folks from Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio (left). This is what compassion in action looks like. Just take a look at these individual reports to appreciate the wide range of actions taken by a diverse community of individuals, groups, and organizations from the Greater Toledo and NW Ohio area. There were over 60,000 pounds of food and many acts of compassion and kindness happening in Toledo Ohio!

 Greater Toledo

Compassionate Richardson – Feeding Children Everywhere


Here’s a report that shows what happens when 15 nonprofits and 15 houses of worship come together and pack over 20,000 meals for hungry kids. Dr. Charles Barker is one of the humblest and most powerful organizers we’ve ever met. He was able to bring together very diverse groups to do amazing good together while feeding hungry kids.


Peace Day Austin; 9/11 Heroes Run- Compassionate Austin


There were 17 different teams that participated in the Compassion Games from Austin, Texas and 2 more from neighboring communities.  A group of collaborating organizations joined together to celebrate and honor Peace Day and Global Welcoming Week, generating multiple compassionate activities and events from 9/11 through 9/21, culminating in a city proclamation.  Dr. Lesa Walker, Founder of the Compassionate Austin movement, welcomed and encouraged organizations to participate IMG_0011simultaneously in the Compassion Games as a perfect way to highlight and elevate these wonderful Peace Day Austin efforts on both a local and global level! Teams represented Austin’s art, music, poetry, dance, drama, and yoga sectors, libraries; schools and colleges, youth-focused organizations, faith/interfaith groups,  as well as businesses and service groups. The Austin 9/11 Heroes Run, benefiting the Travis Manion Foundation, was awarded a Compassion Games mini-grant this year!  In addition, due to the Compassionate Austin and Peace Day Austin’s social media efforts, word spread and there were a couple of self-started family teams that emerged this year involving youth.  Lesa Walker is based in Austin and also serves on the Compassion Games leadership team.  She coined the phrase “compassion is our power source for social innovation” that was the theme for this year’s Games.   Lesa says that the Games offer a wonderful way to engage and unite the community in compassionate action.  Austin is teeming with compassionate activity.  The Games are a way to highlight and document collective impact and spread the message of the importance of 3D compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth).  

 Compassionate Winnipeg


The Compassion Games were a part of powerful community processes to bring about healing. Here’s a report about the power of forgiveness (on left). Rotary Peace Days in Winnipeg was a big sponsor of the Peace Days and Compassion Games. Many events were intergenerational and cross-cultural. The Compassion Games in Winnipeg included an Indigenous Powwow (on right).


Compassionate California


The California Institution for Women’s Prison in Chino California played their own Compassion Games. Introducing the Games to the inmates gave them another way to express their power. The impact was transformational, and an entirely new culture emerged since the women first played in 2013.

  • The first year the women logged more than 4600 acts of kindness on 1” X 2” pieces of paper and deposited them into their
    unit’s designated envelope. The women coined the name “Compassionistas”, and took the Games very seriously. Everyone who played participated in a closing ceremony. The winning unit received a frosted cake decorated in the color of their unit. Everyone who played got frosted cake. Almost 100% of the prison population played in the Games, which had measurable and astounding results.  For the first time in the history of the prison there were 11 days without a single recorded incident of violence.  In year 2, 10,000 acts of kindness were recorded and this year, because of some changes made within the prison system, the women were permitted to sew, knit and craft items for homeless veterans, shut-ins, nursing homes and children’s hospitals. The women logged in more than 3,500 hours of volunteer service during the 2015 Compassion Games and are already looking forward to playing in 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.52.19 AM 

From West Virginia: “Meaningful Misfits”


Coming out of West Virginia a remarkable therapist organized a team of youth that are challenged with co-occurring disorders. They formed a team called the “Meaningful Misfits” and performed some of the most creative, thoughtful and simple acts of kindness.

Meaningful Misfits

Individual Players, Families and Teams

Sharing Donuts: As brothers learn to be nice to each other, their mother shows them how to share their compassion on the Report Map. It all took less than a minute! (See report on left.)

Let Live: Here’s an example of caring for all creation. This player realized that it was the last day of the Compassion Games when they discovered 13 wild turkeys in their yard. They chose to set them free in the name of compassion! (See report on right.)

