At the U.S. Conference of Mayors 91st Winter Meeting in Washington on January 18, 2023, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Chair of the Conference’s Mayors and Business Leaders Center for Compassionate and Equitable Cities, announced that the development of a six-part campaign designed to promote compassion and community healing was underway in his city and would be released for no-cost distribution to all cities at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 91st Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 2-5.

In the Columbus meeting on June 4, Mayor Nirenberg launched the campaign, Compassionate USA, as “an earnest and honest remedy to political polarization, civil discord, racialized violence, and the far-reaching impacts of a global pandemic.” He described it as “a learning journey designed to teach self-compassion and community well-being that honors our common humanity and affirms the beauty of our differences,” and as an effort “to help people develop foundational skill-sets, a shared vocabulary, and a common practice to ultimately decrease violence and trauma and increase individual and collective healing.”

Developed by the City of San Antonio, the Alamo Colleges District, and the San Antonio Peace Center, the Compassionate USA campaign includes a video series to introduce learners to key concepts about compassion, a free micro-course to deepen understanding, and a toolkit that provides resources to help create a compassionate community. Detailed information on these components and on formally partnering with the campaign is now available at

CUSA Update

A January 2024 report to the Center indicated that in the seven months following the launch of ]the CUSA initiative, 89 organizations had become partners, disseminating and implementing the initiative’s videos, micro-courses and other resources within their organizations and throughout their networks.

On the CUSA website, home pages and partner pages had been accessed more than 10,000 times, micro-course and resource pages more than 2,000 times, and videos treating self-awareness, self-compassion, interdependence and other dimensions of compassion nearly 2,000 times. Global viewership embraces 69 countries; more than 16,000 of the viewers have been U.S. residents and 500 have viewed the pages in Canada, the U.K., Mexico and Australia.

The International Charter for Compassion, an outgrowth of the Charter for Compassion originally inspired by an award-winning TED Talk in 2009, provides a wide range of resources and serves as the leader in national outreach for Compassionate USA partnerships. The Compassionate Cities movement is also an outgrowth of the Charter and globally over 600 cities and communities, more than half of them in the U.S., have affirmed the Charter through their official designation as Compassionate Cities by their local governments. Currently, the International Charter for Compassion has almost 200 community initiatives in the United States, nearly 125 of which are working directly with local mayors and city councils.

USCM 2024 Annual Meeting

In June, at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2024 Annual Meeting to be held in Kansas City (MO), Mayor Nirenberg will launch the Mayors’ Guide to Compassionate and Equitable Cities. This is a CUSA partnership project that brings together the Mayor, former Louisville Mayor and former USCM President Greg Fischer, Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), Compassionate San Antonio, and the International Charter for Compassion.