Stories for Cities – Mayors

These are news posts that pertain to cities with support from current Mayors

Compassion Day Seattle and the World Trade Center Seattle’s Kick-Off for the Global Unity Compassion Games

On Wednesday, July 27th, a kick-off celebration and networking event took place at the World Trade Center Seattle. Twenty-two non-profits, including the American Cancer Society, Goodwill, and Plymouth Housing, shared their missions with civic and business leaders and invited them to participate in the service opportunities they plan to host during the Global Unity Games. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray officially proclaimed July 27, 2016 as Compassion Day Seattle, kicking off the celebration.

The world’s largest compassion competition is on!  World Trade Center Seattle (WTCS) just put out a “Call to Play” for the upcoming September Compassion Games. WTCS invites all of its members (and non-members) to join the global challenge to find out “Who is the World’s Most Compassionate City?”

The score will be settled during the Global Unity Compassion Games: Tomorrow Together from September 11, a National Day of Service and Remembrance through September 21, the International Day of Peace. This year, Compassion Games International and a coalition of partners are launching “Tomorrow Together”, a five year campaign to “Bring young people together from all over the world to learn about each other and do good deeds in a global expression of hope for a better tomorrow.”  

In the Compassion Games, competition becomes “coopetition” as individuals and teams challenge one another through community service, acts of kindness, and raising funds for local causes. All good deeds, volunteer hours, money raised, and people impacted between the dates of September 11 and September 21 will be recorded via a web-based report map, a platform viewed publicly by millions of people.

On Wednesday, July 27th a kick-off celebration and networking event took place at the World Trade Center Seattle.  Twenty-two non-profits shared with civic and business leaders their missions and invited them to sign up to participate in the service opportunities they plan to host during the September Games.

We all know that business is a key driver for social change. Two remarkable business leaders from the Seattle community spoke at the event, connecting the dots by showing attendees that compassion is good for people and for business, and that it is critical to “sustaining sustainability.”

  • Jean Thompson, founder and CEO of Seattle Chocolates and “jcoco” whose purpose states that: “Giving back to our community is at the heart of jcoco’s mission. To that end, every time you purchase a jcoco product, we will give a fresh, healthy serving of food to someone who would otherwise go hungry. This means, your everyday indulgence makes a vital difference to someone in your community!”
  • Cynthia Figge co-founder of CSRHub, an online resource that maintains ratings on over 15,000 businesses focused on corporate social and environmental responsibility.  “Managers, researchers and activists use CSRHub to benchmark company performance, learn how stakeholders evaluate company CSR practices and seek ways to change the world.” Cynthia is also the chairperson for the Compassionate Action Network.

In addition to business leaders, mayors have a key role to play in motivating their cities. Mayors across the U.S. are proving that compassion is a vital component of effective public policy, and the Mayor of Seattle is no exception. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proclaimed July 27 as Compassion Day Seattle to support the kick-off event at the World Trade Center.

0072-WTC-Compassion-Games-2016-Jerry-and-Lois-Photography.jpg World Trade Center, Seattle | Compassion Games | July 2016 © Jerry and Lois Photography All rights reserved

City of Seattle Proclamation
World Trade Center, Seattle | Compassion Games | July 2016
© Jerry and Lois Photography
All rights reserved

Seattle’s arch-rival Louisville, Kentucky and their Mayor Greg Fischer challenged us to see “who’s got the edge on kindness”, releasing two Public Service Announcements to proclaim the challenge.

Our goal for the event was to recruit Seattle players and partners to join with WTCS non-profits and participate in the Compassion Games. Here’s an example of feedback we received:

“Shelley, thank you so much for having us at the event last week. Roxanne had a great time and felt like she made a huge impact with her speech, and we also signed up 5 teams from that event for our walk!!!  Thank you again and I have registered our event with the Compassion Games website as well!” Katie Johnson, American Cancer Society

The 180 Foundation, Plymouth Housing Group, Hope Heart Institute, Goodwill and other non-profits have already signed up as teams.

In addition to the Seattle area events and activities, World Trade Center Seattle is challenging all the 300+ World Trade Center’s around the world to play in the September Games.

Compassion Games International is thrilled to be a new member of World Trade Center Seattle and are grateful to Shelley Tomberg and Columbia Hospitality for producing this kick-off celebration and networking event.  We thank USI Kibble and Prentice for sponsoring the event, as well as their leadership in fostering and encouraging civic and community involvement.

This year is the 15th anniversary of 9/11. We invite you and your community to get involved. Sign up to play as an individual and then if you choose to register a team to participate in the games. Game on!

View Photos From the Event!


Is Texas Becoming the Most Compassionate Place on Earth?