Individuals and Players

The Compassion Corner Returns Home!

David Breaux completed his year-long Compassion Tour by ending up in Seattle where he jumped in and was a key part in the Compassion Games by offering his honed wisdom and heartfelt sincerity. David is back in Davis, California and on the Compassion Bench! (See report on left.)

David and Shoes

As part of preparing for a free, no-questions-asked health clinic, a team of volunteers were challenged with sorting 5,500 donated pairs of running shoes. It was planned to take two days of full-time volunteers to complete this task. There were so many volunteers and it was so well-organized that the task was done in half a day.  People were actually disappointed when the job was done it was so much fun to serve together!

With nearly 1,000 reports on the Compassion Report Map, there are many examples of compassion for others, for ourselves, and for the earth. Visit the map to appreciate the many shapes and forms that compassion takes in our world during the Compassion Games.

Our Partners: Sponsors & Supporters

In addition to the individual players and team organizers, there are our incredible partners – sponsors and supporters – who make the Compassion Games possible.

png;base64d33eb4161a4f2c7fLUSH Cosmetics – This is the third year that LUSH has been our Gold sponsor. You could not ask for a better partner and company dedicated to using their power to affect positive change in the world.  They encouraged LUSH stores to challenge each other to participate in the Compassion Games as well as engage the many other nonprofits they support.

Service for Peace is a subgrantee of the US Corporation for National and Community service. This year, serviceforpeaceService for Peace was a sponsor of the Annual Games, which made it possible for us to issue mini-grants to participating teams. We first met in Louisville and we have now partnered on 9/11 day, looking forward to partnering on MLK day going forward as well.

images-q=tbn-ANd9GcTC2_QbC4t5L78AuLgHdDqNpNVAsOHK928ZLanjjYgSwV5S7BY4The Corporation for National Community Service is a federal agency of the United States government. They are responsible for promoting public service for 9/11 day as a National Day of Service of Remembrance as well as MLK Day as a National Day of Service. We are deeply grateful for their support of the Compassion Games.

Compassionate Action Network (CAN) – CAN is our fiscal sponsor and the original home for the International Campaign can-logofor Compassionate Cities and the Compassion Games. The Seeds of Compassion was the initial event that brought many of us together, including Compassion Games chairman Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. The CAN board includes Yaffa Maritz, Heide Felton, Dan Kranzler, Maya Nader, Jeff Vanderclut, Cynthia Figgie, and Andrea Brenneke. Thank you for your foundational support.

kirlin_logoThanks to the Kirlin Foundation and to Dan for his personal commitment and determination to being a living example and reflection of the deepest values of compassion and generosity. Dan has held this movement together for the good of all of us.

New Stories and Threshold Foundation – Thanks to Lynnaea Lumbard for so deeply supporting the birth newstories-300x94of the Compassion Games as part of the New Stories community as well as bringing us to the Threshold foundation as an opportunity to gain their support. Thank you to the donors who contributed as part of the Threshold Foundation grant to the Compassion Games.

gwc_logoGreenworld – Many thanks to Marc Ian Barasch for his support for the Games. The interview we conducted as well as the alignment and partnership with the Green World campaign, focusing on regreening the planet in one generation for all future generations, is a remarkable example of Green Compassion.

The Shift Network and the Summer of Peace – Thanks to Philip Hellmich, Stephen Dinan and Emily Hine for their logo3continued promotional support of the Compassion Games!

png;base64a78acead1b6bfe61The Charter for Compassion – Thanks to Marilyn Turkovich for the strategic partnership we have with the Charter for Compassion. We are natural complementors for each other and we encourage all the teams to be Charter Partners as well as participants in The Games.

The 11 Days of Global Unity – Thanks to Rick Ulfik for conceiving of and sharing the platform for 11 days of global unity. cropped-11daysheader21This frames the connection between 9/11 as a Day of Service and Remembrance and 9/21 as the International Day of Peace, and is the timeframe in which we organize the Annual Games!

PugetSOUND-school-300x150United Religions Initiative continues to be a strategic partner for the Compassion Games, with many of our core team and advisers connected closely to them.

Puget Sound Community School – This innovative school was founded by none other than Andy Smallman, leader of the International Kindness Team and primary author of the missions for the Secret Agent of Compassion.

