Turning into a Compassionate Community

The Social Planning Advisory Committee (SPAC) has been researching the notion of becoming a "compassionate city." Several Canadian cities, including London, Ontario, Parksville and Powell River in British Columbia, have signed the Compassionate City Charter.  The Charter for Compassion is facilitated by the Compassionate Action Network International (CANI). CANI is a worldwide network whose goal is to advance the charter and the spirit and practice of the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." 

As SPAC reviewed the Compassionate City Charter, it became apparent that although compassion can be easily "defined," the principle and practice of compassion are not necessarily commonly understood. The City of Maple Ridge has funded a project, "Tuning in to a Compassionate Community," to engage the community to discover the notion of compassion. The work is done in diverse ways through various sectors of society - businesses, with cities and communities across the globe, within educational institutions and organizations and with religious congregations and associations - to create and establish cultures of compassion locally and globally.


The project has four goal areas:
  1. to foster a common understanding of compassion in a civil society that attends to multiple citizens' perspectives, including business, legal, social, health and education
  2. to promote at least 50 actionable compassionate behaviours to district citizens derived from local stories
  3. to identify at least 10 local champions to facilitate future District Compassion Charter work as guided by the SPAC
  4. to build capacity for an evidence-informed design called "Most Significant Change" for community development work