Even though Texas is the second largest state in the union when it comes to size and population, it appearsphotothat it won’t be second when it comes to compassionate action. Look at what’s happening in the Lone Star State!

On April 14th 2016, the Mayor and City Council members of Austin, Texas’ state capital, voted to join with San Antonio, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth in becoming a “self designated” compassionate city: Compassionate Austin. There are now over 350 cities around the world that have embarked on similar campaigns.  

It is well known that Austin is an incredible city that is smart, super cool, and determined to “keep Austin weird,” but now it is championing compassionate action and elevating compassion throughout the city.  Last week, the Austin Symphony Orchestra performed the United States premiere of the song cycle “Compassion” by Nigel Westlake and Lior Attar. At the performance a group of University of Texas business school students did their service learning project on the theme of compassion by hosting a “Compassion Corner,” where they engaged people in sharing their thoughts and stories of compassion.  The week before they created videos of people telling their stories of compassion at a “Compassion Conversations” exhibit and panel discussion at the Blanton Museum of Art.

The Austin City Council Resolution recognizes that “we are all compassionate Austin” and encourages everyone in Austin, city departments, area school districts, community and faith groups and all Austinites to participate in the Compassion Games as a way to show 3D compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth) and strengthen compassionate action. At a City Hall press conference, following the passing of the Resolution, there were speeches made by representatives of Rosedale School (Austin Independent School District), the Austin Public Libraries, Earth Day Austin 2016, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, and Raindrop Women’s Association/Turkish House. Each of these groups, as well as others, participate in the Compassion Games and represent the many champions of compassion in Austin.

Lesa Giving Speech

Dr. Lesa Walker speaking for the resolution at City Council to inaugurate Austin as a Compassionate City.

This was clearly a brilliant strategic move on Compassionate Austin’s part. The City Council affirmed the Resolution just in time for the kick off of the Serve the Earth Week Compassion Games. Cities from all over the world will now have to consider ways to up their “compassion game” in response to this wave of goodness and compassion strength coming out of Austin, Texas. Here is a video of Compassionate Austin organizer Dr. Lesa Walker talking about the resolution and commitment to playing in the Compassion Games.


Dr. Walker with Simone Talma Flowers and Kuaybe Nur after successfully passing the Compassionate City resolution.

Lesa Walker says, “We now plot our course with compassion and envision ourselves as a Compassionate City.  However, we still face very serious unmet needs in our community.  We need to earn our designation as a Compassionate City through our daily compassionate action! We all own these issues and need to work together to address them.”

Earth Week: Love This Place!

Earth Day Austin is one of the teams in the Serve the Earth Week: Love this Place! Compassion Games and is organizing the Earth Day Austin 2016 festival happening on April 23.  As awesome as these actions are, the largest Earth Day festival in the world does not take place in Austin but takes place in Dallas, Texas with over 600 exhibitors. Compassionate Dallas-Fort Worth will be at that festival in Dallas thanks to Dr. Charles Barker, organizer of Compassionate Dallas-Fort Worth, and his remarkable team.

Congratulations to everyone in Texas for the remarkable work they’re doing to bring compassion to life! Want to see more of the creative and social innovation coming out of Austin? Take a look at this Austin Social Entrepreneurship Map. Compassion is the power source for social innovation. It is the power source to meet our personal and community needs and create a better world!  

Learn more and sign up for Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week here!


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


Love The Hell Out of Metro Detroit: From the Blame-Shame Game to the Compassion Games

In the early sixties, in the thick of the Civil Rights movement, at the Voters Rights office in Alabama, Andrew Young was about to step outside into the parking lot to meet members of the Ku Klux Klan.  Mr. Young, appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to head the voters rights effort, and has since gone on to become Mayor of Atlanta, US Congressman, and Ambassador to the United Nations, received a call thatkl-stargirl02i-fish0814the KKK were coming and that he might want to carry a gun. As he headed out the door to the ever so haunting image of men in white hoods, he went to pick up his gun, but his wife insisted he put it back in the desk drawer. She told him, ever so firmly, that he was to “Go Out There And Love The Hell Out of Them!”, and that’s just what he did. The KKK left peacefully that night. Andrew Young later wrote the Voters Rights Act that was passed in 1964.

While the Civil Rights Act has been passed and is now part of history, the cellular memory of fear, hatred and distrust is still as prevalent and unhealed in too many places in our great country today. “It’s as old as slavery” says Reverend Jim Lee, Sr. Minister of Renaissance Unity Church in Warren, Michigan in the Metro Detroit area. Every time a white policeman kills another black victim it keeps striking at the same nerve. Not that the act is not severe enough on it’s own volition, it’s just a matter of time before these nerves are going to erupt and lead to riots like those that have burnt cities to the ground in the past. Just one more strike at that nerve is enough to remove the thin veil covering the deep rage that we all know is there and bubbling to a boil, felt by people of all races, religion and culture.