CCARE – Thank you to Dr. James Doty for sharing his wisdom and network of support to promote the Compassion Games. jpeg;base64c04fedc3d293c4cfWe’re honored to offer a signed copy of his new book as one of the perks for our IndieGoGo Campaign.

wisdom-bWisdom at Work – Thank you Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey for your continued support and generous sharing of resources, talents and gifts. The “contemplations” that you’ve written are a fundamental part of the Game’s foundation.

Andy Smallman continues to teach kindness through his nonprofit called kind living. Andy is the heart and soul of the International Kindness Team.Kind-Living-logo

fish (Astronaut) – There were many new images created by fish (Astronaut) during this year’s Annual Games. We think Fish did his most exceptional work to date during this year’s Games. We love the simple and powerful messages his drawings contain. The Games would not be what they are without fish (Astronaut). Thank you fish!

logos-01-225x300Thanks to the partnership with the Silent Disco Squad for organizing the closing ceremonies on a global level.

United Nations International Day of Peace – Thank you to Reverend Deborah Moldow for embracing andjpeg;base64a4f02946d4a8f1a1 supporting the Compassion Games and building its relationship with United Nations.

jpeg;base6465474040ba87d52a (1)ESRI – We are grateful to ESRI for their generous support of the crowdsourcing platform for the Compassion Report Map.

Lorian Associates – Thank you David Spangler for contributing your unique talents and insight into crafting the missions forpng;base64e2bb421312a48b29 the agents during the Compassion Games.

SOTSI-Logo-Purple-LGThank you Gary Zukav for lending your wisdom and clarity about the importance of compassion and “survival of the kindest”!

Compassionate Louisville – Our partners and friends in Louisville continue to play such a key part in the overall compassion movement. Mayor Greg Fischer and his team including Tom Williams, Brenda Frank, Lora Haynes, and Peter Hayes jpeg;base6492a8770b637a8f6awere available whenever we needed them to help spread the word and encourage others to embrace compassion in building-up their community.  You could not ask for more generous and supportive partners than we have with our “champions from the ‘ville.”  Also the original “community challenge” coming out of Louisville is what helped inspire the birth of the Compassion Games movement!

For a complete list of our remarkable sponsors and supporters go here.

Interviews with Distinguished Champions of Compassion


We produced and published seven interviews with distinguished Champions of Compassion.  We asked these leaders why compassion is important to them in their work and about their support for the Compassion Games. Interviews were produced with: Dorothy (Dot Maver), Dr. James Doty, Gary Zukav, Mayor Greg Fischer, Reverend Gola Wolfson Richards, Marc Ian Barasch, Karin Miller, and David Breaux.  They can be viewed here.

Mainstream Media

We received limited coverage from different media outlets. This is certainly an area that we can improve.  Here are some print and broadcast coverage we did receive:

Social Media

images-q=tbn-ANd9GcSar0G4x_qv4H3sC-MBs40ectCh257cdn-SWHZSE50z5rdnPR40SVrvn8AWe did dramatically expand our social media presence and went from 2,000 to over 15,000 likes on our Facebook page!

We also got more engaged via Twitter including participating in #CompassionConvo’s led by Compassion NYC organizer Marie Roker-Jones.  jpeg;base6493183a6b9bd62ee1

jpeg;base641392975e6b53dc81Expanding our social media presence and partnership with the Charter for Compassion is one of our goals for 2016. We just received a grant from the Parliament of World Religions to strengthen our partnership and the application of social media for it. We will be encouraging players and partners to sign up and use Slack to communicate with each other.


Core Team


We are gifted with a number of extremely talented and committed individuals who work and volunteer to make the Compassion Games possible.

Thank you to Sande Hart for giving so much to making the Games happen and for supporting individuals looking to organize teams. You have enriched the Games and made the Games accessible to so many organizers. Thank you.

Thank you to Joey Crotty for bringing a diverse set of talents and skills from writing, graphic design, and website management to articulating the dream of a just and compassionate world.  Under the leadership of Joey we completed a major upgrade to our website and social media presence. Thanks to Beth Alexander for lending her skills and talent to making our website presence so functional!

