Building Compassionate Communities

Building Compassionate Communities: A Menu for Action

Calling all city leaders, community organizers, and engaged citizens! This interactive guide serves up a delicious recipe for fostering compassion within your communities. Inspired by CompassionateUSA, it equips you with the tools and ingredients you need to cultivate a culture of empathy, connection, and collaboration.

Dive into a smorgasbord of resources:

  • Develop Compassionate Skills: Explore ideas for activities and workshops to build self-compassion and understanding.
  • Strengthen Community Bonds: Discover innovative ways to connect diverse groups and foster a sense of belonging.
  • Spark Compassionate Action: Launch engaging initiatives that inspire residents to make a positive difference.

This menu goes beyond inspiration, offering practical activities and valuable resources for each course. Let's work together to build a world where everyone thrives!

Our journey to a more compassionate community starts here! Compassionate communities start with a strong foundation. Here, you’ll find a curated selection of foundational organizations dedicated to fostering compassion. These resources provide excellent introductions to compassion work and a wealth of materials to get you started. Explore their websites, workshops, and online courses to develop your understanding and build a solid base for your compassion journey.

  • CompassionateUSA: CompassionateUSA is a program designed to help people cultivate compassion for themselves and others, fostering well-being within communities. Their website offers a variety of resources to get you started, including, a video series, a free micro-course on self-compassion and compassion for others, offered through Course, an action-driven toolkit to help you implement compassion practices.
  • The Mayors and Business Leaders Center for Compassionate and Equitable Cities works to combat hate and extremism by fostering compassion and equity in cities across the United States. Founded in response to a rise in hate crimes, the Center offers resources and support to help cities implement a compact signed by mayors pledging to fight hate and build more inclusive communities. Business leaders have also partnered with the Center to further its mission.
  • The Charter for Compassion International is a global movement dedicated to promoting compassion as a guiding principle in our world. Their website serves as a central hub for resources and connection, offering, a platform to connect with others passionate about building compassionate communities, educational resources and tools for fostering compassion in everyday life, and a network of communities around the world working towards a more compassionate future. Explore the Charter for Compassion website:
  • The United States Institute of Peace [USIP] offers a variety of educational programs and resources aimed at people working for peace around the world. Their website details these programs, including contests for high school students and the Peace Teachers Program.
  • The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley is a research institute dedicated to exploring the science of well-being. They delve into the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience behind happiness, compassion, social connection, and other aspects of thriving individuals and communities. Their website offers a wealth of resources, including research findings, articles, podcasts, and online courses. Explore the GGSC website to learn more and find tools to cultivate a more positive and compassionate world:

Building Blocks for Connection: Dive into the Entrees


Ready to take action and cultivate a collaborative community? This section serves up a selection of fully developed activities, events, and experiences designed to spark connection and collaboration.

These “entrees” are more than just ideas – they’re meticulously crafted recipes created by passionate community members who participated in the 2024 CompassionateU Design Lab right here in San Antonio, Texas. Each recipe provides a detailed plan you can use as-is or adapt to perfectly suit the unique needs and flavors of your own community.

So, get ready to engage, connect, and build a stronger, more vibrant community together!


Looking for a quick way to infuse compassion into your community initiatives? Look no further! This section offers a smorgasbord of creative, bite-sized ideas you can adapt and expand upon to perfectly fit your needs. Think of these entries as sparks of inspiration – a starting point for activities, programs, or events that can make a positive difference. Feel free to mix and match, add your own unique flavor, and get creative! With a little imagination, these ideas can be transformed into powerful tools for building stronger, more compassionate communities.

Mindful Moments

Integrate mindfulness practices into your daily routine to cultivate self- awareness. Take at least 5 minutes every day to engage in a mindfulness exercise, such as mindful breathing or body scan meditation. Reflect on how these moments of mindfulness impact your well-being and self-awareness.

Compassionate Skills Workshop

Contact CompassionateUSA to provide a workshop or a full facilitated course on compassionate skills in your community.

Compassion Project Showcase

Organize a compassion project showcase event in your community. Invite individuals and groups who have implemented service projects or initiatives addressing community needs. Provide a platform for them to share their experiences, challenges, and successes. Encourage attendees to network and collaborate on future projects.

Compassion Fair

Organize a Compassion Fair to connect individuals with local organizations and service opportunities. This fair can provide a platform for individuals to explore various ways they can contribute to their community and engage in acts of compassion.

Compassionate Urban Design

Identify a public space in your community that could benefit from compassionate urban design. Consider how the space can be redesigned or modified to promote interaction, inclusivity, and a sense of belonging. Create a visual representation or proposal highlighting the changes you would suggest.

Compassionate Leadership Reflection

Reflect on your leadership style and consider how you can incorporate compassionate principles into your decision-making processes. Write a short reflection on the impact compassionate leadership can have on building a more resilient and inclusive community.

Compassionate Policy Analysis

Select a current policy or decision within your community and analyze it from a compassionate perspective. Consider the potential impact on vulnerable populations and identify ways to enhance inclusivity and equity. Develop a brief report or presentation outlining your analysis and recommendations.

Gratitude Practice

Start a gratitude practice within your team or department. Encourage everyone to share one thing they are grateful for at the beginning or end of each team meeting. Discuss how this practice impacts team dynamics and contributes to a more positive and compassionate work environment.

Now that you’ve built a foundation of compassion and explored ways to connect your community, it’s time to take action! This section offers a delectable selection of resources and tools to empower you to turn your passion into real-world change. Dive into inspiring stories, practical guides, and online platforms designed to help you spark community engagement and ignite compassionate action. Let’s create a more compassionate world, one delicious bite at a time!

  • Citizen Discourse ( equips individuals with the skills and resources to have constructive conversations across divides.
  • Crossing Borders Education ( fosters empathy and understanding through educational programs that explore global issues and cultural perspectives.
  • Start With Us ( empowers individuals to break the cycle of social division and build a more connected society.
  • Braver Angels ( works to depolarize America by facilitating respectful conversations across the political spectrum.
  • Happify ( offers science-backed activities and games designed to cultivate happiness and well-being, a key ingredient for fostering compassion in your community.
  • Self-Compassion ( Start your compassion journey from within! Dr. Kristin Neff’s website offers resources to cultivate self-kindness, essential for building a compassionate community.
  • Creative Self-Compassion ( offers poems to inspire self-kindness, essential for fostering compassion.
  • Tiny Buddha ( features uplifting stories exploring themes of compassion and connection, perfect for inspiring community builders.