Rev. Lee is responding to these mounting tensions in his community and feels strongly that the Compassion Games is the antidote to healing this burden that has plagued his community since the beginning of our country’s history, resurfacing again and again through time. He is determined to Love The Hell out of his community by “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 Little Onesforgetting 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.” Rev. Lee says he wants to “Love our way thru the pain. Let’s make the pain the lesson, not the reason.”

The Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge is a perfect opportunity to help Metro-Detroit start seeing their community through the lens of the places that they Love. They have set a goal of 1,000 people identifying the places they love in the Metro-Detroit area and posting a photo and a description of why they Love This Place.  They might take a picture of the park bench, the 100 year old tree they pass each day, the corner market, or a historic building. When we start looking around our community for the things we love, we find so much more to love than we had ever realized. We become reprogrammed in that moment to be more loving toward ourselves. We will never look at that tree the same without recalling that love.

Rev. Lee knows we don’t have a single leader for this time of historic tension uprising like we have had in the past. He reminds us this only means it’s our time to step into our own power, into our own courage, into our own light and compassion, and he says, “if we don’t change we are just staying in the blame-shame
game. It’s time to move beyond that and it’s each of us alone that we have been waiting for, together.”

We may not have one single leader, but Reverend Lee is an exceptional model of what one person can do and he inspires us to rise to this challenge.  The Compassion Games are all about challenging ourselves and others to stretch our compassion muscles just a little bit further, deeper and higher through what natureCG16-0015-fish (1)gave us; the gift of life coupled with choice. The Games remind us to choose how we respond when our deepest instinct to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and all that we consider sacred is threatened. Gone are the days when we let fear rule us, when we demonize others, or we wait for someone else to change. Here are the days where we can Love away the fear, distrust and threat… Reverend Lee is is here to lead us to  “Love our way through the pain to healing.”


3.7 Million March: An Urgent Call to Rally for Unity & Peace

Dear Friends and Allies of Compassion,

The world is stirring. Every now and then an event occurs that shocks us, and with it appears an opening for something new to Paris Ralliesemerge. Right now, we are at such a moment. The 3.7 million people who marched in the streets of France – who locked arms with our world’s
leaders – are what French officials are saying was the largest street demonstration in the country’s history. And they weren’t protesting the attacks they were rallying for unity.

“I’m fed up with all the hatred in the world. I can’t stand people hating each other. More than just free expression, I want people to live together and to accept each other, even if they are different,” said Edith Gaudin, a teacher in Paris.

More than ever we need to create and live in cultures of compassion that revolutionoftheheart7-fish0212take us outside our comfort zones, into our stretch zones, and allow us to experience empathy and compassion directly. In fact, this is what the Compassion Games were created for, and it just so happens that this year the Compassion Games is partnering with UN sponsored World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) (February 1st -7th).

One of the world leaders who marched on the streets in Paris is King Abdullah II from Jordan. In 2010, the King proposed a World Interfaith Harmony Week to the UN, a week “when all interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill can show the world what a powerful movement they are.” The UN unanimously approved, and now each year the first week of February is aimed to promote harmony and collaboration between people of all faiths (and none).

kl-stargirl01a-fish0814We are partnering with faith, interfaith and Indigenous leaders to light a spark of creativity and innovation, to inspire groups around the world to get engaged and to make the good we are capable of known. This includes a seven day Compassion Games “coopetition” starting February 1st, a 10-Year Solar Challenge called for by First Nations, and $50,000 in prize money sponsored by King Abdullah II.

Let’s not retreat from this moment. Let’s lean forward, open our hearts and hands and come together in unprecedented, unified solidarity and action!


1. Learn more about the World Interfaith Harmony
Week Coopetition here

2. Read more about the WIHW Prize Monies for participating groups here

3. Spread the word! Share this story to challenge family, friends, and your communities to play in World Interfaith Harmony Week. Experience the joy of building solidarity, cooperation, and bridges of peace and harmony!

At this unique moment in time we need to clarify and reaffirm religion’s role in our lives as a beacon of hope. Religion at its best is kl-stargirl02i-fish0814a hearth for the human spirit. In its myriad of expressions, religion can help us connect with something greater than ourselves, to encourage us to reach out and to get to know the “others” in our lives. It inspires us to serve all people for the greater good that exists within and among all of us, to find love and compassion in the seemingly most improbable places, in places where once there was only hate. Yet these are the places most desperate for peace.

Let us be that peace.