Our gratitude extends to Dr. Lesa Walker for her humble, clear headed, determined and brilliant approach to building relationships, growing a network, and creatively finding solutions to have things work. Dr. Walker is a member of the Leadership Team.

Sommer Joy Albertsen is the Compassion Games unicorn, divine inspiration and caregiver to the creative life force that sustains us. Her natural leadership talents, creative imagination and expression give the Compassion Games their magical perspective.  Thank you Sommer!

Phyllis Shulman is a key advisor and contributor to strategic projects and initiatives that have guided and directed the development and growth of the Compassion Games. Thank you Phyllis!

Thank you to Jon Ramer for keeping the fire burning and getting us all into this mess!

There are many others who selflessly gave to make the Compassion Games a possibility… Thank you very much!

Board of Directors and Advisors

We are blessed with a wise and committed Board of Directors and advisers. Thank you to Phil Lane Jr., Jim McCarthy, Kunal Sood, Leslie Meehan, and brother Sidney Genette.

We are grateful to our fiscal sponsor the Compassionate Action Network and the members of the board who give selflessly of themselves in support of this work and the work of many moving the compassion dial forward.

Indiegogo Campaign

To help underwrite the cost of producing the games we launched an Indiegogo campaign.  We’d love you to contribute and help spread the word!

We are grateful to everyone for their generous support and participation in the 2015 Annual Compassion Games!


9/11 Day and Compassion Games: Catalyzing More Good Deeds Than Ever!

For many people the tragic events of 9/11 changed their lives. Being a proud New Yorker, that was the day that everything changed for me as well. My life as a social entrepreneur – including the birth of the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities and the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest – can be linked back to that fateful day.

It is therefore a great honor to be partnering with 9/11 Day. It is deeply moving to see the Compassion Games woven into the vision that on 9/11, not only was there an unbelievable tragedy, but there was also an unprecedented level of humanity, caring, and love that emerged and was shared around the world on that day. The goal of 9​/11 Day ​is to keep alive the spirit of unity and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, providing a positive, helpful way for people to annually kl-stargirl02i-fish0814remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, and honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks.

David Paine and his partner Jay Winuk wanted to establish September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance under federal law. “We wanted to create a permanent and positive way for the nation to annually honor all of the victims and heroes of 9/11, in a way that increasingly helps people in need, year after year.” said Winuk.

Over the next few years, David and Jay created MyGoodDeed and worked with communities to build participation in the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, which became known as “9/11 Day,” gradually gaining more and more support for it in the U.S. Congress.  

Then in 2009 with strong bi-partisan backing, MyGoodDeed, successfully secured passage of federal legislation by the United States Congress, with a subsequent Presidential Proclamation, that officially recognized and established September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance under U.S. law.  

On August 18th, 2015, Compassion Games International and 9/11 Day announced a strategic partnership with the aim to EarthHugFishfurther amplify, ignite, and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. The Compassion Games is a 9/11 Day featured partner and 9/11 Day is a sponsor of the Compassion Games.  Read the joint press release here.

To help communicate about this relationship and synergies between us, we asked David Paine to answer four questions about our partnership.


Compassion Games International (CGI): Why is compassion important to your work?

David Paine (DP): In the weeks immediately following the 9/11 attacks, our nation experienced a remarkable period of unity and compassion. It was a real awakening. We stopped worrying about our differences and realized how much we all have in common as human beings. If we truly want to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 and the many who bravely rose in service in response, we ought to rekindle that spirit of unity and compassion in our country. That’s what 9/11 Day is all about, and why we are so supportive of the Compassion Games.

CGI: Why is playing and supporting the Compassion Games a good idea?

DP: People by nature are compassionate, but sometimes in the face of our busy society we can get out of practice and see our skills for compassion diminish. What is so great about the Compassion Games is that it provides tangible ways for people to develop and use those skills again, and helps them become more compassionate throughout the year.

CGI: How can people learn more about your work?

DP: We invite everyone interested in doing a good deed on 9/11 to visit our website at, watch our video and take the Good Deed Challenge. We also have a national list of volunteer opportunities for 9/11; free lesson plans for teachers, mentors and parents to help them share stories about 9/11 with younger children and teens; and toolkits for employers and organizations.

