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Compassionate City Newsroom

Louisville Receives International Compassionate City Award

Thursday April 5, 2012

Spalding University and local attorney also to be recognized

The city of Louisville has been selected to receive the 2012 Jack Olive International Compassionate City Award by the Compassionate Action Network International Institution in Seattle. The city will be honored in ceremonies tomorrow and Thursday in Seattle.

At the same ceremonies, Tom Williams, a local attorney who is co-chairman of Louisville’s Partnership for A Compassionate City, will be awarded the Jack Olive International Heart of Compassion Award. And Louisville’s Spalding University will be recognized as the world’s first “Compassionate University.” (A youth program in Seattle, where CAN is based, will also be honored.)

The co-director of CAN, Ari Cowan, acknowledged that Louisville dominated this year’s ceremonies, noting with a laugh that it had “deflated some egos in Seattle.”

Mayor Greg Fischer would welcome a rivalry. “I’ve said from day one that we’re going to pursue being recognized as the most compassionate city in the world – and if that prods other cities to try to outdo us, then ‘Game On.’ In a competition centered on compassion, everyone wins!”

The award comes just a few days before the launch of Give A Day week, Louisville’s largest compassion initiative. Between April 14th and April 22nd, Louisville’s goal is to rally 55,000 volunteers to help make the community a better place. (Learn more at

Fischer will be traveling to Seattle to accept the award in ceremonies and during the trip will be meeting with several Seattle-based companies about development opportunities in Louisville.

Louisville officially became a confirmed compassionate city in November, when the Metro Council approved a resolution endorsing the principals of compassion and Fischer signed it. Louisville was the largest city in North America to become a confirmed city.

Last week, CAN selected Louisville as a “model compassionate city” – a one-year designation that promotes the city as an example of excellence.

Cowan praised Fischer’s efforts in particular, saying “the attitude of the mayor, with making compassion one of the three pillars of his administration, is a symbol of what political life can and should be.”

The mayor stressed that compassion has long been part of Louisville’s identity, and that it took lots of compassion leaders, as well as the support of Metro Council, to make compassion a rallying cry for the community.

“All I have tried to do,” Fischer said, “is pull the good hearts and good hands of Louisville together. From our cathedrals to our temples and mosques, from the Muhammad Ali Center to our Christian seminaries, we are a community that is built on faith, love and tolerance. This is who we’ve always been. All I’m doing is rallying the troops.”