In Fierce Unity and Compassion,

Compassion Games International
World Interfaith Harmony Week
URI (United Religions Initiative)
The Guibord Center
Interfaith Youth Core
Dalai Lama Fellows
Compassionate Seattle
NICO (Northwest Interfaith Community Outreach)
Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Four Worlds International Institute
Compassionate California
I am Jerusalem
S.A.R.A.H. (Spiritual and Religious Alliance for Hope)
Scarboro Missions
First Nations Solar
Interfaith Council of Central Orange County

Mayor of Compassionville!


Photo credit: Michael Shumate

We first met Nashville’s Dina Capitani while in Louisville to celebrate their 1 Year Anniversary of becoming a Compassionate City. We were, simply put, in absolute awe of her spirited determination and fierce commitment to prove that Nashville was the most compassionate place on Earth.  We quickly learned not to underestimate Dina’s sweet disposition and gentle spirit; she is on a clear mission to convince everyone around her why the Compassion movement is so critically needed in her town. With her passion, people are listening and taking her vision seriously.

As the Executive Assistant with the Metro Human Relations Commission, Dina identified the Compassion Games as a strategic effort to activate key partners who can work with citizens in hands-on projects to make the community a safer, kinder, more just place to live. Compassion, she recognized, is simply good for the health of a city. This may be the reason that Forbes named Nashville the #2 City of Compassion in the US in 2012.

Championing the Compassion Games in Louisville – or should we say “Compassionville” (Compassionville is Nashville’s team name)(artwork ala artists Mark Eatherly, Massood Taj and Kathy Tupper), Dina led her city to take part in 22 events during the 11 day challenge of the Games. The Compassionville team were #1 this year in “Dollars Raised for Non-Profits,” raising an astonishing $228,876.  (You can see the fundraising project list and descriptions at

Video created by the Scarritt-Bennett Center

Dina says she is committed to changing what it means to compete, and believes that it’s the reporting that makes the Games so important. “It’s part of playing the Game, and how can everyone win if everyone doesn’t play?” She recognizes how important it is to share what has been done in the name of compassion. The reports inform others where, she says, “compassion is alive.” Dina recently told a Nashville community newspaper, “What you focus on expands, so when you focus on the good, it inspires people.”

Ms. Capitani is also quick to credit and give special thanks to Tom Negri, Deb Palmer George, The Metro Human Relations Commission and Mayor Karl Dean for supporting the Compassionate Nashville campaign!

Dina isn’t just a committed and powerful community builder; she is also a talented singer and songwriter. Even so, she was surprised that the song she had written in honor of the compassion went on to become the theme song of the Compassion Games, serving as an anthem for meetings and local events. Dina’s song has clearly captured the spirit, values and essence of the Games! (Rap lyrics written and performed by Bobby Solomon)

Listen to this incredible track below!

It’s clear that Dina is living the Compassion Games in body, mind, and creative spirit!

The Compassion Games Music Challenge

Good music is good medicine. And good medicine is a thing we need more of. That’s why we are so impressed and moved by the gift of this song. We are proud to announce that this catchy and meaningful song is this year’s anthem, and Dina’s inviting all musical compassionistas to collaborate on an album!

 If you’re an artist or a musician, we invite you to create or dedicate a song to compassion. Hip hop, reggae, folk, gospel, whatever the genre, we want to hear it, share it, and spread that musical medicine. Our intent is to compile these pieces as part of a Compassion Games album, and share it with all who strive to live and play compassionately in the world.

 We also want to thank Dina for encouraging us to add an Arts and Culture League in the few weeks leading up the Games. This opened the proverbial gates for the wonderful 6 Degrees of Creativity out of Ohio , the Compassion and Insight Center out of Boise, Idaho, and the other 9 Teams that signed up to play with compassionate so creatively with such short notice.

 We’ve learned that we can always count on Dina to identify what needs to be done in this work. She is a voice of clarity and reason, and is often the first to jump into the fray to make something happen. She’s just getting started with more ideas and contributions to come, that she hinted at with a twinkle in her eye. Until then, enjoy our new song and hold on for what more will come from the brilliant Dina Capitani and Compassionate Nashville.

(Lyrical Excerpt from Dina’s Compassion Games Theme Song)

“Those we used to call our enemies,


turn to friends through empathy.

We’ve been playing games for infinity,

now we extend compassionate energy.

We encourage healing in our circle,

turn away from actions that are hurtful.

We can help each other leap hurdles,

and it’s personal, it’s universal.

If you suffer, then we suffer,

we need sisters, we need brothers.

Abundance floods our cupboards

there’s no reason anyone should hunger.

A rope is stronger with multiple strands

so we’re going to advance

and we’re holding hands

showing compassion as our ultimate plan!”

Rap lyrics written and performed by Bobby Solomon