CGI: What is your hope and dream for this year’s annual Compassion Games?

DP: I’d love to see millions of people enter the Compassion Games this year, and see what happens to them personally as a result. I’d love to hear their stories!

CGI: Thank you, David and Jeff for all your remarkable efforts! You two are clearly pioneering “Champions of Compassion”.


The Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest begins on September 11th and continues through September 21st, the International Day of Peace, and is part of the 11 Days of Global Unity. Visit our website at

The Compassion Games is encouraging people from all over the globe to participate in the annual Compassion Games. Kick-off the Games by taking the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge, invite others to play, and share your experiences with the world on the Compassion Report Map. (Players can report anonymously if they prefer.)

In support of the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge, a short video was prepared for this years 9/11 Day, called “Hope was Born on 9/11.”

Can it be that hope was born on 9/11? Can we come together in unprecedented compassionate action to demonstrate that we as a people are capable of bringing love and kindness to a world in need? The answer lives in each of us; in our heads, hearts, and hands.

Game on!
Take the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge Here!

Take the 9:11 Challenge

Secrets Revealed: Anonymous Agent Spills the Beans on the Secret Agents of Compassion

Shhh! Want to know a secret? This story is about to reveal one of the best kept Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest mysteries. For the past four years, an elite, undercover team have taken on missions of life-altering proportions, changing the very fabric of our world. We think it’s time for the word to get out, for the world to appreciate what they’re doing, and for countless others to join in.

You may not know it, but there is a global team of people who get up each day and are guided to complete
missions of goodness that come straight from their hearts. These people are known as Secret Agents of Compassion, and are Crest PNGmembers of what has just been revealed as the International Kindness Team (IKT).  

You may be interacting with a Secret Agent of Compassion right now and not even know it. In fact, you may even be one of these agents and not realize it!  Secret Agents of Compassion are often just too humble to think they are a Secret Agent of Compassion, but they are.

A Secret Agent exemplifies a mode of leadership that differs from the public leader that has come to be over-celebrated in our modern culture. Instead, they represent a form of leadership that can best be captured in the aphorism:

“There is no limit to what a person can do or where they can go if they don’t mind who gets the credit.”

Agent-Badge-2-300x280The IKT began with the very first Compassion Games in 2012 and continues to grow, yet remains one of the best kept secrets of the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest. That is, until now!

During each Compassion Games coopetition, players sign up and receive a daily mission via email (or on a secret social media site) as a Secret Agent of Compassion. They perform their acts of kindness and then share them with the world via the Compassion Report Map. (Agents can continue to report their secret acts of kindness any time of the year and they can report their actions anonymously, although this is not required.)

Right now, missions are being prepared for the International Kindness Team for the Annual Compassion Games that begin on September 11, a US National Day of Service and Remembrance, and continue through September 21, the UN’s International Day of Peace.

On very rare occasions, one of the agents is ‘discovered’ by accident, in which case the secret of their identity Agent Anonymous Photomust not be disclosed. We were fortunate enough to find such an agent who was willing to spill the “heart beans” and answer some of the most revealing questions about why someone would want to be a Secret Agent of Compassion, and why someone should participate in the 2015 Annual Compassion Games.

-Transcript of Interview Begins-

Compassion Games International (CGI) Interviewer: Agent Anonymous, I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill it is to be here with you today. Thank you for stepping forward to finally reveal some of the information behind the Secret Agents of Compassion. We’ve just been dying to know how it all works.

Agent Anonymous: When something is overflowing with goodness, it deserves to be shared and known. I believe it’s time for the International Kindness Team to be revealed in order to get the exposure that is overdue. And I hope doing so will inspire others to become Secret Agents of Compassion, as well.

CGI: Fantastic! We surely hope so. So, Agent Anonymous, let’s begin, shall we? Let me start by asking what got you interested in becoming a Secret Agent of Compassion?

Agent Anonymous: You know, it just seemed like the right thing to do. In fact, I found it easier and more rewarding to be kind than to act indifferent or insensitive toward others. I finally realized that this indifference was also something I was showing myself, and I wasn’t any better for it. But I didn’t always know these things. I had to make many less-than-graceful mistakes to appreciate how much better it is to live from the heart and act with compassion.

