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 as the “World’s No. 1 City of Compassion” in ceremonies Wednesday and Thursday in Seattle. Mayor Greg Fischer plans to be in Seattle to accept the award, and during the trip will meet with several Seattle-based companies about development opportunities in Louisville.
At the award ceremonies, Louisville attorney Tom Williams, who is co-chairman of Louisville’s Partnership for a Compassionate City, will be presented the Jack Olive International Heart of Compassion Award. Also, Louisville’s Spalding University will be recognized as the world’s first “Compassionate University.”
Pursuing his pledge to make Louisville a more caring city, Mayor Greg Fischer signed a resolution committing to a multi-year Compassionate Louisville campaign on Friday, November 11, 2011. Fischer's action means that Louisville is recognized as an international compassionate city, the largest city in America with that distinction.
The Compassionate Louisville resolution was approved Thursday, November 10, 2011 by the Louisville Metro Council and signed the following day by Fischer at a ceremony held next to the Abraham Lincoln memorial in Waterfront Park.
"Being a compassionate city is both the right thing and the necessary thing to do to ensure that we take care of all of our citizens," Fischer said. "There's a role for all of us in making sure no one is left behind or goes wanting."
Compassion can take many forms, Fischer said, ranging from shoveling snow from the sidewalk of an elderly neighbor to helping read to a struggling student. He urged individuals and organizations to begin planning now for the Give A Day week of volunteer service, April 15-22, 2012.
"Earning an international reputation as a city of compassion will help set Louisville apart, identifying our community as a place where people want to live, and companies want to locate and grow their business," Fischer said.
Spalding University is the first confirmed and certified Compassionate University in the world. Having evolved from the Nazareth Academy, founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 1814, Spalding’s history is a study in compassion, with a commitment to healing and service that goes beyond political affiliation and serves individuals, organizations and causes in the immediate community and beyond. Faculty and staff members of the school served as nursing sisters for both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Today, Spalding nursing students and faculty, as an example, can be found in service learning efforts around the region and world, offering basic treatment, health screenings and assistance in disaster relief.
“Compassion has been at the core of our mission since the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth began training nurses, teachers, social workers, and later psychologists and therapists,” says Spalding University President Tori Murden McClure. Today this urban, coeducational institution offers more than two dozen degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level to more than 2,400 students. “A Spalding education in liberal and professional studies is grounded in a heritage of compassion with a contemporary emphasis on service and the promotion of peace and justice,” says McClure.
The Charter For Compassion
Mayor Greg Fischer, speaking at last year’s National Peacemaker of the Year Award ceremonies
Read more: Louisville becomes International Compassionate City 
Read more: Louisville’s Resolution Adopting Charter of Compassion 
Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions). The Arena is read by more people in Louisville than in any other city in America. Photo credits: Metro Louisville, Spalding University, Compassionate Action Network International Institution.