CGI: Mmm, that must take serious humility and courage to come to terms with. Why is it important to be a Secret Agent of Compassion?

Agent Anonymous: You know, it really does! And nobody will ever be able to calculate the multiple ripple effects of doing good for another, for the Earth and even for oneself. Suffice to say, I think it’s more important to be an Agent of Compassion than I will ever fully realize myself. When somebody brings light and goodness into the world, it brightens it up for the benefit of everybody.

CGI: It certainly does… But why keep it a secret?

Agent Anonymous: That’s a great question and the simple answer is, you don’t have to. Most agents prefer the anonymity and claim they receive even greater pleasure in doing these acts without any interest in receiving credit. In this regard, it is quite rewarding to be part of a secret, global International Kindness Team. Not even I know who the other members are, minus the few who are on my local team!

CGI: Well, the element of mystery certainly keeps the excitement alive, even for you I imagine! Do you know who writes the missions?

Agent Anonymous: Interestingly enough, I do! I stumbled upon this information quite by accident, but that’s a longer story. The heart and brains behind the secret operation is Andy Smallman, founder of Kind Living and the Puget Sound Community School.  Recently, Andy has consulted with David Spangler, the American Spiritual philosopher and self-described “practical mystic,” to write the missions.

CGI: Andy Smallman? I’ve never heard of him, but I feel like I should have. What makes these people qualified to write these missions?


A rare photo taken of Andy by the recipient of his act of kindness.

Agent Anonymous: Well, that’s because Andy is too humble to take credit for all of his remarkable work. Andy has been promoting kindness for well over 20 years. He believes if you develop one’s character with compassion and empathy that success and achievement, however YOU define them, happen naturally. To really understand this, people should check out PSCS, the incredible school he created for middle and high schoolers in Seattle. As for David Spangler, he has been helping people live more authentic lives through his writings, lecturing, and teaching since the early 1970’s. Back then, he was co-director of the spiritual community of Findhorn in northern Scotland. He now serves as director of the Lorian Center for Incarnational Spirituality.

When it comes to understanding, guiding, and inspiring others to act with kindness, these guys have got more than enough chops to write the secret missions for the Annual Compassion Games coopetition.

CGI: Wow, no kidding! And each mission is also paired with such charming artwork as well. Do you know who illustrates the missions to make them so inspiring and fun?

Agent Anonymous: Now there is a mystery for the ages. We know that the artist’s name is Fish (astronaut). fishprofileHe is a long-time collaborator of Andy’s, but other than that, there is not much known about him. On his website he says: “I love all creatures big and small.” I suppose the rest is up to your imagination.

CGI: Fascinating… the saga simply continues. Agent Anonymous, may I ask something super confidential, something risky for even you to reveal? Can I ask if these missions have ever been life-threatening?

Agent Anonymous: Mmm… you’re really putting me on the spot here, aren’t you? (Agent Anonymous laughs and smiles.) Well, the missions can sure be terrifying! Sometimes reaching out to engage with someone can bring one to panic! There’s no question that being a Secret Agent in the Compassion Games take people out of their comfort zones and directly into their stretch zone, but there’s really no need to panic.  Quite the contrary to “life-threatening”… this kind of play can change human life on Planet Earth as we have come to know it. “Life-altering” may be a better way to phrase your question, and the answer to that question is yes: these missions can be truly life-altering!

CGI: Thank you for answering such a sensitive question there, Agent Anonymous. I can see how these missions can be life-altering, indeed. What is it really like being a member of the International Kindness Team?

Agent Anonymous: I take great pride in knowing that we – all of us – are building this team together to strengthen our collective capacity to act with compassion and insight, to more effectively deal with the challenges of our time. As the theme for the 2015 Annual Games is “Compassion is the power source for social innovation,” we take what we do very seriously, but also, very playfully! I can think of no more rewarding experience.

CGI: Incredible. How does one actually become an agent?

Agent Anonymous: It’s simple and powerful, it’s free and priceless. Sign up here to let the International Kindness Team (IKT) HeartQuarters know that you’re in. By signing up with the IKT, you’ll receive 11 missions during the Annual Games from September 11 through September 21 to ignite and catalyze compassion in our world. That’s all there is to it.

CGI: You can count me in! Do you have to think of yourself as a compassionate person in order to be an agent of compassion?

Agent Anonymous: Not exactly. Sometimes we act compassionately and sometimes we don’t. So long as your commitment is to acting as compassionately as possible, you qualify to be an agent!

CGI: Agent Anonymous, thank you so much for being with us today, and for revealing such important information for our world. It has been simply inspiring, and a true pleasure.

Agent Anonymous: Oh, the pleasure has been all mine, really. It’s time for this to be known. I encourage anyone reading this interview to officially become a Secret Agent today, and join the emergence of the International Kindness Team. Together we can change the world, one secret act of compassion at a time. Thank you.

-End of Transcript-


We are thrilled to publish this exposé to reveal this remarkable team. We invite you to join in and be a Secret Agent of Compassion and participate in the world’s largest compassion competition and kindness team! Still have questions? You can find out more here.


Secret Agents, Mission 1:

It has been discovered that a powerful antidote exists that can counteract the hate, hurt, and negativity that plagues our global community. This highly potent antidote is called “compassion,” and it exists within you.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to become a Secret Agent of Compassion, and disseminate the antidote to change the fabric of our world.

Accept Mission Button

The Power of Love and Compassion to Stop the Violence and Start the Healing

Baltimore’s riots this week have highlighted the growing unrest and injustices across America. Many are being forced to rethink assumptions we’ve made about race, power, civility, and compassion.  We seem to have forgotten concepts like fairness and justice as a nation. Without this moral compass to guide us, what’s left?

As video after video surfaces of young black males being brutally treated by police, it makes us wonder if racial discrimination and police brutality can now be tolerated in our society. Empathizing with the police and continuing to ignore the root causes of these problems is all too easy. Mainstream media seems to cater to our worst fears and instincts by amplifying the inexcusable behavior of a few.

From the New York Times:

The Rev. Jamal Bryant, delivering the eulogy of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, spoke of the plight of poor, young black men like Mr. Gray, living “confined to a box” made up of poor education, lack of job opportunities and racial stereotypes — “the box of thinking all black men are thugs and athletes and rappers.”

“He had to have been asking himself: ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” Mr. Bryant said. “He had to feel at age 25 like the walls were closing in on him.”

As his voice rose to a shout, and the cheering congregation rose to its feet, Mr. Bryant said that black people must take control of their lives and force the police and government to change.

“This is not the time for us as a people to be sitting on a corner drinking malt liquor. This is not the time for us to be playing lottery,” he said.

“Get your black self up and change this city,” he said. “I don’t know how you can be black in America and be silent. With everything we’ve been through, ain’t no way in the world you can sit here and be silent in the face of injustice.”

What a powerful call to justice. However, it isn’t just a call to African-Americans. If we see ourselves as one multi-cultural society we need a collective action that will lead to effective change. What is society’s role in providing a way out of the poverty, hopelessness and despair that these young men seem to be stuck in?

The pathway out used to be as simple as getting a good education and hard work that might ultimately earn you a fair shot at the American dream. But with the rise in the cost of education and the lack of decent paying jobs, this no longer seems like a winning strategy.  We need to do better as a society, even if it’s CG16-0015-fish (1)more difficult. We need to relearn how to respect our differences and work together: to address these challenges with effective policies, solutions, and on the ground actions that change lives.

The Power of Compassion and Our Interrelatedness

According to Navajo Medicine Woman Patricia Anne Davis,  “the word ‘compassion’ can best be translated into English using the word ‘proxy’, meaning that another person can experience another person’s experience because we are all related by our inherent divinity given to each person equally. It is an all-inclusive experience where there is unity in the natural order and everyone is interconnected.”

We are interconnected to the youth and to the police. Can we find compassion for the police officers who are upholding the law and for the black youth who have the cards unfairly stacked against them?

The challenges we face are personal and spiritual as well as economic, cultural and political. Compassionate action can build this bridge. The role of compassion is not only vital in our lives, it is a key to understanding the circumstances of every perspective and finding a way forward that is just and can heal the rifts in our communities.

In Detroit, Michigan a team called #MetroDetroit participated in the Compassion Games “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” Coopetition from April 18 through April 26.

We recently wrote a news post about the organizer of the team Reverend Jim Lee of Renaissance Unity Church titled “Love The Hell Out of Metro Detroit: From the Blame – Shame Game to the Compassion Games.

metrodetroit2Lee is “rewiring the cellular memory to a place of forgiveness so his city can thrive – so the beloved community can emerge.” Rev. Lee wants to be very clear, “Forgiveness is not about forgetting the past. It doesn’t change what happened. What changes is the interpretation and perception with a new quality, a new tone can emerge to heal us today, so we can move on to the beloved community.”

Lee believes that his community can revitalize and empower itself by bringing the power of love and compassion to bear on their everyday life. Lee says he wants to “Love our way through the pain. Let’s make the pain the lesson, not the reason.”

The #MetroDetroit team committed to participate in the Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge and set out 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.

We are happy to report that team #MetroDetroit posted more photo stories than any other city in the world!  Congratulations #MetroDetroit!  You can see all the story photos here.metrodetroit3

We can learn so much from this remarkable team and their accomplishments. We can come together to make just and lasting change by building cultures of compassion and kindness. There are over 300 cities around the world that have embarked on compassionate city campaigns. As people of this remarkable time – filled with great challenges and surprising opportunities – what do we choose?

The Compassion Games supports communities committed to creating cultures that are safer, kinder, and better places to live. You can find out more here Game on!


Mayors as Leaders in the Compassion Movement

As citizens, we understand the power of public policy and the choices that a Mayor can make. We know that budgets are moral documents that reflect the values of our community and are then carried out by our elected officials.

We also know that now is a tough time to hold public office with so many fellow citizens distrusting the government and the political process.  Therefore, we think it is particularly meaningful to recognize outstanding leaders who are committed to integrating compassion as a part of their approach to building community and setting public policy.

murrayWe are happy to report that the Honorable Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle has issued a Proclamation in support of the Love This Place: Serve the Earth Week coopetition taking place from April 18 to 26.

Here is a mayor’s proclamation that recognizes the extraordinary challenges we face as a planet such as “climate change, global health issues, violence, food and water shortages, and economic struggles.”

It also states that “each of us have a right to a healthy, sustainable environment;” and “the global community must come together to create compassionate solutions to our global challenges.”

With Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle and the Honorable Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, we have two Mayors who are in tune with the urgent call of our time and who recognize the importance of compassionate responses to these challenges.

We also know that proclamations and speeches are not enough. These mayors are calling us to get engaged and give time in service to our communities to address these challenges and opportunities.

Mayor Greg Fischer from Louisville has organized Give A Day during the Mayor’s Week of Service that coincides with the “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” coopetition (April 18-26).

Mayor Fischer led the U.S. Conference of Mayors and passed a resolution calling for compassion as part of effective public policy.

In 2012, Mayor Fischer challenged Seattle and communities from all over the world to see who was the most compassionate city.

Seattle took up the challenge and this gave rise to the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest in which we harness the power of compassion and cooperation and add to it the spirit of friendly-competition. This approach to competition brings people together to play and live compassionately in their communities.

During the Compassion Games, teams participate in “coopetitions” that challenge us to amplify the love and compassion we feel as a way to make our communities safer, kinder, and better places to live.

Communities connect the groups, organizations, events, and activities that are already in place to co-create a “collective impact” through mass-collaboration.

Players participate in community service projects, random acts of kindness, act as “Secret Agents of Compassion,” and engage in other fun ways to bring about positive change in their communities. Cooperative play helps us develop the skills to build the capacity to act more compassionately towards each other, ourselves, and the earth.

The last step is a reflective one: Players report and share their acts of compassion and kindness with each other through an online crowdsourcing map. They record the number of volunteers, hours of service, monies raised for local causes, and numbers of people served.  Everybody who plays wins; no one can lose the Compassion Games!

In honor of our earth and Earth Day here is a beautiful video that is an ode to planet earth


We are very grateful to the mayor and his staff for mobilizing on behalf and in support of a love this place serve the earth week. Thank you Mayor Murray!


Mayor’s Give A Day of Service:

Compassion Proclamation